April 2020 | VP Legacies
Monthly Archives :

April 2020

Quarantine article in the new york times newspaper

Distancing Yourself: Dos and Dont’s

Distancing Yourself: Dos and Dont’s 1066 696 VP Legacies

COVID-19 is wreaking havoc around the world, causing many governments to declare national emergencies. This has led to enforced lockdowns and social distancing procedures. The WHO has even stated that the single most effective method to ensure our healthcare systems aren’t overwhelmed is by citizens adopting social distancing measures. 

In this piece, we’ll go over what is social distancing and the many rules surrounding it. After you read through it, check out VP Legacies’ course on building a stronger relationship with yourself. This course will help you appreciate this time you have to spend with yourself and help you discover things about yourself you may not have known. 

Social Distancing – What Are the Rules?

Social distancing in a nutshell is about avoiding interaction with other people around you. It’s a set of measures one can take to ensure they avoid situations where they may contract COVID-19 or spread it to others. This is because COVID-19 has a reproductive factor of 3.3, meaning that for every individual that’s a carrier, they will spread it to three others they come into contact with – making it a highly contagious viral infection.  

In short, the rules are simple. Stay at home as much as possible, limit being in any crowds or interacting with other individuals. When outside, maintain at least six feet of distance from others to limit accidental spread or contraction of the virus. 

Related: Working From Home: Tips to Stay Engaged and Connected

When Can I Go Outside?

Going outside is discouraged, but if one must go outside then there are a few tips to keep in mind. First, try to venture outside when commute times and foot traffic is less busy. This means aiming to visit the grocery store or postal office in off-peak hours such as between 10am to 12pm or 2pm to 4pm. 

Similarly, when outside, try to commute via the least public means possible. Drive to places instead of taking any public transit to minimize your exposure to other people. When you do have to go outside, try to maintain at least six feet in social distance between others, whether that’s while waiting in line at the store or walking along the street. 

The intention is to try and limit when you need to go outside, so only venture out for essential activities such as medical appointments, to grab groceries, or for work. But if in any of these cases there is a way to carry out the activities while at home, such as working remotely or having groceries delivered to your house, then this option should be considered. 

The hardest part for some people is not being able to see their friends or family. You should be avoiding social gatherings as often as you can, even if it’s just three people hanging out to play games over a friend’s house. It’s recommended that you only interact with people you currently live with. This makes video calls and daily check-ins more important than ever to maintain a close connection with your loved ones. 

When Do I Need to Stay Inside?

Staying inside should be the default and is an absolute requirement if you’re asked to self-quarantine or self-isolate. Self-quarantine is when someone is suspected of contracting COVID-19 and needs to remain isolated for 14 days in case they may have the virus. An example of this is if one has been traveling recently abroad and just returned home. 

Self-isolation is when you have contracted COVID-19 and are required to isolate until symptoms subside and they are tested negative, or symptoms worsen and they must seek medical attention. In other situations, the directive is to stay at home and only go out for absolutely essential activities. 

Man inside staring out a window black and white

How Do I Avoid Feeling Lonely?

While practicing social distancing, you may naturally feel isolated and alone given the lack of social connection. Here are some ways to avoid feeling lonely and some practices to avoid. 

Do:

  1. Continue to have face-to-face conversations with friends and family by utilizing video audio conferencing tools. Be the one to initiate and set such calls or meetings up for everyone to participate in. 
  2. Adopt a foster pet to provide some companionship while alone. There are many shelters that have also eased the adoption or fostering process so that one can carry out most of the steps for approval online. 
  3. Engage in your personal passion projects with the newfound free time that you have. Carry out comforting activities such as cooking food at home, watching one’s favorite TV shows, and taking a bath. 
  4. Have a positive attitude and a sense of humor. Look forward to the day when things will go back to normal and realize that what’s happening now isn’t permanent. 
  5. Stay active and workout at home. Exercise at least three times a week for 30 minutes at home by doing sit-ups, push-ups, and squats. Pair this with meditation sessions and it’ll help boost one’s mental wellbeing.

Related: Social Distancing: Today’s Pandemic and Loneliness Epidemic

Woman alone staring out a window in black and white

Don’t:

  1. Organize in-person meetings with your friends or family, even if they’re in the same building. 
  2. Head outside to have dinner at any open restaurants or food courts to feel a sense of social interaction. 
  3. Use the situation of working from home and social distancing to disengage from your friends and family during this stressful and anxious time.
  4. Take drugs or alcohol due to the lack of things to do and people to interact with
  5. Stop exercising or eating by slipping into loneliness or depression. No access to the gym should not mean your healthy habits should fall to the side. You’re allowed a break during a traumatic experience such as this pandemic, but don’t forget to take care of yourself and do what makes you happy. 

Dealing with Social Distancing During the Pandemic

Social distancing is important in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, it is a drastic change in life for many of us. Friends and family are separated, and feeling alone can add to the anxiety and fear the pandemic gives all of us already. Just remember to maintain as much of your normal life as possible while social distancing by using digital tools to move social interactions online. 

Even though webcams, Netflix parties, and other technology has made it easier to feel connected to our friends and family from afar, it’s still hard not to feel alone while practicing social distancing. If you want to build a stronger relationship during the pandemic, sign up for VP Legacies’ sign up for Personal Connection 101 course today. You’ll feel closer to your friends, family, and co-workers than ever before. 

four friends having a conversation

How to Start an Interesting Conversation to Make Friends

How to Start an Interesting Conversation to Make Friends 1600 1066 VP Legacies

A recent study found that 45% percent of adults have a difficult time making new friends. Part of the problem may be that we get some level of socialization through our social media. In fact, at VP Legacies, we refer to this phenomenon as the personal connection crisis! 

We can read, respond, and move on without giving the conversation (or the person) a second thought. As a result, we have to wonder if good conversation is a lost art! Read on to find out how to start an interesting conversation that will lead to a lasting and meaningful friendship.

Think About Your Self-Presentation

Self-presentation refers to the image we create of ourselves when interacting with other people. Research finds that a genuine self-presentation is received better than a carefully crafted one. However, there are still a few things you can do to put your best self out there.

 man wearing white dress shirt

How Are You Dressed?

Make sure that you have bathed and brushed in the past 24 hours. Wear clothes that are free of stains and odors. 

What Is Your Facial Expression?

Some people scowl when they listen. Others smile when they’re nervous, even if the conversation they’re having is a somber one. Make sure that you keep your expression both inviting and dynamic!

What Are Your Goals?

Set goals for your evening that aren’t too ambitious but will still push you past your comfort zone. You may want to connect with a few new people but don’t hop from person to person or you may miss your opportunity for meaningful conversation. 

Related: Why Empathy in the Workplace Matters

Use the Right Greeting

First impressions are hard to beat. Make sure that your introduction is strong and sends the right signals.

Verbal Greetings

If you want to show the person you’re interested in chatting with them, introduce yourself when saying hello. “Hello, my name is John,” opens the door for a reciprocated introduction. Saying hello, alone, does not make it clear that you hope the conversation continues.

Gestures

Waving is a  safe gesture upon first meeting someone. High-fiving the air, but at a distance may come off a bit silly, but it’s inviting and encouraging. However, hugging may cross the boundaries, and not a good idea during the pandemic.  

How to Start an Interesting Conversation

 man wearing white dress shirtNow that you’ve got the floor, it’s time to launch into a conversation that doesn’t just concern the weather! If you need help learning how to have an interesting conversation, you might benefit from a course on personal communication and connection

Alt Text: couple drinking coffee inside coffee shop

Uncontroversial Current Events

Most of us tend to be in the loop on the latest headlines, although we may not want to discuss our politics or religious beliefs with a near-stranger. Stick to the safe zone. This includes pop culture like music and television, celebrity gossp, coronavirus impact, and fun new things to do during a quarantine. 

Shared Interests

The best way to start an interesting conversation is to land upon your shared interests. Once again, safe categories fall under the pop culture category! If you get a whiff of shared political or religious beliefs, you may tentatively broach them but don’t forget to be respectful.

Asking Questions

How do you land upon shared interests? Ask questions! You might ask, “Do you like to read?” or, “Any TV shows you’ve been into lately?” Asking questions will give your conversational partner the opportunity to steer the conversation in directions they’re comfortable with and excited about.

Continue to ask questions to get deeper and deeper into the iceberg of personal connection.

