Social distancing – How to stay effective and communicative

March 15, 2021 at 6:30 PM
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Ensuring positive, engaging, and effective communication at the time of social distancing is not easy. But nevertheless, this unwelcome visitor – social distancing – has become an integral part of our lives today, and we are learning to live with it. While there is no chance of normalcy restoring anytime soon, here are some quick tips on how to stay communicative even during social distancing.

Six tips for communicating effectively in the age of social distancing

Effective communication skills can help you breeze your way through life. If you can learn to communicate efficiently even through those 6-feet-apart lines and high-tech zoom calls, you’re acing it! For the rest of us who’re yet to master this art, start by maintaining eye contact and putting in that extra effort to read expressions and body language, and follow the tips below.

Improve your verbal communication: Whether you are communicating at arm’s length (in real life) or you are communicating virtually, try to be clear with your words. Clear articulation will always come in handy. Try to remember, be it over a Zoom call or audio conference, the people on the other end may not be able to perceive your body language as clearly as they would have in the case of a physical meeting. If you are someone with relatively fast speech, try slowing down your words a bit. This will help the person you’re talking to understand better and respond effectively.

Simplify your message: This point can't be stressed enough. Choose your words and sentences wisely. This will reduce the struggle of having to constantly repeat yourself. Modulating your voice or enunciating in accordance with the situation will help.

Sharing is caring, but not during a pandemic: Just because you've returned to work, doesn't mean it’s your ticket back to the pre-pandemic lifestyle. Be it food or stationery, try not to share or borrow too much. If done in an unavoidable situation, sanitize immediately.

Bombarding affection does not work right now: It's taking a toll on everyone, trying to restore their normal life after a year or more. Always remember: a year can bring a lot of changes to a person. While you may know the person, you may not be familiar with their “latest version” – given that the pandemic has affected most of us deeply and profoundly. Take time to know your colleagues and friends once again. Try to understand how their year has been. Start fresh.

Adjustment is key: No matter how much you try, it’s going to be really difficult to get back to the pre-pandemic mode. Keeping social distancing as their primary goal, workplaces have come up with different shift routines and timings for their teams. Numerous activities have now taken on a virtual format. As you begin to get back on track, try building a routine around your new schedule. Stay positive and keep yourself reassured and rejuvenated. This will clear your mind and help you communicate effectively.

Embrace technology: Yes, we are all trying to break away from the monotony of work-from-home and the endless saga of Zoom calls, at this point. But we need to stop, look back and see how far we’ve come since this all began. We are quick to be critical of technology, but to give credit where it’s due – technology has been the glue that held us together during the pandemic. So why not learn to embrace it and leverage all the good that it has to offer?

How do you maintain relationships while social distancing?

Our network is incredibly important to all of us, particularly during this time. It helps us stay motivated and engaged, reminding us that we are not alone in these tough times. But how do we continue to do that virtually?

Experience has taught us that we can indeed maintain our social connections even while maintaining social distancing. Remember, it's more physical distancing rather than social distancing. Our perspective of communication has certainly changed over the last year. But at its core, communication is the same – whether in person or virtually. It’s a two-way street.

Conversations are the key to effective communication. You may be miles away from them, but leading an effective conversation at the end of the day is all about knowing your audience. It is about interpreting a person’s most intricate facial expressions, reading their gestures, and, most importantly, their silences. It’s also about in-the-moment feedback. The ability to understand where the conversation is going through instant feedback capture and bringing it back on track – that’s what separates the exceptional communicators of our time from the amateurs.

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