It is said that “Zoom is great for maintaining relationships but not for growing new ones” but is it a myth and one not to be believed?

Many have struggled to build new relationships during the lockdowns. It is understandable as talking over virtual mediums does require very different skills. What may have worked well in day to day life pre the pandemic does not work in the same way in the virtual world of lockdowns. Sales lines and transactional approaches are more obvious and often off-putting. Engagement and communication does therefore require slightly different approaches to develop relationships which can be nurtured for the present and future.

It may sound strange but so many conversations in day to day life were often very personable but said very little. Many worked their way through weekly routines saying very little of value but relied on their charm. In the lockdown world, one needs to have something of value to say, be able to be blunt, have an informed perspective, have personality, a sense of humour, and be a genuine listener who invests in the person being spoken with, not the product you’re selling. This is, in fairness, a skill set that many would find “threatening” in old world but is what is needed in the virtual world. The result is very few naturally possess the skill sets.
What may have worked well in day to day life pre the pandemic does not work in the same way in the virtual world of lockdowns. Sales lines and transactional approaches are more obvious and often off-putting.

It is actually very possible to build new valuable networks and relationships, but the golden starting place is “be honest, be genuine, be authentic”. It has often been joked that these periods have been heaven for the “passive aggressives” as it has enabled places for them to hide behind and their bad behaviours be to enabled but have they built any relationships? Probably not. In this era, it is important to be upfront and be honest as this builds trust and trust builds value. What has been interesting during this period of time, is that many are far more open, welcoming and even vulnerable; providing they can trust the person.

It may said that “zoom is not good for growing relationships” but this is simply not true. It just requires different skills. It highlights the value that another brings and there is little scope for those who want in sell in the traditional way, are transactional and self-serving or have little of value to say. Virtual communication platforms almost serve to make it look worse than it is. Have an opinion; it is important. However, also be a good listener and care about the other person’s perspective. Add value, genuine value in a kind and supportive way and the platform for communication becomes irrelevant.

In many ways, what the virtual communication culture does is highlight poor or lazy behaviours and promotes those who can be engaged listeners, are emotional, respectful and communicative, and have an extra 10% on anybody else in what they say.

Networking and building relationships today is just different but with the correct behaviours in place, very possible to be done in very meaningful ways.