Related: What is Emotionally Intelligent Leadership?

How to Show Interest

Nothing makes a person want to walk away from a conversation like a bored listener. Make sure that you’re not only listening to the speaker but conveying an interest in what they’re saying. You can repeat a word or phrase that the speaker says to show interest or you can express your interest by nodding and using other physical and verbal cues. When using verbal cues, try not to interrupt the speaker even if you are excited about what they are saying. Wait for an appropriate moment to say more than, “Mhm,” or, “I hear ya,” before giving your two cents.

Additional Tips

In addition to staying on comfortable topics and expressing interest, we have a few additional tips that will keep the conversation (and friendship) from stalling out. 

Have a Repertoire of Stories

Have a few entertaining stories in your back pocket that reveal a bit about yourself but don’t make other people feel awkward. Stick to stories that are relatively PG, have a humorous element, and have a positive ending. If anyone is the “butt of the joke” in your stories, make sure that it is you or you may send a signal that you are amused by others’ failures. The importance of sharing unique stories is to personally connect based on emotion and details elicit emotion. Personal connections can help turn strangers into friends and overcome social anxiety. 

Show Them You Know Their Name

Use your conversational partner’s name once or twice. Right after you learn their name at the beginning of the conversation, make sure to say it at the end of the convo when you are saying good bye, and then once in between. This shows that you listened when they said it and cared enough to remember it.

Don’t Be Self-Centered

If you find yourself saying, “I,” too much, you might be dominating the conversation. It’s important to share details about yourself to give insight into who you are but make sure it’s evenly balanced with inquiries about your conversational partner.

Ask for Contact Information

If the conversation goes well and you’d like to continue getting to know this person, don’t be afraid to ask for contact information. If you’re afraid of coming on too strong, say something like, “I really enjoyed talking to you. Would you ever want to meet up again?” If the answer is yes, say, “What’s the best way to get in touch with you?” That way, they can decide what information they’re most comfortable giving out.

Follow Up

If you ask for someone’s contact information, use it! In the next 48 hours or so, send them a message saying who you are, reminding them of where you met, and acknowledging that you’d like to hang out again.

Related: Working From Home: Tips to Stay Engaged and Connected

What’s in a Good Conversation?

A good conversation deviates from small talk. It gives both you and your conversational partner the opportunity to reveal more about your personalities, likes, and dislikes. You should walk away from a good conversation with enough information to build off of in the future. That could be details about where the other person grew up, a TV show you’re both into–anything that creates a launching point for a follow-up hangout.  

Put Yourself Out There

If you’re wondering how to start an interesting conversation, remember that the first step is to put yourself out there, even if that’s out of your comfort zone! To learn more about personal connection and gain the skills you need to shine in every conversation, check out our Personal Connection 101 course.

 

man looking out the window

Staying Engaged When You’re Home Alone

Staying Engaged When You’re Home Alone 1053 699 VP Legacies

With a global pandemic in full swing, many of us are now social distancing to help flatten the curve. This involves spending much more time at home, away from friends and with very little to do. While this boredom can overtake your life, we at VP Legacies are here to help you live a more connected and engaged life no matter the circumstance. We hope this guide will show you that staying engaged isn’t a daunting task. 

Here are some activities to help stay engaged when home alone:

Practice mindfulness

While at home and with fewer distractions, one key thing to begin or continue practicing is mindfulness. Be more connected to one’s awareness, thoughts, and feelings. This is important as we go through immense change, and there are many stressors in our day to day life. 

Here are a few ways to stay engaged at home and practice mindfulness:

Take an online course

There are many online courses that are free or inexpensive. MOOC platforms such as Coursera or Udemy cover hundreds of different topics ranging from programming to woodworking. These courses involve live video lectures, a community forum for interaction with other participants, and are self-paced. 

Need a break from building your new dresser? Try VP Legacies’ Personal Connection 101 course to work on yourself instead. This course is all about building deep and meaningful personal connections with just about anyone in your life, from friends and co-workers to even strangers. There’s no better way to feel engaged than to strengthen your relationships with others when you can’t be physically near them. 

Meditate

Meditation can do wonders in calming oneself and reducing anxiety. It can also help with remaining focused while working from home. There are apps such as Calm and Headspace that offer free and paid plans. They provide guided meditation programs, specific meditation routines for scenarios such as when one feels stressed, and plenty of informative articles.  

Write down your thoughts

One of the best ways to personally connect and reflect on one’s life is to write down your thoughts. There are multiple methods to doing this ranging from scrapbooking all the way to bullet journaling. The specific method doesn’t matter but what’s important is taking some time to reflect on what happened during the day and how it made one feel. This is a great way to process emotions during this difficult and stressful time.

Related: How to Build a Strong Relationship with Yourself

person doing yoga on floor

Stay connected

A major challenge with social distancing is remaining connected to our community. Luckily, technology can help here for us to stay engaged and feel a sense of belonging though we are all at home. 

Let’s take a look at some ways to stay connected below:

Talk to friends on the phone

Take time to reach out to friends and family. Schedule time with the time where everyone can hop on conferencing tools such as Zoom and engage in a video chat online. This is a great way to mimic what used to be a casual meetup at a bar. A good practice to get into is setting recurring schedules where friends and family can get together and catch up.

man leaning on white metal rail

Communicate through chat

We often overlook the daily conversations that would happen while we’re in the office or out and about. This can still be achieved while practicing social distancing and staying home by using tools such as Slack, Whatsapp, and Messenger to continuously stay in touch with friends and family. Create chat groups on these platforms and add those in your network to them. 

Host a virtual watch party

Virtual watch parties are a great way to stay connected and engaged with friends while social distancing. There are Chrome extensions such as Netflix Party that allow one to watch the same movie concurrently with friends and not worry about making sure everyone syncs at the same time. Add to the fun by introducing drinking games and other fun activities to the mix. There are even popular party games that can be done remotely by participants such as Jackbox TV.

Related: Social Distancing: Today’s Pandemic and Loneliness Epidemic

Read magazines/news

Getting back into reading magazines and news pieces helps with staying abreast on the latest developments in the community while at home. It can get easy to disconnect from society while at home and reading the news whether online or via having mail delivered is the best way to stay informed. We’d prefer you kept things digital and utilize subscriptions such as New York Times to help with social distancing. 

Get creative

Creativity is a powerful way to set the mind free and quash any stress and anxiety. It also let’s one reconnect with their passions and feel more fulfilled in their day to day life. Let’s take a look at how below:

Go back to an old hobby

Many times our life is super busy with the daily grind of heading into the office followed by dinners with friends and various other activities. While at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you will have a lot more free time to pick up old hobbies. In our regular life, we forego these simple hobbies for more exciting and communal ones. Now’s a good time to reconnect to those ones liked from back in the day. 

Pick up a new one

If all the old hobbies were outdoors and infeasible to do now, dive into new activities one can do at home such as crafting, painting, or embarking on a side-hustle such as creating an e-commerce shop. There are many online classes that can help one pick up new hobbies. Some of which even ship the necessary materials to your door. When it comes to more physically active hobbies, pick up activities such as calisthenics or yoga which can be done at home. There are even studios hosting virtual live-streamed yoga lessons like Gaia.

person holding click pen

Related: What is the Personal Connection Crisis?

Conclusion

Being in lockdown and not knowing when things are going to go back to normal can be stressful. It’s hard to stay focused on your friends, your hobbies and your work when you can’t stop wondering about your family’s safety and the future of the economy. It’s important to stay engaged during these times so we frankly don’t go stir crazy from watching YouTube videos all day with our cat. 

It’s important to stay motivated at work, keep yourself occupied, and strengthen personal connections with your friends, family, and co-workers. It may seem like a crazy time to build personal connections when you can’t be face-to-face with people, but VP Legacies’ online course on Personal Connection shows you that you don’t need physical proximity to become closer to someone. In fact, during these times is when your connection can grow even stronger.

Hand holding a piece of paper

How to Deal With Social Anxiety in Your Everyday Life

How to Deal With Social Anxiety in Your Everyday Life 500 333 VP Legacies

If you’re living with social anxiety, you already know that it can spring up in many different scenarios. And, you’ve probably fallen victim to its isolating effects at some point.

Social anxiety can bring about intense symptoms that force some individuals to isolate themselves, avoiding family and friends, social situations, and even partners or spouses. Plus, it can halt the process of making new connections in your personal  and professional life. 

