07Jul
Almost as fast as the pandemic was upon us, it appears that day-to-day business is returning to normal. What “normal” is has changed too, as we adopted new ways of doing things when we shifted to accommodate the need to change.
The excitement, combined with the anxiety of jumping back in, is why we need to do it in a way that keeps stress levels low. It’s important to take into account the hesitation of others as there are still many with reservations about getting back out there.

On the business side of things, in-person meetings are something many of us missed. And now, we are either raring to go or are hesitant because we’ve grown accustomed to the world of Zoom and feel our social skills are rusty. 

Just like anything “new,” you can test the waters while your confidence continues to build. To follow are some examples of how you can begin to immerse yourself:

Schedule shorter duration meetings

Limit the amount of time you spend at an event

Go with a someone who makes you feel comfortable

And remember, there will be many “rusty” people out there who are feeling anxious too. It’s a relevant topic for conversation as people find comfort in sharing similar experiences, so be open about how you’re feeling – in a positive manner.

If one of your reasons is that you didn’t complete your COVID resolutions, check out one of our earlier blogs, “Lack of Completed COVID Resolutions? That’s OK!

New Procedures Are There for a Reason

Many companies have established new policies to continue to think about safety while doing their best to resume “business as usual.” If there are procedures in place that you disagree with, don’t rock the boat. Unless, of course, it’s something that could negatively affect your safety and the safety of others. Everyone will have their version of what it will take to feel normal, so be flexible as you will expect the same respect should they participate in one of your meetings or events. And be proactive about communicating the measures you’ve taken to minimize risk. Most businesses have already been taking action to step up their game by:

  • Increasing their sanitizing standards beginning with a total deep clean
  • Positioning hand sanitizer stations throughout the office
  • Posting new procedures in a central location or, on the Internet or internal Intranet
  • Alerting vendors such as delivery personnel and companies that provide a service such as cleaning or catering.

In-Person Events and Meetings

Are you ready to host an event or meeting at your office or in an off-site location? If at your office, you should already have these systems in place, and if at a public venue, ask management in advance what protocols they have established. For either location option, make sure to share these safety guidelines with your attendees in advance. For some, it’s not a big concern, but for others, it will be the deciding factor on whether they will attend or not.

Offering the flexibility of a virtual option can help increase attendance, at least until all are ready for in-person. For a conference room meeting, this is reasonably easy to accomplish. However, for a more interactive event that involves networking and catered food, a virtual option wouldn’t necessarily be viable.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for getting together, but being flexible will increase participation when options are available.

Business Lunch Meeting

Your office may be where you feel more comfortable meeting a colleague or client for lunch, but getting out to enjoy a quality meal while supporting the restaurant industry, is terrific.

There’s something to be said for conducting business over a working lunch. It’s a great way to establish rapport and build on a relationship that leads to trust. Plus, a change in location helps reduce stress and increase morale.

  • If you’re meeting with employees, it’s a great way to bond as a team in an informal environment.
  • If meeting with potential/existing clients, it’s a more relaxing setting to have a confidential discussion.
  • If you’re the one buying, it’s always a great way to show your appreciation.

If you’re in charge of the lunch plans, make it easier on yourself by making upfront choices that will help demonstrate your professionalism. When you reduce the number of tasks you need to take care of during lunch, the smoother and less stressful it will be.

  • Make reservations. Not all establishments allow for reservations, but if you know you have a table in advance, your meeting can more likely start/end on time.
  • Choose a restaurant that has easy-to-eat food as most likely you’ll be in business attire. And, it’s always wise to ask the attendee(s) upfront if a particular type of cuisine works for them.
  • As always, proper etiquette while eating goes a long way as it helps to establish your personality and what they can expect when doing business with you.
  • And very important, arrive early. Be the first to arrive to ensure your table is ready and so you can be the one to greet any guests.
Whether you’re the one buying the meal, someone is treating you, or simply splitting the bill, all of the above helps you put your best foot forward.

Allowing for multiple modes of communication while incorporating appropriate safety protocol will open the door for more opportunities to build trust. But, NEVER do something you’re uncomfortable with as that doesn’t work either. When you’re ready to get out there, you will.