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Virtually Maintaining Relationships

We live in interesting times. Communication has been revolutionized by technology. It travels faster than ever before, increasing demand for quick responses by clients and colleagues alike. We spend much less time on the phone, listening to the subtlety of voice cues, and almost no time in-person reading each other’s facial and body language. What we send out into cyberspace, then, is crucial to how we are perceived. Maintaining relationships, especially with our peers, virtually requires throwing out the old rulebook and starting all over again.

How formal should your communication be?

You should always begin your virtual communication with someone formally and keep it that way until you have developed a strong personal relationship with the recipient. It’s also important to match the tone of any email you are replying to; in a way, it’s as if you are speaking the other person’s language.

Photo courtesy RawPixel -

Maintain your email signature

It sounds simple, but imagine how unprofessional it looks when your email signature is obviously out of date. We keep ours updated with badges that showcase our recent publications and listings.

Find the happy medium

Instead of sending out a mass or marketing email daily, try to stick to one or two per month. Stay top of mind, but avoid incessantly pursuing contact. I know I unsubscribe from lists when I receive one to two mass emails per week. It’s simply too much in an already crowded inbox!

Build relationships first

Before launching into a virtual relationship with a colleague, try to build a real-life one first. Be friendly at networking gatherings and take notes so you can greet each individual with an acknowledgment of something personal (i.e., “how is the new baby?”). I joke that people like me a lot more in person than they do virtually, so I try to make a good first impression and carry that on over time. It takes patience, but you need to build a strong foundation to create relationship in the long run.

In some ways, the ease of communication we enjoy today can complicate our social lives more than we expect. However, the ability to stay in touch virtually with our peers and colleagues is not one we can afford to reject. Make sensible choices and your virtual relationships will flourish.

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Kevin Dennis

Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the past president for Silicon Valley NACE, and national vice president for WIPA.