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#WFH: Why Does Nothing Seem the Way It Is?

When we are connected via technology, nothing is what it seems to be. We don’t want to be definite but rather stay conditional. We need to use phrases like “under these circumstances,” or “it seems to me” this is what happened. This goes a long way toward establishing equality and softening authoritative or demanding communication styles. “It’s not what you say but how you say it” is true in the virtual world, too! Don’t be afraid to establish connections using small talk in the virtual world. Just because it s business and just because we are connected digitally doesn’t mean we don’t have to connect person-ally.

Small talk goes a long way in establishing connections. Simple kindness statements and connection like “How are you? How’s it going? What’s up? How are you doing?” are natural and automatic in the F2F world. We need to consciously establish these same kinds of connections in the virtual environment. Chapter 5 will discuss this in depth. All communication in the virtual environment is “me to you” (M2Y) communication. This social and enjoy-able chit chat is important because it connects us to others in a positive and playful way. It establishes a tone and sets the stage for a relaxed and sociable connection. We remember these kinds of emotional tones. There is research that suggests that we need five positive statements to balance out every negative one.

Often as leaders we are put in the situation that we want to exercise some control in the meeting or online conversation. We think the way to do this is to use a controlling tone and language in the conversation. We set the agenda and diligently go over the items on it. If someone doesn’t agree or is out of sorts, we are pretty sure that if we are convincing enough we will influence them to change to our way of seeing things. Based on our information, it is obvious that they need to see thing our way! If we just stick to our guns, they will change. And if they don’t there must be something wrong with them. There must be a personal issue that is causing them to re-sist our point of view. This is very thin ice. It can lead to more demanding language and arguments.

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