Building new virtual relationships

Starting a new role can be daunting, but starting a new role working virtually can be even more daunting especially when it comes to building relationships with your new colleagues. Here are three ways to build great relationships with new colleagues virtually.

Send personal introduction emails to the colleagues and stakeholders you will be working with when you start a new role. Taking the time to send individually tailored emails might feel like a lot of work, but will give you a greater chance of getting a personal email back from the individual. Use their name with the greeting, a brief introduction to who you are and what you aim to bring to the team. Include lines like, “I look forward to meeting you virtually soon”, I look forward to learning more about you” or “I look forward to working with you” to set the tone for building a professional relationship.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Arrange a virtual coffee with the stakeholders and colleagues you will be working closely with. In the same way you would meet your team individually in a physical working environment. As individuals, we gravitate more to individuals we have something in common with or feel like we understand more. An informal zoom conversation helps to start making connections. Make it an informal conversation, stating the reason for the catch-up in the calendar invitation or positioning it in your introduction email. Start with brief introductions to each other, talking about your trajectories to date, your roles within the business and information about your personal interests.

Remember personal details and ask about them in follow up conversations with colleagues and stakeholders. It makes a big difference to people when people remember important things about them and follow up. Asking your colleague how their daughter Jane is after they mentioned she was unwell the week before, or asking Jeff how he’s coping not playing golf during the lockdown is a great way to show empathy, concern and build connections. Practice writing important information about people down after a meeting if you forget easily. Writing information down during a video call will be inappropriate, but soon after is a good way to remind yourself to ask about it in a follow up call, ensuring it is the appropriate setting to do so.

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