But, no matter how serious your anxiety feels, don’t despair. There is still hope!

In this article, we’ll explore how to deal with social anxiety in a variety of everyday situations. Plus, we’ll help you understand the symptoms you’re experiencing and the resources available for you to get help. 

Keep reading to learn more. 

Woman dealing with stress and anxiety

Source: CalmClinic

What Is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety disorder, also called SAD or social phobia, is described as the feeling of being nervous or uncomfortable in a social situation. 

SAD and mild forms of social anxiety are common, so if you have it, you’re not alone.

The hardest part of living with anxiety is recognizing your symptoms and reaching out for help. And, if you’re reading this article, you’ve already taken an essential first step!

What Happens When You Have Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety often causes troublesome symptoms, and if left untreated, it can eventually lead to lasting effects. 

Symptoms

Everyone experiences social anxiety differently. But, for most people, anxiety triggers can lead to feelings like:

  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Muscle tension
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomach trouble and diarrhea
  • A strange “out-of-body” sensation

Lasting effects

Over time, these feelings of discomfort can prevent people with social anxiety disorders from living a normal life.

It’s not uncommon to feel a need to avoid typical social situations and interactions. Eventually, this can affect personal and professional relationships and lead to ongoing issues like:

  • Negative thoughts
  • Low self-esteem
  • Sensitivity to criticism
  • Depression
  • Poor social skills 

Related: Social Distancing: Today’s Pandemic and Loneliness Epidemic

Social Anxiety at Work

Social anxiety in the workplace can negatively impact your career and keep you from making meaningful connections with colleagues and clients. Plus, it can be embarrassing and add stress to your daily life.

People living with SAD are often afraid to voice their opinions for fear of criticism. This can limit your ability to assert yourself at work, and in turn, lead to poor performance. 

If you’re experiencing powerful anxiety symptoms while working, you’ll want to take action before any permanent damage is done. 

But don’t panic! You can retrain yourself to feel less anxious in a professional setting through mindful practices like yoga and meditation, and self-soothing behaviors like deep breathing.

If your symptoms are intense and persistent, you might consider an online course or two, specifically designed to help you overcome your anxiety.

Social Anxiety at Meetings

Anyone who’s been asked to speak in public knows it can be nerve-wracking. Feelings of anxiety, blushing, sweaty palms, and even a racing heart are all pretty standard before making a big presentation.

But, for someone with social anxiety, the stress of these “on the spot” situations is too much to handle.

That’s because SAD causes you to feel a fear of being judged by others in social situations, and a fear of being embarrassed or humiliated.

Keep in mind that public speaking is the most commonly reported phobia among Americans. If you’re only experiencing strong symptoms before giving a speech or presentation, you might not have social anxiety at all.   

Social Anxiety at the Gym

A trip to the gym is high on the list of anxiety triggers for many people, not just those who have social anxiety. 

You might feel nervous about displaying your athletic abilities in front of others for fear that you won’t perform up to their expectations. And, you might be suffering from low self-esteem related to SAD.

Exercise is a natural way to boost your energy level, help you sleep, and improve your mood overall. So, you don’t want to miss any workouts!

If you tend to feel anxious at the gym, start by making some changes to your routine.

Try to avoid peak hours when you’ll have to interact with larger crowds of people. If possible, choose a gym that isn’t full of mirrors, which can trigger anxiousness all on their own. Or, switch to working with a trainer for a more focused, one-on-one experience.

If you’re serious about hitting the gym but can’t handle the anxiety alone, consider taking a friend or “workout buddy” along to help you relax. 

Social Anxiety at a Party

Social anxiety can turn a fun night out into a real nightmare. In fact, parties and social gatherings are among the most typical situations to feel nervous and stressed out in.

Walking into a room full of strangers, or meeting people for the first time may be challenging if you have SAD. You might clam up when meeting someone new, or struggle with small talk and eye contact, two common triggers for anxiety.

You might also feel nervous about eating and drinking in front of others or using a restroom outside your home. 

Unfortunately, people living with social anxiety often rely on alcohol to cope in social situations. While a few drinks might help you feel better at first, it can also lead to dependency and worsening SAD symptoms over time. 

 Artwork showing a man suffering from anxiety at a partySource: JourneyPure

If parties are overwhelming for you, stick to smaller social gatherings. Always bring a friend along, and be prepared to step outside for a short “time out” if you start feeling stressed. 

Related: How to Deal with Anxiety at Work 

Social Anxiety With Friends

In some cases, social anxiety can even impact your friendships. 

Feelings of anxiousness might make it hard to focus on what your friends say to you during a conversation, making it seem like you aren’t paying attention. And, it can make small talk difficult and awkward.

If you’re experiencing social anxiety around your close friends, you’re probably experiencing some of the SAD’s long term effects like low self-esteem and depression.

One of the first steps to overcoming these feelings is taking the time to improve your relationship with yourself. Building personal connections with others is easier when you feel happy and confident on your own. 

Plus, an improved self-image will help you feel motivated to spend time with friends and even open up to them about the symptoms you’re experiencing. 

Social Anxiety at Reunions

Are you feeling worried or anxious about an upcoming event?

If you have social anxiety, you might spend weeks worrying about a reunion, get-together, or a large social gathering. And, your symptoms will likely worsen immediately before the event. 

Worse yet, you might waste time and mental energy “replaying conversations in your head” and worrying about how you acted afterward. 

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, big events can be some of the most stressful of all the different situations that trigger social anxiety. And, if you’re feeling super stressed leading up to a reunion or get together, you are already setting yourself up for failure. 

Visualization techniques can help you “check out” of a stressful situation. This can be used leading up to a big event, during a quiet moment outside if you’re feeling overwhelmed, or even as a tool to decompress after the fact. 

Social Anxiety With a Partner

All aspects of dating and romantic relationships can trigger social anxiety. This includes chatting on the phone, going on dates, and hanging out quietly. 

Plus, there’s nothing more frustrating than feeling anxious around the person you trust most. After all, you know they aren’t to blame! 

If you’re experiencing SAD symptoms while spending time with your partner, start by talking to them about what’s going on. Reading aloud may trigger further anxiety, so don’t be afraid to write a thoughtful letter or record a video message if it helps you relax.

It’s important to keep in mind that the symptoms of your anxiety are likely impacting your partner, too. So, try to stay patient and listen thoughtfully to their responses.

Even if they seem defensive or frustrated, you both must remain calm while you’re working together to overcome these feelings of stress and anxiety.  

Social Anxiety While Under Lockdown

Some probably assume people with SAD are enjoying the social distancing mandates brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. But that’s sadly not the case and everyone deals with isolation differently. 

Many people — even those without SAD — are nervous going out in public during these times. This feeling of tension, panic, and urgency while in a packed grocery store can have major effects on a person with social anxiety disorder. It can become beyond possible for them to go to the store to get necessities or to the pharmacy to pick up medication. 

Not having the need to go to work, or the gym, or social gatherings can also cause people with SAD to experience even more severe anxiety. People with anxiety know there’s nothing worse than being alone with your own thoughts. It can feel like you’re missing that support system of friends and family you once had and that puts an emphasis on negative thoughts that are most likely not true. 

You’re Not Alone

If this article described some familiar feelings, it’s ok. You aren’t alone.

There are tons of helpful resources for people with social anxiety. Start by doing a little online research. You’ll soon see that a few changes to your daily routine can start you on the road to recovery.

A healthy diet, plenty of physical exercise, and adequate sleep are mandatory for reducing your anxiety symptoms. Adding a mindful practice like yoga or meditation might also be helpful.

Consider an online course that will help you break bad habits, learn new behaviors, and feel supported as you face your social anxiety head-on. 

 Graphic detailing how 15 million American adults suffer from anxietySource: Dr. Bober

How to Deal With Social Anxiety

Now that you know a bit about how to deal with social anxiety, you’re ready to take control of your symptoms and get your life back!

Start with a little self-care and positive changes to your daily routine. Don’t forget to do a bit of homework when it comes to your symptoms and treatment. And, most importantly, don’t give up. 

Connect with us today for more information on our personal development courses, and to ask any questions you might have for our instructors. 

Related: What is the Personal Connection Crisis?

