These days it seems like your voice cannot be heard because other people speak so loudly.
It has nothing to do with you in particular, but rather the environment in general. When you are over-tasked and trying to keep your head above water at home and at work — and these days home and work may be one in the same, all you want from a business associate or a friend is a little compassionate understanding.
And the noise in their head is trying to fend off danger and annoyances and what may be trivial conversation. So how do you make your presence known and your voice heard when connecting from a remote, home office?
Here is some food for thought. We are living manifestations of our environment. And the experiences in that environment informs our paradigms and how well whatever it is you want to present is received.
Those we work with, albeit at a distance are not familiar with our home environment. They’re not privy to our set up or our distractions. It doesn’t matter if your child is sharing your workspace as their makeshift classroom or if there is a basket of unfolded laundry just shy of your laptop’s eye.
No one cares, and that, the fact that no one cares is now your center of power. You have two options; become ingrained in the herd mentality and opt for apathy, or be the Sherpa — the one who arrives with the sun ever-present above their shoulder and ready to ensure that everyone has a clear, unobstructed path of understanding toward their goal.
What people want is to be heard and understood. Pretty straightforward, right? Yet what frequently occurs is one party inevitably feeling jilted and their contributions undervalued.
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey identified the tenets of human relations that are essential to not just harmonious feelings, but solid people skills that can be the difference between a team sticking together during difficult times or falling apart at the seams.
When you place a flashing neon sign above each person’s head that says “Win-Win” at the start of each interaction, that reminds you to acknowledge respectfully, to listen deeply, to make room for generous servings of empathy, and to ensure that you too are respected and your needs met in this verbal transaction.
Using these 7 tips will help sway people to your way of thinking
The words you choose and the phrases you use will inform people of your true character. Think before saying anything that may be misunderstood or mischaracterized. Virtual meetings do not offer the opportunity to catch someone’s eye for a nod and a wink.
We are naturally inclined to seek out the company of kind people. Preface every interaction with congenial words, and your subject’s heart will instantly and they’ll be more interested in what follows.
No one can offend you without your permission. Every person comes from a different paradigm, and their expressions come from their world alone. Taking a moment to understand the virtual frame around a person’s words will help you plan your approach and choose your words wisely.
Pacing is essential to understanding and making sure what you have to say lands at the proper tempo and cadence. Practice your points along with your pauses, for they go hand-in-hand.
The importance of making and maintaining eye contact cannot be minimized. Look at the lens not the monitor — then when you’re ready to look at the monitor, stop and look at the lens. Get my point?
Take action and speak to the other person’s perspective. No one ever feels good to have their input thoroughly discounted without a thorough vetting and a semblance of application. Being distant means you can be more lenient and forgiving. Consider it using the time saved by not having to commute.
Add an upbeat, pleasant, and magnetic presence to the virtual space — similar to arriving at the office with a bounce in your step and a greeting for all. Everyone feels good when offered a genuine smile and the chance to witness a calm, attractive demeanor.
When you make other people feel seen, heard, and important, you are simultaneously showing your skills as an inclusive leader and an asset, and that will serve you well in the eyes of your constituents.