The importance of connecting in COVID-19

|| August 20, 2020

By Jordan McDonald

55 comms Social Media Coordinator

Today is my first day back working in the 55 comms office. I’ve been working from home the last two months so I could be available as a caretaker to my grandmother. She moved in with my family and I after her health deteriorated considerably during isolation and she didn’t want to go to a home and be away from family. We were more than happy to step up and be with her until she sadly passed last Monday.

When reflecting on the last two months, I get wound up in the memories of Nanna – happy, sad, funny – but I often think about how grateful I am that I didn’t have the stress of rigid working conditions to deal with. Serious health situations never go to plan so it’s hard to communicate with your boss when you expect you’ll return to work. Fortunately, Nanna survived longer than we expected but I never dealt with any stress from my work when having to communicate those changes.

My family isn’t the only one with a COVID story. While Queensland has enjoyed more freedom than Victoria, it doesn’t mean others throughout our workday aren’t struggling because of COVID. The working world is operating in a very stressful and emotional space and connecting with people’s emotions at this time is more important than ever before. I want to detail a few tips for people in business on how to stay connected with the emotions of people you work with – whether it’s customer, employee, or boss.

Connecting to emotional cues is the critical starting point in a lot of businesses. We often connect emotional cues to “needs”, so think of it as an extension of someone’s needs.

What does the customer need? Identify their problem.

At this point, take it one step further and connect it to an emotion the customer is either directly or indirectly giving you. Do they sound frustrated, angry, annoyed? Or do they sound like they’re in a rush or stressed?

From here, you can adjust your approach and handle the customer with more understanding. Something as small as fixing someone’s printer might mean they can finally finish a time-sensitive project. That relief coupled with your help will keep that customer coming back.

A different situation could be something similar to me – I’m an employee faced with a difficult family situation. We all share one common connection and that’s “family”, so work taking stress off me for being absent while also providing me with support, meant I could focus on what was most important to me. We often connect emotion to work that typically involves emotions, but with COVID continuing to cause problems, it’s worth applying this to everything.

There’s another angle to connecting emotions that is a little less clear and that’s the connection people have to your personal brand. A lot of businesses have fallen over thanks to COVID, but the little work that still exists is going to those businesses who have an emotional connection with that person/personal brand behind the business.

Defining qualities to help you develop this as a team or individual are:

  • Being trustworthy, people know they can count on you to deliver
  • You’re communicating clearly and earnestly, especially if problems arise
  • Provide a unique element, what makes different from the rest? Do you own a bakery and deliver the goods yourself? Something along those lines is a good unique element.
  • Lastly, be pleasant to deal with. If you’re comfortable for people to deal with then you’re far more likely to earn their time or business. All four of these factors will help develop a personal brand that will connect with people’s emotions.

This topic could be explored extensively, but ultimately comes down to simply tuning in to the emotions of the people you’re dealing with and deciding how best to react to that emotion.

We’re emotional beings who yearn to feel understood – so keep these tips in mind as you continue to move forward with your work.