2 people by the lake

How to Make Friends as an Introvert

How to Make Friends as an Introvert 1600 1066 VP Legacies

At VP Legacies, we realize that learning how to make friends as an introvert is often tricky. Predominately because there are so few helpful tips to assist you along the way. You’re an introvert, so going out of your way to make conversation isn’t always the easiest task for you. The thought of being in crowded spaces and mingling with multiple people might even spark anxiety in you.

You’re used to keeping to yourself and staying at home most of the time. Home is your safe place where you’re most comfortable, yet you seek something more. Spending time alone to focus on yourself has many perks, but you find yourself becoming a bit lonely. 

There are times when you feel you need a few friends and are now ready to learn how to make friends even though you have an introvert personality. Gaining real friendships takes time, but it’s not impossible, especially when you have a few tips up your sleeve. 

Continue reading below for some of the best tips to help you build friendships as an introvert we’ve learned working with various company cultures across the globe!

Related: What is the Personal Connection Crisis?

How Do I Know if I’m an Introvert?

Not everyone who enjoys spending time alone here and there considers themselves an introvert. There’s a lot of grey area, but here are some of the main characteristics associated with introverts.

Introvert Characteristics

Although not every introvert is the same, and some have different characteristics than others, there are a few characteristics that are quite common amongst all introverts. Some introvert tendencies are as follows:

  • You become tired quickly when around a group of people
  • You have a small number of close friends
  • You enjoy your alone time
  • You’re often quiet
  • You excel in jobs that require independence
  • You learn best by watching quietly

Be Introspective

One of the best ways to determine if you’re an introvert or not is to be introspective. Take a look into yourself and uncover your unique qualities. What do you know about yourself and the way you react to certain situations? Are your personality traits reflecting those of an introvert or a shy person? Writing in a diary is a great way to be introspective and can help you take a journey into your thoughts. 

Take a Personality Test

If you’re still unable to determine if you’re an introvert or not, you can always consider taking a personality test. A personality test will ask you questions that will help you find the right answer. The only way these tests can work, however, is if you answer them honestly and to the best of your ability. 

Taking the First Steps

If it’s determined that you are an introvert, then it’s time to take the first steps in learning how to make friends. Making friends is a process for introverts and non-introverts alike. Here’s how you can get started. 

Connecting With Other Introverts

Connecting with other introverts is a great way to get started socializing with peers. When you’re able to communicate with people who have similar interests and personality traits as you do, it’s easier to relate to them. You won’t have to worry as much about explaining why you need time to yourself frequently, for example. 

Think About Introverts You Already Know

Making new friends doesn’t always have to involve participating in a networking event or large social gathering. Think about some introverts that you already know. There’s a good chance that you know a few people who seem interesting or have similar interests as you that you could get to know better. Go out of your way to socialize with these people more often. 

Don’t Stress About Rejection

If rejection does happen, don’t take it to heart. This happens to extroverts, too! If someone isn’t open to starting a new friendship, then let it be. You never know what this person has going on in his or her life and might not be ready to start something new. The best thing to do is move along and try reaching out to someone more willing to start a new friendship. 

Related: How to Deal With Anxiety at Work

Maintaining a Relationship

Once you begin to create a friendship with someone, you have to put in a bit of work to maintain the relationship. Maintaining a healthy friendship requires effort from all parties. Here’s what you need to know. 

row of four men sitting on mountain trail

Schedule Regular Meetings

A great way to keep up a friendship without having to communicate with the other person every day is to set up regular meetings with him or her. For example, you can schedule a monthly coffee or lunch date at a favorite spot. This way, you’ll know every 3rd Saturday of the month (or whatever you choose to do) is dedicated to meeting your friend at your favorite lunch spot at noon. Remember, this is your time to relax and unwind as well. Don’t treat it as a meeting with your boss, but a dedicated time for you. 

 Sometimes time management or distance can prevent a person from meeting face to face. It is important to keep in mind that scheduling these meetings can also be in the form of a phone call , facetime, or even a simple text. 

Shift Focus to Other Person

Being an introvert, you most likely enjoy keeping personal matters to yourself, which can make conversations more difficult for you. One helpful tip is to place the focus on the other person. Be sure to ask the other person about themselves, how their day’s been, and what’s new—this takes the focus off of you.

Be Introspective

Remember to be introspective. Take a few moments to reflect on your meetups, conversations, and more. Think about how you feel when spending time with your new friend. What could have gone better? What went perfectly? Jot down a few notes to keep for yourself. 

It’s Okay to Be an Introvert

Being an introvert might cause you more hurdles when making new friends, but it’s okay to be an introvert. More people around you than you think might be introverts themselves! 

selective focus of man smiling near building

Remember that all real friendships take time, and you should never force anything. Be yourself and connect with people who deserve your time. 

Related: Social Distancing: Today’s Pandemic and Loneliness Epidemic

Learn How to Make Friends as an Introvert Today

Keep these tips in mind when you’re ready to learn how to make friends as an introvert. If you need a bit more assistance, then click here to access our interactive video courses. We’ve found that those who take the course as an introvert are likely to experience two main things. First, they feel more comfortable in their own skin. They no longer feel like being an introvert is a bad thing (something society has pressured them into feeling). Secondly, they are more likely to experience an increased level of happiness and satisfaction in their lives due to the friendships they gain using tactics from this course. 

Woman sitting on grass field looking at sunrise

Dealing with Loneliness When You’re Social Distancing

Dealing with Loneliness When You’re Social Distancing 1267 950 VP Legacies

On March 26, 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, spoke at the G20 Leaders’ Summit, calling COVID-19 the “defining health crisis of our time.” He thanked the countries who have taken steps to curb the outbreak and urged them to do more. Indeed, every country dealing with coronavirus cases has enacted measures to control viral spread, including asking that citizens practice social distancing.  

In the span of a few months, social distancing has taken a front seat in America’s battle to contain the COVID-19 influenza. Defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the act of “remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible,” the practice of social distance is well known as a non-pharmaceutical method to lower the risk of infection

Except for those working in essential functions (such as the healthcare industry and water supply resources), employees have been asked to work from home. Schools and colleges have set up online classes for their students. Bars, yoga studios, and restaurants in infected areas have closed for the indefinite future. 

Social distancing certainly makes logical sense from the lens of preventing viral infection. But as a result, many find themselves isolated from the camaraderie of familial support, friendly interaction, and workplace connections. Here at VP Legacies, we’re dedicated to finding ways to help people feel connected even while practicing social distancing, such as our course, Personal Connection 101. Read on for some more ways to manage loneliness during a very trying time.

Why Social Distancing Causes Loneliness

Consistent research has shown that people of all ages, background, gender, and classes share something in common: the ability to feel a subjective sense of well-being. Close relationships in addition to work relationships factor significantly to an individual’s well-being. These relationships offer people a “we feeling,” a network of support and shared experiences that bolster one’s social identity and sense of belonging.

Without this shared community experience during the current period of social distancing, many can feel the effects of loneliness and a lowered state of well-being.  Loneliness and isolation can even affect a person’s health as studies have shown a higher mortality rate associated with those who feel separated from the rest of society. Because of this, it is more important than ever to maintain relationships and seek out community during the COVID-19 outbreak. Even if social distancing calls for more creative solutions to the loneliness epidemic, there are still ways to ensure meaningful connection with those around you.

Related: Check out VP Legacies’ free courseHow To Personally Connect In The Midst of A Global Pandemic,” airing live every day on Facebook and Instagram.

Making Use of Technology

Woman speaking on phone while sitting in front of building

Never underestimate the power of a simple phone call or warm email update. Now is an opportune time to reconnect with friends you’ve lost touch with or relatives you barely get to see. Reaching out just to wish someone a safe and healthy experience during the pandemic will brighten their day as well as yours. Email is also a professional way to catch up with work colleagues and coworkers who are working remotely.

Beyond those traditional modes of communication, technology has advanced such that we can video chat with friends and family all over the world. Applications like Facetime, Zoom, and Skype allow us to see the faces of our loved ones as well as conduct work functions through online meetings and conferences. Another way to combat loneliness is through joining an online class, connecting with fellow students and dedicated instructors. To get started, take a look at some of the courses VP Legacies has to offer here.

Improve Communication Skills

It’s more important than ever to communicate clearly, concisely, and eloquently since we can’t engage directly with others. Tapping into your desires, needs, and thoughts and expressing them fully can be challenging but well worth the effort. By improving your communication skills, your conversations in person and online can become more authentic and rewarding and help others open up as well.

