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Leadership Communication Skills for Virtual Relationship Building

Updated: Apr 3

by Stephanie Bickel

Leadership Communication

What happens when you pair a thoughtful communication approach with empathy? You stand out a mile and deepen relationships quickly. These tips are especially helpful to those in professional services fields.

Clients appreciate when you:

  1. Identify their passions. Their passions are clear when you can see them in their homes on the Zoom screen. Ask people about the items you see around them.

  2. Spice up virtual meetings with something novel - Include a game, activity, or show a video to break out of old meeting routines.

  3. Discuss communication preferences - Really listen to what they want and need right now.

  4. Minimize readouts - Send pre-reads 1-2 days in advance, so you are not walking through a deck in the meeting. If you are sharing slides during the meeting, try to simplify it down to the 3-5 most important visuals. Remove all footnotes for your display copy. Don’t overwhelm them with a content heavy Powerpoint that they won’t be able to follow anyway.

  5. Offer capability building - People are hungry for inspiration and learning

  6. Share more insights - Bring your clients new ideas. Do not wait around to be an order taker.

  7. Praise often in texts, emails, calls, and video conference - This counters the harsh messages we are being fed through the news. People crave positivity.

  8. Make space for the personal reflections - Bring humanity into the conversation. Be comfortable discussing what has been hard and great.

  9. Are mindful of their time - Set your half hour calls for 20 minutes and your 1-hour calls for 45 minutes. Have a goal to reduce meeting time by 25%. Keep agendas tight and focused on how you can be most helpful so they can get back to their work and responsibilities at home.

Use this unique period to connect with colleagues and clients in more meaningful ways than you have before. Make the time to engage in different ways and embrace new technology to deepen those relationships. Be the change and role model what you desire in others. It will be well worth the effort.


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