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How To Connect With People During A Pandemic

Guest Post By Cynthia Battino, BHSP, Transformational Healing Life Coach, Energy Worker, Happiness Expert, Certified Vistage Speaker and Host of Sterling Women

How has connecting changed due to COVID-19? A LOT! Right?

Many of us were doing some virtual work, selling some of our products online, but many of us were stuck in face to face meetings, having an office, and shopping at brick and mortar shops. I think all of those things are still great, however, during a pandemic they may be a bit risky and unnecessary.

I had an office in Middleburg, Virginia. I traveled around the country to give workshops for Vistage. I had 1:1 meetings at the Salamander Resort & Spa. Then came COVID and quarantine. It all stopped.

Our lives turned quickly into a really bad B Movie. Shortly after the beginning of quarantine I KNEW I had to change a lot about my business. I had to change the way I connect with my people.

As a Happiness Expert, people hire me because they were referred by a trusted friend or relative, we had a 1:1 and were intrigued enough to do a welcoming session, or they saw me speak at an event and decided to give me a shot as their coach.

How do you connect and create trust if not by meeting face to face? How do you make true connection via the internet?

I found out quickly that the first thing I had to was get rid of my office. Working virtually was a sign of the future. I signed up for Zoom and watched hours of tutorials. I took my live Sterling Women Events and made them virtual. I did my three-hour Vistage Workshop via Zoom instead of flying to Boston.

Connecting online is a strategy.

You must be a bigger than life personality. You must be engaging, funny and charismatic. You must have a plan for your meetings and make sure you bring value. There is nothing worse than having a sore butt from 5 Zoom meetings that day and wishing you had chosen to attend one because only that one was worth your time.

Make your 1:1 meetings about THEM. Not you. Take notes. Find out how you can help them. Use active listening and be curious.

How else can you connect during a pandemic?

VIDEO! I decided to create a daily video blog during quarantine. I started them alone and decided to bring my husband into them. I kept them SHORT – no more than 2 minutes.

With my husband as a part, he made them funny. Each post had good information (me) and humor (him). It’s a good recipe while the world is going to hell and scared to death.

Together we made 75 videos. They checked off many boxes for surviving a pandemic quarantine. It gave me purpose. Made me know I was helping someone who needed it. Made me laugh (my husband always  makes me laugh). The best part was people actually watched them! See some of these videos at www.transform-heal.com. You can even follow us on YouTube.

Shift your offerings and pricing.

I wanted to help as many people as I could during quarantine. I knew I wasn’t the only one struggling with over the top emotions and having my finances dry up in a day. I started offering coaching sessions on a donation basis.

This did two things for me. It allowed me to connect with people that normally wouldn’t have hired me, because I was too expensive AND it kept money coming in my bank account.

During a pandemic gratitude and good karma are the recipe for success after the pandemic!

I am not recommending anyone change their business model to a strictly donation basis. I am not even recommending anyone lower their prices. I did and will continue with lower pricing until 2021. Why? Many people right now aren’t focused on happiness, they are focused on surviving. Those are very different needs. I’ll take it one step further. Happiness is a Want. Survival is a Need.

The last way to connect during a pandemic that I’ll talk about in this blog is partnering with other like-minded individuals. Using their platforms and their lists brings you more opportunities.

Writing blogs for professionals who have that forum – like me writing this for Jill Kurtz. I was invited to be on people’s virtual events. I have been interviewed on many podcasts. I was recently asked to be on a virtual conference for people who have experienced trauma.

Trust me. You know A LOT OF PEOPLE. More than you think. Reach out to them and ask to share your wisdom. You have A LOT OF THAT TOO! Again, when on these virtual forums use all of your best qualities and knowledge that make you unique and engaging.

I used to have a sign in my office that said: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” The pandemic isn’t ending anytime soon – so it’s time to learn to dance in the rain. Connect with others and help them dance too!

Blessings

About the Author

Life coach, energy worker, speaker, author, certified Vistage Speaker, host of Sterling Women and happiness expert; these are just a few words to describe Cindy Battino. Her coaching comes from her intensive study to become a Brennan Healing Science Practitioner. Previously she graduated from George Mason University with a degree in Economics. In 2011 she founded Transformational Healing in Middleburg, Va. Cindy is a teacher by trade and teaches relationship and life skills. These skills are the tools her clients use to transform their lives from a lack of happiness and success in one area of their life to happiness and success in ALL areas of their lives. She specializes in working with high level executives, business owners, entrepreneurs and much more.

Connect Like a Pro on LinkedIn

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How do you treat LinkedIn connection requests? Do you accept them all? Do you apply certain criteria when considering requests? Do you only connect with people you know outside of LinkedIn?

Managing your LinkedIn network is a personal thing. There is no one-size-fits-all answer. You do want to connect strategically.

First, define your goal.

Why are you on LinkedIn? Knowing the reason will make it easier to go about making the right connections.

Determining what you need to accomplish on LinkedIn is step one in determining what type of networker you will be on LinkedIn. Avoid setting a numerical goal. The size of a network is not as important as having the right network.

Second, a connection should be real.

There are fake accounts everywhere. You don’t want to crowd your LinkedIn community with them.

Take a look at the profile and give it the legit sniff test. Is there detail in the profile or just a name and little more. Is there a believable profile picture? Does the work experience make sense?

Do you share mutual connections?

Third, a connection should have value.

Value comes in many forms. Is this someone you know that you want to maintain contact with? Does the person work somewhere where you want to work or do business? Are they part of a community that is valuable to you professionally?

Determine the characteristics of a valuable connection. Connect with people who will matter to you.

Finally, be valuable.

Consider your networking strategy and think about who, how and why you are connecting. How can you add something worthwhile (value) to others before you ask for something?

Be sure to give as much to your network as you get.

We’re Friends, But it Is More Complicated Than That

A few weeks ago, I was listening to a story on NPR when the interviewee mentioned that someone was a “holiday card friend.” Having just dusted off my holiday card list, the fact that we all have different categories of friends really hit me.

There are friends who we talk to all. the. time.

There are social friends who we see now and again and are always happy to catch up when we do.

There are friends who we know through work or through our kid’s activities.

Etc.

You get the picture. All friends aren’t equal and that’s OK. We don’t treat everyone we know exactly the same in our offline interactions and we need to bring that insight into our social media strategy.

We need to look deeper at who we are connected to, understand what level of connection makes sense, and plan accordingly.

Some social media connections need regular interaction, while others benefit from a less intense connection.  The person who friended you after you met at a business event does not need the same treatment as your BFF.

This all makes sense, but all too often I see social media strategies that treat friends as if they are all created equally. The result is interactions that miss the mark – they are too much, too little, or somewhere in between.

Take a look at your social media strategy. How well have you defined your target audience and, by extension, the people who comprise your social communities? Probably not well enough.

Spend time looking through your connections. Come up with the categories of the people you engage with.

Define the expectations and needs of each. You can get excellent insight by looking over the recent history of your interactions:

  • How often do they engage?
  • What is the most common form of engagement – a “like” or a comment or something else?
  • What types of content do they react to most often?

Refine your strategy based on these insights. You will want to be sure that what you do on each channel meets the needs of each significant subgroup within your community with the right content, the right tone, and the right frequency.

Your aren’t talking to the same people with every post. Approaching social media with that insight will boost the impact of your social media efforts.