Taking that step toward improving your connection skills is an empowering course of action. In addition to deepening relationships, improved communication methods will be key in addressing your personal and professional goals. For learning how to advance your powers of personal connection, try joining VP Legacies’ course Personal Connection 101 today.

Taking Technology Breaks

Silhouette of person standing on railing against pink sunset

Studies show that too much screen time can fry your mental circuits, which leads to antsy feelings of anxiety and unrest. Ever stay up too late looking at your phone and then find yourself staring at the wall because you can’t sleep? It’s likely you’ve gotten way too stimulated by both the light from your phone as well as all the content your brain is still processing.

Taking a break from technology can be great for your body in many ways. First, putting your phone away an hour before sleep can help you get a better night’s rest. A screen time-out is also great for letting your fingers, wrists and shoulders relax. Too much typing and smartphone manipulation can wreak havoc on your upper body’s muscles. Finally, putting down your laptop or phone and stepping outside for some fresh air might be just what the doctor ordered. Your eyes get a rest and a few deep breaths may revive you from the monotony of staying indoors all day. 

A walk around the neighborhood can work wonders for your mood. Just make sure to maintain a six foot distance from anyone passing you by. Social distancing, remember?

Related: Social Distancing and Today’s Loneliness Pandemic

Engaging in Multiple Communities

Human beings are amazingly resilient when it comes to disasters. We have the fantastic advantage of technology at our fingertips and a quick search on the Internet will show you communities upon communities of people connecting in the virtual space. There’s social media, sure, but there’s so much more.

Beyond Facebook groups and Instagram Live, there are scores of fitness and yoga communities online tailoring the lesson to an at-home workout. By video chatting with a friend on your phone and setting up a yoga class on your respective laptops, you get the added perk of chatting during class without disrupting the teacher. Those with hobbies are also in good company; knitting, singing, illustrating, and painting lessons are all available online and present a fun creative outlet for those that need it.

People seeking ways to improve their soft skills while at home can also find many opportunities online. eLearning resources abound on the Internet and VP Legacies is at the forefront of educational technology. 

It’s Okay to Feel Lonely Sometimes

Fawn pug lying on floor

It’s important not to seek ways to escape from loneliness or solitary thoughts. The very act of feeling lonely is divinely human and be assured, you’re not alone. Remember to practice empathy for yourself and give yourself space to express your feelings through this experience.

Most are all too familiar with the feeling of loneliness and it’s easy to fall into addictive or enabling behavior during a period of isolation. But keep in mind it’s our myriad experiences that make us stronger and more caring as a whole. You’re better able to connect with others and offer them solace and empathy if you also understand what it’s like to feel lonely. In short, your difficult experience may be the key to connecting meaningfully and compassionately with a loved one. 

Related: Why Empathy In The Workplace Matters

Build a Strong Relationship With Yourself

Numerous studies have shown that “chronically happy people” are optimistic, tend to like themselves, and feel empowered rather than helpless about their situation. Thus, those with a good amount of self esteem, who feel they have the power to improve their lives, and have positive outlooks such as “when I undertake something new, I expect to succeed” are more likely to handle stress better and live longer lifespans. On the opposite end of the spectrum, those who felt less empowered in their situation, for example, jail prisoners and residents in nursing homes, were less likely to rate high on a subjective well being scale.

Even if you feel like a prisoner in your own home while practicing social distancing, there are many opportunities to take control of the situation and transmute isolation into self care and self improvement. Developing a meaningful relationship with yourself will help you become a better friend, family member, and colleague as well as improve your own state of well-being. Start with VP Legacies’ powerful courseHow To Build A Strong Relationship With Yourself” and embrace self empowerment today.

Conclusion

Man sitting on chair in front of laptop

Don’t forget that pursuing online learning or joining an online community can be fulfilling as well as affordable. Start your personal connection journey today with VP Legacies’ free courseHow To Personally Connect In The Midst of A Global Pandemic,” airing live every day on Facebook and Instagram.

We hope this post sheds some positive light on your social distancing experience. Though it is a challenging time for all, we are lucky to have resources and technology to bolster our relationships with others as well as ourselves. Taking advantage of the many ways to combat loneliness such as those listed above will be instrumental in maintaining your health, sense of well being, and overall happiness. 

 

Woman using phone while walking

8 Tips for Effective Communication Online

8 Tips for Effective Communication Online 1350 900 VP Legacies

A 2019 study has shown that 89% of people using video conferencing tools feel more connected online. One can only guess at how these numbers from 2019 will spike in 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal and local governments have asked their citizens to practice “social distancing,” a non-pharmaceutical containment measure meant to reduce the spread of viral infection.

Cut off from social interaction, many are turning to technology to maintain social and professional relationships. Teleconferencing programs, group chat apps, and other digital tools are part of everyday life now as we attempt to strike a balance between isolation and connection. At VP Legacies, we prioritize the value of person-to-person connection and have developed innovative ways to improve those connections in the digital era. For those seeking an effective means of online communication, we’ve compiled 8 top tips to help you establish the most meaningful of interactions during this period of social distance.

 Discerning Personal and Professional Communication

Woman cooking and using laptop

The first step to effective online communication is being able to discern the differences between personal and professional communication. Determining this will allow you to make important decisions such as which app or digital tool to use, where to set up your call, and how you share information.

If you’re asked to participate in a video meeting in a professional context, it’s wise to set up shop in your home office or some other quiet and clean space that won’t distract other meeting attendees. Whether it’s a Google business hangout, Skype interview, or Zoom online meeting, you want to prepare ahead of time to make sure you’re ready when the meeting starts. Be sure to download the app onto your smartphone or laptop and test out your audio and visual settings with a friend or family member before your meeting. If there are documents you’d like to share with the person or people you’ll be meeting with, be sure to email them a copy ahead of time so they have time to review it beforehand.

Personal communication, on the other hand, is less formal than professional teleconferencing situations. Chats of a casual nature can be done anywhere around the house and you can even prop up your phone while attending to your kids or cooking a meal for your family. In this case, consider the sensibilities of the person or people you’re communicating with. If you’re involved in an activity that might make others uncomfortable to watch, it’s best to wait until you’re finished to jump on that group video chat.

Personal connections may be less formal but they’re the social fabric that holds us all together. During a time where emotional support is more valuable than ever, it pays to learn the best ways to connect with your loved ones. Start with VP Legacies’ course, Personal Connections 101, to get started today.

Understanding Digital Etiquette 

 Man at desk with laptop and brochure

Some may have heard the term “netiquette” being used in online circles. Netiquette defined simply refers to the code of courtesy and respect followed when communicating with others on the Internet. Online etiquette is important to keep in mind for all modes of online communication, whether it’s texting, emailing, or video chatting. Here are some netiquette basics for you to consider:

  • Do not send emails and text messages in ALL CAPS. This is one of the cardinal rules of netiquette. If you’re attempting to accentuate a word, statement, or thought, try putting the statement in bold type or using the highlight function to draw attention to your words.
  • Do not bully, stalk, or harass others. This sounds like a no-brainer but anger happens to the best of us. When someone disagrees with you about a particular topic, allow them their opinions, and avoid blowing up their inbox with your own opinions on the matter.
  • Start speaking at a normal volume when talking over the phone or video chat. No need to yell unless you’ve checked all volume settings first!
  • Respect privacy. Do not share personal photos or media of loved ones unless they have given you permission first.
  • Avoid sending spam to others, keeping your messages succinct and meaningful, rather than a succession of forwarded content created by others. Keep in mind your loved ones want to hear from you, not a stranger.
  • Be yourself even if you’re not used to communicating digitally. Don’t say to anyone anything you wouldn’t say in person.
  • Schedule an opportune time and date when setting up a video chat with loved ones. Give them some time to prepare or download the correct app first, whether it’s through Skype, Zoom, Facetime, Snapchat, Bluejeans, Instagram or other medium.

Related: How To Maintain Real Connections With Your Professional Network

Choosing A Digital Tool That Works For You

We are lucky to have incredible 4G connectivity to help us communicate in the digital age. Many feel fulfilled from a simple phone call or text message exchange. Others rely on video chats enabled by FaceTime, Zoom, or other apps. At this time, many feel comforted seeing the face of their loved ones while unable to meet in person. With 5G well on its way, people will be able to connect  at a greater scale. 

