Updated: May 27, 2020
As a result of COVID-19, most of us are at home, working and communicating through screens.
There has been a massive shift in how we do business and how we interact with one other.
Needless to say this has brought about a change in our behaviour and how we speak with clients and colleagues.
One question a client recently asked me was “How do I exert influence using only telephone and video communication, when I would ordinarily do so in person?”
In this article, we explore 7 different ways you can influence people during lockdown.
1. Communicate Effectively (Spoken)
During lockdown, you need to take a proactive approach to your communication.
Take charge of organising calls with those you want to speak to. Then plan what you are going to say. Now is a great time to actively try to arrange phone or video discussions and people are much more open when you communicate with them this way rather than email.
Make sure that people know that you’re still working and what you’re working on. Don’t assume that anyone already knows.
Remember that many people are potentially at risk of redundancy right now, so you need to make sure you’re visible. Great communication is an opportunity for you to boost your status in their minds. It also helps you be more productive and build relationships.
With all change and uncertainty there is also opportunity. Show your team, your boss and your clients that you are willing to go above and beyond. This way, you will remain at the forefront of their minds.
2. Communicate Effectively (Unspoken)
We are firmly operating in a digital world at the moment and I would be very surprised if you have so far avoided using Zoom, Google Hangout or Microsoft Teams.
While it’s important to carefully plan and execute what you say during these meetings. You should also consider:
The gestures you use
Where you focus your eyes
How you dress
An experiment by Joep Cornelisson found that investors were 12% more interested in investing when they saw frequent gestures. If you are pitching an idea, using your hands is a really great tool to help people buy into that idea as it gives them a better sense of what you’re thinking and how it would work.
Gesturing also helps you be more charismatic and therefore more engaging.
Eye contact is hugely important in nonverbal communication, but it is different in a video meeting.In person, you would look directly at someone’s eyes. In a video meeting, you maintain eye contact by looking into the camera. Try and look into your computer camera often to maintain this contact.
If you can’t help looking at someone’s face on the screen instead of the camera you could move your meeting window to the part of the screen nearest to the camera so at least you’re looking at approximately the right place when you’re looking at their face.
It takes seven seconds for people to make judgments about your capability, confidence and status.
When using video meetings, your visual presence sets the first impression. So be sure your grooming and wardrobe send the right message.
3. Manage Expectations
It’s more important than ever to be crystal clear about when you are working and when you’re not. Everyone’s schedules are different now as many of us are taking care of loved ones, homeschooling and trying to balance our home and working lives.
Make sure that everyone who needs to, knows when your work will be delivered and any circumstances that may delay completion.
So much is up in the air right now, so adding clarity wherever you can is key and will help people see you as reliable.
They will also appreciate this communication, as they can then adjust their plans and what projects they should prioritise.
4. Take and Show Initiative
Almost every area of businesses are under review right now as leaders are deciding what is necessary to drive their brands forward and what they can no longer afford to continue.
Now is the time to pitch new ideas and be on the innovating frontline of your brand.
Everyone is pivoting their strategies right now to find new ways of connecting with their audience and bring in revenue.
If you are pitching creative, dynamic and innovative ideas that can help with this, you are more likely to be considered as a crucial team member they cannot lose.
5. Build Your Network
People are more open to speaking than ever. They crave the human communication and conversations they are missing out on while in lockdown.
Be brave and initiate that call with a senior manager you need to impress.
When it comes to getting a promotion, you may need as many votes around the table from different stakeholders as you can get.
So, making sure that you are visible, known and able to influence those outside your immediate reporting line will put you in a great position.
6. Ask For Additional Responsibilities
During this time, many people will be frantically juggling personal and professional responsibilities.
If you are one of these people, remember that you are only human and there are only a certain number of hours in each day. As I said before, the key for you is to make your circumstances clear to your colleagues.
Likewise, you may have found yourself with more time on your hands, maybe you’ve gained time that was previously spent commuting, seeing friends or participating in weekly activities. Think about how this extra time could be spent to propel your career forward. Use it wisely and use it effectively.
This is a great chance for you to step up and take on more responsibilities. You can build your skillset and show your boss that you are a dedicated team player. The willingness to go the extra mile shows how determined you are to succeed.
7. Offer Options
If you can, work around the schedules of those you are trying to impress. They will be thankful for this considerate approach.
When trying to secure buy-in, senior stakeholders love to have options. Ultimately you want them to determine on their own that the option you support will work best but outline other options with pros and cons to help them determine that for themselves. They’re much more likely to endorse an idea they thought they came up with.
HVO Search Live
Speaking of using video discussions to maximise your success, we’ve launched HVO Search Live, to bring together industry leaders to troubleshoot, share ideas and stay connected...
Covid-19 has dramatically changed how we do business and how we interact with one another.
Needless to say this is bringing about a HUGE change in customer behaviour.
There is no “business as usual” right now. If you want to succeed, you MUST pivot your strategy.
At HVO Search, we’ve been bringing together leaders in Fashion, Beauty, Luxury & Lifestyle to discuss digital opportunities during this uncertain time.
We will also be running a live conversation “First to the Future: Opportunities After Covid-19” with an expert panel on Tuesday 12th May, 15:00pm BST. If you’re interested in joining us, please get in touch.