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COVID-19 is changing how we do business 

April 22, 2020

It’s been about a month since stricter lockdown measures came into place and in that short time businesses have had to quickly change the way they do business, including the way they communicate, market and network in a new reality where face-to-face interaction is near impossible.

The way we communicate

When a particular product name becomes a verb, like Google, you know it’s become an important part of how we communicate. In the short space of a few months, Zoom has also become a verb, which goes to show how much we are relying on video communication right now. But, what this also means is that we need to adapt our communication and be a lot clearer.

Those natural pauses in conversation when you know to interject, the nuanced facial expressions that tell you what some is really thinking or the particular choice of word in the right context, are a lot harder to perceive over video call, especially when there are more than 3 or 4 people in the meeting.  The same goes for email.

Perhaps you have a new client, acquired during quarantine. Choosing the right words, considering how humour can come across in an email, are even more important than before. And, let’s not forget the telephone call. It’s a lot easier to send an email than pick up the phone, but now is a good opportunity to reacquaint yourself with the art of the business telephone call. Making decisions, clarifying miscommunications and building rapport can all be achieved in a quarter the amount of time it takes to do so over email.

The way we market

Right now, outdoor marketing – billboards, transit sign marketing (bus, tram, train), shop signs and physical presence – is not getting the same amount of eye traffic. To be seen in this climate, your marketing needs to be digital. Is your search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) placing your business front and centre in online searches? The importance of being online is even more obvious with many businesses having to up their digital game to stand out in a marketing landscape that has become even more digital. The COVID crisis also highlights the importance of social media for connecting with new and existing clients, whether your purpose is building brand awareness, marketing a service or engaging your people about changes in services due to COVID-19.

The way we network

Conferences, events and the coffee catch ups with prospective clients have been cancelled, so networking has also moved online.  A good way to drum up new business, network and connect with potential new leads is to take advantage of LinkedIn’s free trial upgrades to Premium Business or Sales Navigator. Sales Navigator allows you to interact with and connect with people with whom you haven’t sent a connection request. Expanding your professional network on LinkedIn and sharing your content can increase your visibility and set you up for potential business connections later on.

Don’t overlook online networking, it’s happening. Although like Zoom, the professional version of Tinder dates can be a bit awkward, it’s a good way to keep your personal skills polished and make new connections. Online networking also allows you to ‘visit’ networking groups that you may not have previously due to time or location. Have a look at Fresh networking as one example.

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