When you're meeting someone important for the first time on video conference, do you ever wish you could delete your name under your image and instead write a disclaimer, like, “I just want you to know, if you met me in person, you'd be impressed!”?
Or maybe you just sigh each time you click “Join Meeting,” knowing that you're “fine” on video, but you just don't feel like you're really representing your best self the way you can when you meet someone in person.
Bruce Sham, SVP at Mass Mutual and my guest on this week's Speaking to Influence podcast , summarized his frustration perfectly: “I know that if I can just shake (a prospect's) hand, I can close the deal.”
But nowadays, the challenge is that there's a new, preliminary rite of passage: We have to earn the opportunity to meet someone in person and shake their hand, because it's far more time- (and even cost-) efficient to meet virtually first. Then, if and ONLY if you've made a strong and positive enough impression, will the other person consider a second, in-person meeting.
That sentiment illustrates a crucial element in your personal brand development – the importance of building rapport.
Rapport is an important skill to master for current and aspiring leaders. It's the first step to building trust, and without rapport and trust, it is almost impossible to have positive influence.
This is exactly what Bruce and I talked about in this week’s episode — especially when, by the very nature of video conferencing, you quite literally can NOT shake someone's hand.
What else helps build rapport in the virtual realm? Among other things, according to Bruce are the importance of:
- Staying focused on solutions
- Telling stories and inviting others to tell theirs, and even
- Using a quality microphone
Remember, if you want to earn the right to shake someone's hand – literally or not – you can't settle for “fine,” a.k.a. “good enough, I guess” on video.
And you and I both know, you're SOOOO much better than that!