A video chat during the current global pandemic can be a vital source of solace and healing right now. If you’re missing your friends and family but unsure of how to touch base with them, check out VP Legacies’ free course, How To Personally Connect Amidst A Pandemic. You can tune into the course daily on both Facebook and Instagram and connect immediately with like-minded individuals and a caring, helpful instructor who will guide you toward more resonant personal connections.

Related: “The Art of Personal Connection” – CEO Presentation at the 2017 SIM Colorado Women Summer Conference Presentation

Classroom Etiquette

 Laptop and textbook

As schools and college campuses scurry to move their spring semester classes online amid the COVID-19 outbreak, classroom netiquette has become an important topic for students and teachers alike. Even those participating in professional training and eLearning courses are called to practice effective communication and respectful behavior in the virtual classroom.

Here are some classroom netiquette tips to consider:

  • Participation: raise your hand to ask questions just as you would in the classroom. Some virtual classroom apps also have a hand raising button you can press to alert the instructor that you have a question.
  • No chat bombing: there is usually a chat window in most online classroom apps. Be respectful of that space and refrain from filling the chat with topics that are off subject or distracting to the instructor and students.
  • Share feedback with your instructor if something about the class isn’t working for you. Constructive feedback is necessary to improve the process and streamline your learning curve.

Understanding Formal vs. Informal Tones

Tone is important when you can’t speak in person. Many have experienced the confusion that abounds when a sarcastic text isn’t well received. Chances of miscommunication are high when you’re relying on communication through the phone or computer.

It’s advisable to avoid sarcastic comments whether communicating personally or professionally (unless your friends all vote for you to keep it up, in which case, carry on). If you’re sending emails, texts, or participating in an online meeting in a professional context, write and speak as you would in the workplace, with a tone of respect and courtesy. Make sure your emails are easy to read and include information relevant to the subject at hand. Adopt a formal or semi-formal tone and address colleagues and coworkers as you normally would in the office.

For personal communications, you can adopt a more informal tone. Model your texts and emails after how you would normally speak to friends and family. Maintaining a positive tone is helpful during this time where many are impacted by social distancing measures. A few cheerful emoticons can keep the mood bright and friendly.

Related: 12 Corporate Communication Challenges

Responding Meaningfully

Man on phone near body of water

Work your empathy muscle and respond in a way that shows you care. If you receive an email from a friend who is going through a hard time, now is not the time to fill your reply with a cloud of festive happy face emojis. Devoting some time to understanding what your loved one is going through can help you respond in a caring and respectful manner.

Personal connections are beautiful but they aren’t always easy. Learn some basics from VP Legacies’ course Personal Connections 101.

Becoming Comfortable with Your Own Company

Being a good friend also means taking care of yourself. Relying on others to make you happy can put unnecessary pressure on them and add strain to a close relationship. Though it’s hard to stay in isolation day after day in these uncertain times, learning how to build a relationship with yourself is a valuable exercise.

This is easier said than done, of course. Those struggling with solitude may find it helpful to seek online professional help. For anyone interested in learning how to build a practice of self care, VP Legacies’ course How To Build A Relationship With Yourself is a great start.

Being Open To Receive Feedback and Guidance

Black and brown headset near laptop computer

As in any relationship, professional or personal, there is a call for giving and receiving feedback and being open to guidance when necessary. If you’re new to the world of digital communication, ask for feedback from friends and family as to how to improve communications between you. You can ask the same of work colleagues in a professional tone, reaching out and asking for constructive comments as to how to make online meetings and conferences more productive.

Being open to guidance can mean researching different options and tools of communication. If texting is too casual for your tastes, try emailing instead. If you’re having connection problems with FaceTime, see what Google Duo has to offer. Receiving guidance can even come in the form of helpful instruction, such as VP Legacies’ free class How To Personally Connect In The Midst of a Global Pandemic. There are a wealth of apps and resources out there that can support your connection needs.

Conclusion

More than anything, we hope this post empowers you to step through uncertainty and connect in a meaningful way, whether in a professional or personal context. And if you’re still feeling disconnected, maybe it’s a simple matter of brushing up on your connection skills. Don’t hesitate to take a VP Legacies course, such as Personal Connection 101, to learn how to maintain and improve your most valuable relationships. As we are all learning during this pandemic, it’s relationships and connection that matter most of all.

Employees shake hands at a table in an office

Fun Conversation Starters in the Corporate Environment

Fun Conversation Starters in the Corporate Environment 1600 1066 VP Legacies

Have you just started a new job, or gotten a position in a new department? Maybe you’re just trying to liven things up at meetings or get friendlier with people at work?

Humans are social creatures by nature, and we need to communicate. Being friendly with coworkers helps make the days go by faster and helps to foster a healthier and happier work environment.

That said, not all conversation topics are appropriate for the workspace, and you don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable on your quest for workplace friendship. People issues are a cause of workplace stress, and it’s best to not contribute.

If you’re looking for fun conversation starters in the corporate environment, look no further. Here are some workplace and networking friendly conversation starters to liven up days in the office and help you build Personal Connection® in no time.

The Personal Connection Crisis in 2020

People are feeling more disconnected than ever in 2020. Between social media taking over the majority of our social interactions and much of our time being split between work and family, some people feel isolated like never before. This feeling has been made even more apparent thanks to the social distancing people are implementing thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak. Now, people are not just emotionally distant, but physically distant, making the feeling even more real. People are starting to feel like posting coronavirus memes are not enough to feel connected to their friends and family anymore. 

Many millennials report being lonely in 2020 when Personal Connection® should be easier to find than ever.

Fostering healthy communication with your coworkers can help to fix this problem in at least a small way.

Related: What Is the Personal Connection Crisis?

Why Great Conversations are Key

It’s easy to feel awkward with coworkers, especially if you’re new in the workplace. Many people go into the job knowing that they’re there to serve a purpose and leave. It makes forging connections seem less important.

Beginning great conversations with fun conversation starters helps to fix these bonds that we’re so prone to resist based on our workplace situation. Small talk is okay to start off with, but actual conversations that bloom around personal interests and genuine questions make people feel heard and important.

A good conversation can be exciting and can make the workplace a much happier environment. Happier workers tend to make more productive workers. 

What to Talk About

When you’re used to either talking with friends or leading with small talk, it can be tough to actually come up with new topics for conversations. Here are some ideas to help get you started.

Company Successes

Two employees sit on a sofa bond over company successes Especially when talking to higher-ups in the company, it can be great to talk about things that the company has done well. This could also put you in a good position in the eyes of your bosses.

If you notice a coworker on your same team doing something great for the company, it’s definitely good to compliment that as well. Everyone loves compliments, and they make people feel good. They also help you build teamwork and make your work even more enjoyable.

  • That was a great presentation today!
  • I heard how you handled that customer call! That seemed stressful, but good work!

Transform Shop Talk into Learning Discussions

If something that someone else is doing is really fascinating to you, even if it isn’t your department, asking about it at an appropriate time is a great conversation starter! Are you interested in learning a new skill, or sharing it with others? This might be the time to share that information.

  • Have you ever tried (video/photo/document editing program)? I think it would be great for the office!
  • You seem really quick at (office skill), how did you learn that?
  • Your position looks really fun! Can you tell me about it?

People like to learn and share information. This could be a good way to get people to open up to you.

Related: Top Tips for Having a Tough Conversation with Your Boss

Get to Know Your Colleagues

Things like pop culture and entertainment tend to be safe and popular, as well as any holiday or weekend plans. This is a great time to find common interests with coworkers to build Personal Connection®.

  • Have you streamed any good shows or movies lately?
  • Did you go anywhere fun over the four-day weekend last week?
  • Have you heard any cool local bands?
  • Do you have any fun hobbies? I like to _____.

While some people get very excitable about their entertainment or food choices, these are all safe (and still fun) bets for workplace conversation without getting too personal with people.

Aim to Inspire

Uplifting coworkers through conversation will make them more likely to want to talk to you. Being an inspirational figure in the workplace will make you indispensable. Encouraging people with a positive attitude and enthusiastic mindset is a great way to foster a healthy and engaging work conversation.

When To Talk About It

Three employees hold lattes to talk during a coffee breakWhile work time is for work, there are a few options for when you can talk to your coworkers freely. You can have brief conversations with coworkers in and around the office. If you start to feel a Personal Connection® with someone, you can take it outside of the office, too. The best time might be during a break, after work, or even over the weekend.

