How to Stay Connected in the Era of Social Distancing
Tips from PR Maven Nancy Marshall
As chief of one of Maine’s largest public relations agencies, Nancy Marshall is an expert on the art of connection. In this era of social distancing and self-isolating, nurturing relationships has never been more important, whether you’re running a business, job hunting, or just trying to stay in touch with family and friends. “So much feels out of our hands,” says Marshall, founder of Marshall Communications. “Making a genuine effort to reach out can make a positive impact on others, boost your own outlook, and make you feel a little less powerless.”
Here are Marshall’s tips for connecting during this crisis.
Make a list. On a sheet of paper, write down the different groups of people in your network. This might include family, college friends, and professional connections. Contact a few people on your list each day. The process of making the list will help you feel a little less isolated.
Keep it real. Reach out the old-fashioned way, say, with a phone call or a handwritten letter. The tangible contact will come as a welcome diversion from the onslaught of notification pings and email discussion strings. “It shows you care,” Marshall says.
Let down your guard. Everyone’s life has been upended by this pandemic. Be honest about how you’ve been affected, even when you’re communicating with coworkers and clients. It will help forge connections that will endure long after the crisis is over. “It’s okay to say you’re struggling, and that you’re not superhuman,” Marshall says. “It makes others feel like they can be more human too.”
Plan some face time. It’s impossible to make eye contact and convey tone of voice over the electronic transom, but those expressions contribute greatly to how well we communicate with each other. Since in-person meetings are out of the question right now, pencil in a date to get together once the crisis is over. “It will give you hope,” Marshall says. “And we all need glimmers of hope right now to carry us through.”