While many start the reboarding process, prepare to go back to work, or simply increase their interactions with others out of business necessity, it’s still important to remember that following safety protocol for COVID-19 is the best way to go.
However, interaction might be inevitable, depending on your line of work. Here are 3 best practices for in-person interactions, and ways you can improve the needed skills quickly.
Your first step to success here is to increase your own awareness. Self awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drives. It’s key in developing your emotional intelligence, as well as your social intelligence.
Everyone is under a lot of stress right now! Living through a global pandemic is a life-changing event, and high levels of stress affect everyone differently. You only need to watch a slew of recent viral videos of people losing it in public to see some prime examples of irrational behavior.
Increasing awareness is your secret weapon to preventing negative interactions. If you understand your own emotional cues and stress triggers, then you can prevent the tense situations that elevated emotions bring.
Read Your Cues
Watch at all times for visual cues while communicating— facial expressions are now harder to read with masks. Combine that with social distancing, and it can feel impossible to communicate.
Make sure your body language is expressive and positive. Don’t hugely overact, but slightly exaggerating your body cues can help put others at ease. Don’t be afraid to use your words, as well! It might feel awkward to say, “I forgot you can’t see I’m smiling under this mask!” but simply acknowledging how strange the situation is can help.
If someone seems uncomfortable with your distance from them, casually back off. If they’re getting in your space, do the same thing and politely let them know you’d like to keep your distance. Avoid an accusatory tone and keep things light.
Establish (And Respect!) Boundaries
Establish boundaries before meeting. Are you meeting outside in a park for a casual conversation? In-person with masks? Figure out what you are both comfortable with, and don’t step out of those boundaries.
In a similar way, make sure that you aren’t pushing too hard when it comes to commitments and closing deals. Finances are sensitive right now, and many people are struggling. Selling shouldn’t be your top priority; making connections should be. If someone tells you that buying is off the table right now, don’t push it. Accept the reality of the situation and focus on the future. This shows them that you’re socially intelligent and trust-worthy. That’s a win for future business.
Move Forward With In-Person Confidence
We’re living in unprecedented and unpredictable times. Exposure to prolonged stress results in strange behavior from others! Give other people a break, and don’t forget to give yourself a break as well. If you increase awareness, work hard to give clear social cues as well as read the cues of others, and maintain boundaries in interactions, you’ll be on the path to success.