  • Coffee Breaks: A great time for one-on-one conversations
  • Lunch Breaks: A time for small group chats
  • After-work Dinner: A time to engage with everyone more in-depth

Conversational Strategies

So maybe you know what to talk about, but how do you do it? Here are a few great strategies to help get conversations running smoothly.

Lead With an Open-Ended Question

If your question can be answered with a “yes” or “no”, it’s probably not going to go very far unless your target is naturally quite chatty.

Instead, focus on open-ended questions for a fun conversation starter. Try not to make it too in-depth, especially if you’re just meeting someone. Consider the following for kickoff points:

  • What project have you been working on?
  • What’s your favorite part of the job?
  • How did you get into this field?

These questions are all work-oriented, but they’re open enough that you can really get someone talking. You might also learn a bit about your position, especially if you’re new!

Use Nonverbal Cues

Two women in an office smile at each other as an example of nonverbal cuesSometimes people speak more with their eyes or bodies than their words. Pay attention to subtle movements. Are they looking away from you while talking or closing themselves off? Maybe this conversation is best left for a different time. Are they appearing relaxed? Continue to engage!

Use Their Name

People feel endeared to you when you remember their names. It can be difficult but made easier through repetition. After learning, repeat it a few times just to be sure:

  • Hey (name), great work on that report!
  • (Name), can I ask you about this document?

This will help your memory and help others feel more comfortable.

Do You Know Any More Fun Conversation Starters?

Starting a conversation in the workplace can be awkward. 

These questions can open up into broader conversations about work or hobbies, and even show you common interests between yourself and your coworkers. With a positive mindset, great listening skills, and specificity, you’ll be able to start meaningful conversations that feel engaged. Finding the right time to talk is also key.

For more tips on connection, take our Personal Connection® 101 Course! We have fun conversation starters and tips for any situation. We talk about ways to build connection in even more depth during our Office Hours, too.

Related: What to Include In an Internal Communication Plan

 

Employees sit at a table chatting to demonstrate non-transactional relationships

How To Avoid Transactional Relationships at Work

How To Avoid Transactional Relationships at Work 1600 1066 VP Legacies

Collaboration is the cornerstone of human progress. It’s no secret that Personal Connection® allows us to do more together than we ever could alone. And while work has changed over thousands of years of human history, the necessity of cooperation never has.

But some of our relationships are stronger than others. In the workplace, you must navigate a fine line between being a leader and being a friend. If you walk on the authoritative side of things, you could foster transactional relationships that negatively affect every facet of the modern workplace.

But what are transactional relationships, and how can you avoid them? At VP Legacies, our Personal Connection® experts are committed to helping your workplace encourage friendliness and engagement. Let’s dive deep into this question that has haunted countless executives and employees alike.

What Is a Transactional Relationship, Anyway?

The name is a bit of a giveaway. Transactional relationships are all about transactions, mainly business ones. It makes sense for a boss or a coworker to keep their eyes on the prize and employees focused on the task at hand.

But if that’s all you ever discuss, you may be guilty of maintaining hollow transactional relationships. This can also extend beyond employees. In the service industry, you might also push customers towards a sale with little personal conversation, if any.

But isn’t that what being at work is all about? Not exactly.

Why Transactional Relationships Hurt You in the Long Run

A workplace built on trust and mutual respect can pay off in more ways than one. Connected employees are happy employees. They’ll be more likely to stay at your company for longer, and they’ll enthusiastically help out their friends to generate ideas or complete challenging tasks.

Personal Connection® encourages employees to take their work more seriously. Compare this to detached employees who may view the job as little more than a paycheck.

According to one survey, three-fourths of employees view their bosses in a negative light. And when most supervisors do little more than bark orders, it’s no wonder why. 

Beyond lost productivity and motivation, transactional relationships don’t seek out personal preferences. And yet it’s these preferences and desires that allow bosses to create a tailored workplace. When employees don’t feel they are using their strengths or gaining relevant experience, they’re much more likely to quit their jobs.

Real relationships give bosses the opportunity to discover what makes these individuals click. By creating a workplace environment where employees can engage with managers, colleagues, and people in different departments, you can retain key employees.

Related: Why Empathy in the Workplace Matters

Strategies for Avoiding Transactional Relationships

You can learn how to avoid transactional relationships even if you’ve been creating them for decades. It doesn’t take much to make the switch to healthier interpersonal connections. While your employees may be skeptical at first, they’ll come around in time.

Cultivate authentic workplace relationships with these simple tips. 

1. Consider Your Intentions

Before you reach out to anyone in the workplace, allow yourself a pensive moment. Why are you reaching out? What is your intent?

If you find you’re trying to get something from a worker, that is a transactional relationship. Conversely, relational intent seeks to add value to both parties. 

Get in the right frame of mind and be open to a genuine Personal Connection®. It may seem superficial, but people can tell when you’re being authentic… or just trying to meet a quota. 

2. Be Positive

Two employees chat and laugh with each other at a shared table

Positive emotions are the backbone of all healthy relationships, whether in the workplace or elsewhere. Avoid conversations that dwell on a shared hatred about something.

Instead, reach out with optimism and discuss happy topics. For example, do you know what your employees do for fun after work? Not only can you learn about your fellow workers, but you can share a few smiles, too.

Who knows? You may have more in common than you first thought. 

3. Don’t Label People

Negative thoughts come easier than positive ones. We’re wired that way. And for that reason, you may subconsciously assign negative qualifiers to others.

These labels prevent the formation of candid relationships. After all, how can you express genuine interest in a conversation when you may feel the listener is a tad slow or technologically illiterate?

Put these labels to bed. A single negative trait does not a person make. 

4. Be Open-Minded and Vulnerable

You can’t share personal details with everyone. It’s risky, dangerous, and sometimes painful in a very physical sense.

Yet given the right situation, you can share a concern you have or a challenge you had to overcome to signal to the listener that you feel comfortable divulging this information to them. This practice cultivates earnest two-way relationships and real Personal Connection®.

But you have to listen, too. When an employee discusses something deeply personal, always stay open-minded and avoid judgment. 

Related: What is Emotionally Intelligent Leadership?

5. Don’t Just Communicate When You Need Something

You’ll frequently need to touch base with other employees and make sure critical work gets done. But that should never be the only reason you communicate in the workplace.

When you find time in your schedule, take a walk around the office. Small talk isn’t the most exciting conversation material, but making an effort to gab about nonwork-related topics can go a long way in showing you care.

6. Take Your Time

Two employees sit next to the window and have a long conversation.

In the age of social media, everyone struggles with real, tangible connections. And you can’t flip a switch and pretend you want an authentic relationship. People are quick to pick up on deception.

To avoid transactional relationships, it’s going to take some time. After all, you’re rewiring the way your brain works.

Keep at it. With enough patience, you’ll get the hang of things for the better.

Creating a Positive Workplace

Employees smile to demonstrate a positive workplace

You have the power to influence company culture and employee morale. It’s time to kick transactional relationships to the curb. In addition to feeling more engaged with the people around you, you help create a workplace environment that makes everyone happy.

Looking for more ways to deeply connect with those inside and outside the workplace? Try our Personal Connection® course to learn more about building lasting relationships. You’ll learn ways to turn small talk into longer conversations, and those longer conversations into real connections. With our insight, you’ll be able to say goodbye to transactional relationships.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Building a Corporate Communication Strategy

 

Person in blazer typing on computer with icons demonstrating personal connection online.

Implications of Technology for Personal Connection

Implications of Technology for Personal Connection 1600 879 VP Legacies

Modern technology is advancing by leaps and bounds.

While this rapid development benefits us in many ways, it also comes with a fair share of negatives. Namely, humans are social animals. Our mass cultural embrace of tech is a momentous and multifaceted phenomenon.

It impacts the way we relate to friends, family, and society at large.  

New modes of interaction and channels of communication now rival good old face-to-face conversations. Various hands-on aspects of life are governed with a few taps on the screen.

This is a brave new landscape teeming with ambivalent implications of technology. At VP Legacies, our eLearning courses are unique in their emphasis on Personal Connection®. With our expertise on true engagement, we’ll give you some insight about the effects of technology on Personal Connection®.

Are We Slowly Losing Personal Connection?  

Sometimes, Yes…

The technology significantly augments human capabilities.

It also causes a massive shift in how people behave and perceive each other.

