3 Ways to Build Influence in a Hybrid Work Environment
We all figured hybrid workplaces would be a future option for our organizations. Few of us anticipated how fast it would happen. The days of conventional face-to-face communication are changing as some people opt to head back into the office while others opt to remain home.
A recent study indicated over 86% of working professionals believe hybrid workplaces will become our new normal. This introduces new communication challenges as we all learn to navigate the complex challenges of hybrid work. As organizations try to bridge the gap among in-office and remote employees, struggles to connect occur.
Consider the first time you met in person with someone you only ever knew from Zoom calls. It is likely that your perception changed when you finally met them face-to-face. It’s distracting, making it hard to give our undivided attention to their message because the distraction takes priority. These challenges occur when we fail to show up consistently no matter the medium. The transition isn’t easy, but influence requires showing up consistently – Monday to Monday – in every interaction.
One of our clients recently said he was a mess when facilitating an in-person presentation for the first time in almost two years. He said several years of presenting virtually allowed him to create bad habits. When it came time to present face-to-face, his movements were chaotic. He knows his movements were a mess because he recorded himself and was able to see how his fidgeting created a distraction for his listeners. He admitted he must now relearn the skills he’s forgotten, and practice stopping the bad habits he’s developed while living in a tile.
Does this sound familiar? When your virtual meeting go in-person, will you be ready? Will the perception others have of you be the same online and off?
Here are three ways to grow your influence by ensuring you’re prepared to show up consistently in an ever-changing hybrid workplace.
- Spot bad habits.
Face it, we get away with some pretty bad habits in the virtual environment. Everyone only sees us from the waist up. They don’t see our legs bouncing or hands fidgeting. They don’t see the notes we read hanging beside the camera on our screen. It’s time to treat each virtual interaction as if it were in-person. Don’t rely on a recording from Zoom to show you what needs improvement. It only captures that which your audience sees. Instead, use the camera from your phone to record your full self during an interaction. It’s a great way to spot those bad habits you’ve created virtually that you can break now before going in-person.
- Bridge the perception gap.
It is hard for listeners to create an accurate perception of you when all they see online is a small tile on their screen. To bridge the perception gap, let others see more of you. When presenting to an online audience, stand up and step back from your computer. Position your camera in a way that captures more of your body posture, positioning and hand gestures. This allows you to practice presenting in a consistent manner, no matter the medium. Consistency closes the perception gap, allowing listeners to focus on your message, not a difference in your virtual versus in-person persona.
- Invest in building relationships.
Before heading back into the office, invest in building relationships with your online listeners. Virtual working professionals struggle to build meaningful relationships the same way they would when working exclusively in-person. A natural bias occurs between those working in the office versus those working from home. Hybrid work environments require intentional outreach to grow and maintain trust and influence. Embrace a variety of communication tools to develop more meaningful relationships. Don’t rely only on scheduled meetings to meet and greet others. Make it a point to proactively call clients, prospects and peers to casually check-in. Over communicate your commitments by using email, online chats and text messaging. To maintain trust, deliver promises on-time every single time. Hybrid working environments are the new future of workplaces. To grow your influence, prepare to transition from virtual to in-person at any time. Put in the effort now to ensure you show up consistently on every medium, in every interaction, Monday to Monday®.
with host Thom Singer
If you missed one of Stacey’s previous blogs or tips, visit her online.
Check out our Research on Influence in conjunction with the University of Northern Colorado HERE.