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How do we connect in a meaningful way?

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Today, more than ever, the teams we work in provide us with a vital connection yet it is hard to be a team – let alone feel connected – when the only regular contact you have with each other is in the form of badly angled webcam thumbnails or a heated email exchange. 

The challenges of making real connections are exacerbated when we have to work virtually, particularly for virtual multicultural teams who are dispersed around the world. This challenge of connection also applies to our hurried lives more generally, as the time we have with each other feels more and more limited. As the world goes into isolation, we hope these tips go some way to help improve your virtual connections but also in the future, all connections.  

As human beings, we are social animals; we want connection and we actively seek it. But sometimes we have to connect with ourselves before we can connect with another. Here are six tips for making meaningful connections, whether it is with a complete stranger on a virtual webinar or with a colleague you have worked beside with for years.  

Connect with your... 

  • Ability to be present. Whether reading an email from a colleague, listening to a faceless voice through a screen or sat face-to-face, be centered. Doing so will allow you to give the other party your undivided attention, as opposed to continuous partial attention. 
  • Empathetic, compassionate self. Remember that the other party is a real person with their own joys and troubles. Try to get into their shoes and see the situation from their perspective. 
  • Innate curiosity. Ask open questions to show interest in another person’s views 
  • Courage and vulnerability. Be open to disclosing your own beliefs, opinions, emotions and feelings. 
  • Ability to listen deeply. We know how it feels to be truly listened to, so offer that to others. Remember that it is also possible to do this virtually. 
  • Sense of optimism and positivity. This one goes without saying, don’t you think?

Note: these tips are admittedly also useful for speed-dating. 

Penelope Mavor from Earth Converse collaborates with Impact as an Associate. Her writing can be found on