We’ve all been hearing and experiencing a lot of talk about the changing workforce and the evolving post-COVID world. The dynamics of initiating and nurturing relationships can no longer solely rely on in-person chemistry and bonding. Consequently, we now have an opportunity to enhance our remote relationship-building skills, which, for most of us, could use some improvement.

Why does this matter so much right now? Here are several key areas where building relationships is crucial in a remote or hybrid professional environment:

  • Interviewing: Many companies are hiring people without ever meeting them in person, making it increasingly challenging for candidates to stand out and differentiate themselves.
  • Onboarding new roles: This can present challenges when you need to ask multiple questions while adjusting to a new job.
  • Selling: Depending on the industry, building trust and relationships without in-person interaction can be quite challenging.
  • Building rapport: The absence of “water cooler” conversations has made establishing connections more difficult these days.
  • Handling tough conversations with co-workers, bosses, clients, etc.

The list goes on!

In my various roles over the years, I’ve been studying this aspect, and I genuinely believe that the single most potent skill to help us thrive in remote relationships is authentic storytelling.

Why? Because stories create an emotional connection that fosters empathy and often forms a deeper bond between two people.

Stories are powerful tools for building relationships at work for several reasons:

Relatability:

Stories are relatable because they often draw on common human experiences. When you tell a story, your audience is more likely to find elements they can relate to, creating a sense of shared understanding and common ground.

Contextual Understanding:

Stories provide context and nuance that facts and data alone cannot. They help people understand the “why” behind a decision, action, or idea, which is crucial for building trust and cooperation.

Memorability:

Stories are more memorable than facts or statistics. People are more likely to remember a compelling story, ensuring that the message or lesson you’re trying to convey sticks.

Engagement:

Storytelling is inherently engaging. When you share a story, you capture people’s attention and keep them involved in the conversation. This engagement can lead to more meaningful interactions and discussions.

Influence and Persuasion

Stories have the power to persuade and influence. If you want to convince others of a particular point of view or motivate them to take action, telling a persuasive story can be highly effective.

Building Trust:

When you share personal stories, you’re often seen as more authentic and trustworthy. People tend to trust individuals who are willing to be vulnerable and open up about their own experiences.

Cultural Transmission:

Stories are a powerful way to transmit organizational culture and values. Sharing stories about the company’s history, successes, and challenges can help new employees understand and align with the organization’s values and mission.

Conflict Resolution:

Stories can be used to resolve conflicts and misunderstandings. By sharing your perspective through a narrative, you can help others see the situation from your point of view and work toward resolution more effectively.

Team Building:

Encouraging team members to share their stories can promote team cohesion. When team members understand each other’s backgrounds, experiences, and motivations, it can lead to a stronger sense of unity and collaboration.


So, as you prepare for your next interview or any interaction, especially with new contacts, take the time to prepare a few personal stories that highlight your character and how others can expect you to show up in various situations. Consider how your story makes you uniquely different and prepared for whatever role you’re entering into in the relationship.

I can’t wait to hear your stories!

Brittany