Nurturing Lasting Relationships in a Virtual World

by | July 1, 2014

Here at Zirtual we’re all about relationships. This is no secret. Naturally being personable and having a Masters in Clinical Psychology, the importance of developing strong relationships has been engraved in my mind, body, and soul. I was thrilled to start working as a Zirtual Assistant (ZA) for a company that highly values relationships, especially after working in a virtual position where I literally had no interaction (unless you count the relationship with my computer). A job without the opportunity to develop a relationship was definitely not for me. There is something beautiful about relationships that make me feel more alive and more excited to get up and work. Being a mom I find that no matter how much my children have challenged me the day before, I am always excited to see them first thing in the morning. This is because of the strong bond I have with them as well as my love for my job as mother. I feel the same about my clients and the work I do here at Zirtual.

As a ZA, I have relationships with many different people: my clients, my account manager, and my co-workers alike. Every relationship is unique and each requires different needs. It is my job to ensure that I’m nurturing these virtual relationships and keeping everyone’s needs met—especially those of my clients. There is no doubt that relationships are easier to build in person, but it’s amazing how relationships can grow without having to actually meet someone face-to-face. The relationships I have developed with my clients not only make it exciting for me to check my email and hear about what’s going on in their lives, but it’s also proven to be very gratifying helping them improve their lives—whether that’s assisting with something big like a honeymoon or something smaller like a dinner reservation.

The most important aspect to any relationships is rapport. Rapport is defined as a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups care and understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well. In textbooks rapport tends to involve mirroring body language and tone of voice. Obviously in a virtual world most of the communication is done via email so it is really important to focus on building and maintaining rapport with written communication. You may ask, how can this be done? Mirroring can still occur in written format. It is important to know your audience (who you are writing to) and to genuinely care about their lives and needs. When one sees genuine empathy it builds strong rapport. Finding shared interests, situations, likes, and dislikes also helps.

The topic of virtual relationships is endless, so please look for future blog posts on how us ZAs here at Zirtual nurture our virtual workplace. If there’s anything specific you would like to learn more about in regards to virtual relationships, please ask in the comments below! Until next time…