They walk the busy streets like zombies, with their eyes glued to the screen. Tourists snap photos of sites instead of truly appreciating the spectacle. Workers send messages to their colleagues, who are in the same office building.  

Notifications remind us of important duties, but also disrupt our ability to be “in the moment.” We often feel more isolated and detached, despite being more digitally interconnected. Smartphones are immensely powerful tools and still remain underutilized or misused.

These findings echo a real paradox at the epicenter of the tech revolution.

But other times, no. 

As you’ll see, technology has the potential to enhance Personal Connection®, especially when it’s our only way to interact with others. As more communities practice social distancing and begin to work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we must find ways to interact with our coworkers from home and keep personal connections strong even if we can physically see our friends. 

Find out how to personally connect in the midst of a global pandemic in Personal Connection’s latest course

Assessing the Good Implications of Technology

Keeping in touch despite geographical distance

A woman types on her phone to keep in touch with an old friend

Technology transcends vast geographical distances and demolishes other physical barriers.

Nowadays, we can choose between phone calls, chat sessions, video conferences, and email exchanges. This digital interaction is the next best thing to being in the actual presence of someone.

Related: Personal Connection in the Age of Social Media

Feeling like part of a group

Group membership and one-on-one communication give us a sense of meaning and purpose. We engage with a more diverse set of people than previously possible, keeping in touch with organization members online when we can’t see them in person and engaging with remote or distant employees via the internet.

And connections only breed more connections. The whole matrix of social ties spans the globe and this comes with even more benefits, like social support, professional development opportunities, and new friends.

There’s no better time to lean on technology to help us make and maintain personal connections in and out of work. Many people around the world have found themselves working remotely due to the spread of the coronavirus, with cases doubling every eight days throughout the world. Without offices and boardrooms, it can begin to feel like you’re disconnected from your coworkers — and even the work itself. A lot of us are used to weekly – or even daily – meetings, where teams gather together to discuss projects face-to-face. 

To stay motivated at work, you need to strengthen your team’s personal connections. Check out our newest course, How to Personally Connect in the Midst of a Global Pandemic, to find out the key to keeping your team strong and your work efficient. 

The ability to gather is also important outside of work, with friends often getting together for board game nights or to grab drinks at the bar. Unfortunately, most states in America have declared that bars, movie theaters and restaurants are closed to help us practice social distancing. The president also advised that people not hold gatherings above 10, limiting a lot of activities and celebrations. While we know it’s for the best, it can still make us feel isolated amidst all of these canceled plans. 

Building personal connections can help us not feel alone. Even if we’re physically alone in our homes — aside from our pets and toilet paper — we can still feel like part of a group when we build these connections with friends and family, making our bonds with them even stronger even if we’re not physically close for the time being. One can only binge Netflix for so long before they crave these kinds of connections. 

Innovative ways to learn

Technology breathes new life into the education sector.

We’re witnessing the rise of new ways of learning. Most notably, eLearning and microlearning are two trends shaping the present and future of education. They’ve opened up new possibilities and lowered the barriers to entry.

With apps and laptops, students can tune in and access resources from anywhere they want. And this isn’t limited to young students, but to older learners as well. Businesses have latched on to eLearning and microlearning as ways to provide training and ongoing learning opportunities to their employees. This gives them flexibility and shows employees that their employers are excited to invest in their professional futures.

Related: 7 Types of eLearning Methods for Corporate Training

These technological advances have made it possible for classes to be held online. That is what many teachers are now implementing as schools continue to be locked down for the weeks to come. While completing assignments from home is one thing, it’s that connection with your teachers and fellow students that help recreate a classroom successfully in the digital space. Maintaining those personal connections to your classrooms is much more motivating than completing tasks alone in your room. 

Multiple ways of engagement

Technology is far from a mere distraction or a necessary evil. Its interactivity spurs engagement, speeds up the learning process, and makes it more fun and collaborative too.

It’s a clear win-win for both students and teachers.

The Bad News

Pressure to be liked

In the virtual prestige economy, people are under tremendous pressure to be liked.

Social media has brought forth an unprecedented level of exposure to both friends and strangers alike. It enabled social comparison and validation to reach a fever pitch.  

Fear of missing out, or FOMO, and yearning for recognition are keeping us from jumping off the bandwagon. We seek to amass likes and friends rather than nurture meaningful relationships. We let algorithms choose who we should befriend and date.

Taking the easy way out

It’s always possible to take the easy way out and utilize technology as a means of escapism. Why not simply stay at home, surrounded by all the gadgets?

Indeed, the grim reality is far less inviting than the digital mirage we’re immersed in. And that’s where trouble is—substituting real activities for cyber counterparts.  

Or to put it differently, we run into dangers when we confuse emojis for genuine emotions.

Somewhere in Limbo

Some implications of technology fall somewhere in between the good and the bad.

Faster communication

Lightning-fast, instantaneous communication facilitates connections. At the same time, people put in less effort and thought into relationships. Instead of enhancing these relationships, technology can end up hindering our ability to form real Personal Connection®.

On a brighter note, we’re staying in touch and letting others know about what’s happening in our lives. Not only that, but you can find heaps of groups of like-minded people with similar interests.

Yet we lack positive social support true friends can give. This is because our real-life networks shrink, meaning we have fewer close confidants and friends.

Sadly, we can also experience rejection, cyberbullying, and trolling online. This negativity inevitably undermines our self-esteem and mental well-being.  

Related: What is the personal connection crisis?

More information

Three women sit at a table with their laptops and conduct research

With technology, eLearners, microlearners, and anyone just browsing the web has a wealth of information immediately at their fingertips. In a way, this means knowledge is more accessible. But at the same time, this makes it incredibly difficult to sort through information that at first glance seems equally useful. It takes a little bit of internet savvy to weed through credible sources and unreliable fluff.

Everything is at our fingertips, including valuable resources, expert insights, and useful life hacks. Big data fuels the global economy and the Internet of Things generates ever new streams of it. Cutting-edge algorithms already know us better than we know ourselves. They recommend products and services we’re in need of.

Alas, this comes at a steeper price—compromised data security, privacy, and integrity. Many users don’t even know who owns and uses their private information. Each connected device is prone to hacker attacks and other risks.

This easy access to information also comes with the risk of being ill-informed. People may have noticed that happening quite a bit as their friends and family members share articles about the COVID-19 virus on Facebook and forward links to emails. It’s hard to know which data is accurate and which source is the most reliable. Which is just meant to get clicks and cause panic? Which is meant to inform and educate? 

There are some positive developments in regulation, such as GDPR. But to foster a safer environment for everyone, more business organizations need to spearhead consumer data safety.

Reaching the Verdict

The takeaway to draw from all this is clear.

We must learn to look at but also past the screen galore. The real person is on the other side of the desk or maybe thousands of miles away.

There’s no need to surrender control and put all life functions on auto-pilot. Yes, it makes sense to automate some tedious and repetitive processes. Business automation is a prime example of it.

However, we ought to remember that data doesn’t faithfully represent the world around us. Digital communication lacks intimacy and immediacy of a real Personal Connection®.

Only through our five senses, autonomous decisions, and direct experience can we truly get to know ourselves and others. When technology empowers us in this quest, it’s a more than a welcome companion.

Killing Our Connections Softly

Two women type on their laptops and smile as an example of personal connection with technology. 

The implications of technology come in all shapes and forms: the good, the bad, and the in-between.

We’re able to instantly connect with anyone and tap into a wealth of information at a moment’s notice. The diversity and number of connections have never been greater.

But technology also alters the structure of our social relationships.

We succumb to the temptation to compare ourselves to idealized images of others. We’re guilty of forgoing companionship of people in favor of gadgets.

This goes to show technology is a tool we have to wield carefully. We can use it as a scaffold to reach places we couldn’t before, especially as a tool to supplement real Personal Connection®. But without in-person effort and willingness to do emotional labor, these virtual connections are fleeting.

In case you need some communication tips from experts, take a look at our Personal Connection® 101 course. In it, you’ll learn how to connect with friends and people you don’t know in real life, turning brief encounters into something more. And, you’ll learn more about the role technology plays and how you can use it to your advantage. You’ll also gain access to our Office Hours, where we’ll give even more insight every week.

 

  • 1
  • 2
coworkers looking at a laptop

Free Personal Connection 101 Course

Learn to speak with confidence, have deeper conversations, and easily meet new people (even in a pandemic).

We help thousands of people worldwide build meaningful relationships everyday.