Many of us have entered into a totally unique business and learning environment that is bringing up some interesting etiquette issues. Today I’m sharing some gracious social distancing tips when it comes to these things – and, yes, I am covering ZOOM meetings!
DoSayGive is all about being lovely and gracious in everything we do, say and give and that includes during social distancing. Of course, the best thing we can all do right now is have a LOT of grace and understanding for one another. People lack proper childcare, parents and children are sharing devices, others may be dealing with sick family members. These times are unusual and everyone is stressed and overextended. At the same, though, we need not lose professionalism.
Many employees and students have suddenly found themselves thrust into a videoconferencing format that is ripe for embarrassing mishaps.
A few tips:
Present yourself well. You don’t have to be dressed up for Zoom meetings, but proper grooming and clothes is respectful and less distracting. As is a clean backdrop for your Zoom meetings. A blank wall or window is better than a junky kitchen counter top and reduces the risk of a spouse walking behind you in their pajamas;).
A blogger insider tip: a ring light can do wonders to make a dark room more appealing to the eye and smooth out any skin imperfections you may be self-conscious about in a close-up environment. It will make any space look more polished. Bloggers like this one here and here but you can find them cheaper on Amazon.
Mute if not speaking. And if you are the host of the meeting, mute the attendees to block out unnecessary distractions.
Minimize background noise. Close the door if you can and use a headset.
Give advance notice when setting up a Zoom meeting. People with small children at home need a bit of prep time.
Look at the person who is talking. It’s one thing to take notes, but people can tell if you are watching Netflix on your t.v. in the distance or tweeting on your phone. Also the host can be notified if you’ve switched away from the app for more than 30 seconds.
Don’t set up unnecessary ZOOM meetings or drag them out. Productive time is very limited for people right now so avoid things like ZOOM lunches for your team (awkward) and if a phone call is sufficient skip Zoom altogether.
Learn how to graciously end a call. If a call is unnecessarily dragging out learn the art of graciously wrapping things up. My go-to phrase that DoSayGive readers have used for years: “I know you’ll understand.” I know you’ll understand but my baby is screaming in her crib.
Use gracious communication to ingratiate yourself to your customers. Now is the time to go above and beyond. Instead of sending another generic “How We Are Handling COVID” email, try sending something a bit more personal. When she had to pause her photography services, brand photographer Audrie Dollins sent a handwritten card to her long-time clients telling them how much she appreciated their business.
Use gracious communication to get ahead of potential complaints. Keep customers informed about shipping delays and other changes. Friend and owner of Well Bowed, Brooksie Cullum, usually allows locals to pick up purchased products on her porch wanted to heed local guidelines of stay at home and orders and started shipping all orders. She told her customers: “I’m sure you’ll understand but we are shipping all orders right now rather than offering in-person pick-up for local customers. We are trying to limit interaction during this time but will let you know as we can resume porch pickup.”
Maintain proper boundaries. While we should expect a high level of work to continue, it’s also important to respect communication boundaries. Yes, people might be working unusual hours right now as they balance working from home and caring for children, but don’t text co-workers, customers, etc., questions at an unreasonable hour.
And this goes for any time of the year: resist the urge to respond to a text with a phone call. There’s a reason the person chose text as their form of communication. BUT if there’s ever a misunderstanding in a text message, pick up the phone. Our team uses Slack for communication which keeps it all in one channel and feels less intrusive than a text.
Check in on employees. Check in on members of your team (not on a group Zoom call.) They may have a family member who is ill. Go the extra mile to help.
With boutique and shop owners sitting on a lot of spring inventory (and potentially cutting back and canceling orders to vendors) there might be some tension in relationships. “Remember that things will get back to normal someday so you don’t want to burn bridges with your vendors and vice versa, ” said jewelry designer Neely Phelan. Be kind and understanding while still trying to do what’s best for your business and employees.
Fellow Smaller Business Owners
Give credit to where credit is due. Brands have to get creative during tough times – which is a great thing! If you see a great idea, don’t copy and claim it as your own. There is nothing gracious about that. Instead share that brand’s idea and give them credit. Chances are they will return the kind gesture someday!
Now is the time to prop others up. We are all in this together. Joy Creative Shop does a wonderful job of sharing businesses she loves with a similar aesthetic on her stories. On that note, share good content on your social channels which will help grow engagement at the same time. Don’t be afraid of someone leaving your feed but instead build rapport and trust by being a source of great content – and great products!
Introducing DSG Business Spotlight…
Speaking of propping other businesses up, we’ve been thinking of ways we can help during this difficult time. As you (hopefully!) already know, we are passionate about supporting small businesses and strongly believe in the power of small businesses in our nation’s economy. That’s why today I am so excited to introduce our new DSG Business Spotlight.
I want to use the DoSayGive platform to share and support our readers’ small businesses during this difficult time, no matter what the business or location. If your family has a landscaping company in Mississippi or owns a salon in Michigan or a boutique in Texas, we want to share about it! Y’all have been so kind to support my business so if I can shine a little light on your business during this time I want to do that!
Fill in this form to help us get to know you and then if selected, we will be in touch with next steps for putting together a short video about you and your business in our Instagram Stories!
photo: Audrie Dollins