For many years, studies have shown that video conferencing tools make a difference. Compared to phone calls, video calls have been shown to take less time, catalyze more streamlined teamwork, and foster more trust. You can probably feel this, intuitively. But at the same time, it still takes longer to build trust via video than face to face.
So, while using video conferencing tools is a big step toward mutual trust, it’s not the only step. To forge lasting trust over long distances, it’s important for you to “show up” as trustworthy. To that end, here are some of the best things you can do.
Make a Point of Being Personal
Dale Carnegie said, “The royal road to a man’s heart is to talk to him about the things he treasures most.”
On a video call, it’s tempting to get straight down to business without any personal catch-up. Sometimes, that’s truly the right thing to do. But even then, stay on the lookout for opportunities—however small—to make a personal connection. Whether it’s mentioning the other person’s favorite sport or asking briefly about his or her kids, make sure the person knows you’re seeing them as a whole human, not just part of the job.
The other person can tell when you are looking at something else on your screen that’s not relevant to the meeting. Even making notes on your digital to-do list can distance you from the conversation and reduce the authenticity of the connection. Resist multitasking and stay 100% present with the other person. They’ll appreciate it.
Respect the Other Person’s Privacy
Hearing background noise or seeing other people in the frame leads people to feel exposed. As a result, they’ll keep their guard up. To avoid this, plan around your video calls and make sure there’s a quiet, private place available to you.
If you can’t get away from people who could potentially overhear, at least put on a headset so that what they’re saying is private.
Be Predictable and Reliable
The best way to build trust is to show people that you keep your promises—big or small. Avoid showing up late to a video call, just as you’d avoid showing up late for an in-person meeting. Whenever possible, avoid rescheduling meetings. If you say you’ll bring something to the meeting or send something as a follow-up, do that. By reinforcing your reliability in these small ways, you’ll come across as a person of your word.
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