• Richard Watts

Staying Connected - How to Avoid Covid 19 Meltdown & Learn to Love Staying Indoors

In these uncertain times, communication and staying connected is more important than ever. Getting messages out to your customers and teams has never been more important. But how do you do that when you normally rely on a whole bunch of people to strategise, plan and work out what you need to say?

How do you avoid getting on everyone’s nerves with your constant Facebook lives and Zoom meeting requests and what pitfalls should you look out for? Fear not my good friends, for I am here to help you and suggest ways you can reach out to your staff and customers, showing them that you’re a funny, well rounded and gregarious human that actually gives a crap and that’s half the battle.


WE ARE LIVING IN A CORONA VIRUS WORLD & I AM A CORONA VIRUS GIRL

To help you on the way I’ve compiled my top 10 tips on staying better connected during this unprecedented time. As Maverick once said to Goose, “We’ve got the tools, we’ve got the talent” – shortly before he crashed his F15 into the sea granted but you get my point.


1) BE ACTIVE

Now I don’t mean by doing chair yoga or toilet Pilates, what I mean is don’t just send out one video or one message and think that’s it you’ve cracked it. You haven't and we could be here for a while, so make sure you reach out and follow up with people and update customers regularly, especially if you want them to support you through this and beyond. Even if it’s a post about a delay in sending something out or a change of service, the worst thing you can do is hide away and hope it all blows over.


2) BE RELEVANT

Everyone in the country now knows 427 different ways to wash their hands and what song to sing whilst doing it. So, make your communications relevant, however you choose to make them. Yes, people are isolated and yes working from home is new for a lot of us, but many are still expected to be highly productive from home whilst staying safe and looking after their families. Think about why you are posting that article, sending that email and making that call, try not to over saturate employees with endless meetings that you wouldn’t normally have in the office on a normal day. We get it, you’re working hard at home and everyone can see.


NOTHINGS GONNA STOP US NOW

3) BE AN EXPERT

Focus on what you do best and get others to do the same. We are all looking for answers at the moment but try and avoid over-opinionated and unsubstantiated social media rants, it’s really not a good look. Get your team involved with the decisions that will affect you and your business and if you haven’t got a team, then reach out to your network and run things by people that you trust. And if we build this world together, standing strong forever, nothings gonna stop us now, or so the song goes.


4) BE INCLUSIVE

Although we are all in the same boat in a manner of speaking, everyone’s boat has a different size hole in it (not innit, just in it?!). Don’t assume everyone wants to hear what you have to say or that everyone has the same issues. It’s hard to communicate to the masses, stay focused on your industry, on your team and where you feel most comfortable. Don’t suddenly become an expert on what to do in a Australian bush fire if you make chocolate brownies for a living. We just want to know how we can get the brownies for god sake, get me the brownies!!


5) BE CREATIVE

Now this bit can be difficult for some and it’s why I have a fairly decent business, but just because you don’t have an expensive camera, or an extensive knowledge of Adobe Creative Cloud doesn’t mean you’re a total idiot. There’s never been a better or cheaper time to communicate to an audience. There are literally hundreds of options, take this time to brush up on your communication skills and social media strategy. But don’t go too crazy and start thinking you’re the next Logan Paul or KSI, you're 47 you are not going to make a living playing Call of Duty. Equally so, don’t be afraid to try things and fail once in a while. If you’re sending out videos don’t sit in a dark room against a cream wall. If we’re watching, we want to see and hear you (unless you’re still in your pants then I suggest Podcasting).


YOU SAY IT BEST WHEN YOU SAY NOTHING AT ALL

6) BE INFORMATIVE

Don’t do it just because the other “insert business name here’ is doing it. Don’t post for the sake of it, make sure what you are saying is useful and represents who you are and what you stand for. If you genuinely have nothing to say, then be like Ronan and remember it’s OK if you say it best when you say nothing at all.


7) BE SUCCINCT

Even in a normal month nobody wants to watch a seven-minute video of you shot on a 20K camera, droning on, in your poshest Armani suit. Let alone now, looking a little bit like Ian Beale shot on your iPhone, sounding like you’re in a dustbin. Make sure there’s a point to the noises you make, otherwise you may end up sounding like a flock of seagulls and not the hip 80’s synth band either. If you have multiple things to say then stagger your messaging, send a video and follow up with a post and maybe even a call. Don’t fact blast your customers or patronise the people that work with you, you don’t need to say it all at once you know and you can send another video tomorrow.


8) BE MINDFUL

Remember not everyone is in the same positive or negative situation. Don’t over celebrate your wins or wallow in your losses. Everyone has their own shit to deal with and just because you think your shit is shittier than the other guys shit it probably isn’t if your colleague fell in a big pile of shit. Either way, be mindful, especially with social media – one negative review, retweet or comment can have a really detrimental effect on you and your business, whether you meant it or not.


9) BE KIND

There aren’t many individuals in the country that aren’t finding it tough at the moment. From a personal point of view, my house was flooded in February, my wife’s car was washed down the river and Liverpool FC may actually fail to win the Premier League through no fault of their own or a Steven Gerrard slippy tumble. Whatever stuff you are going through kindness costs nothing. Sharing a fellow small business’s post, offering to help an old man across the street (at the end of a 2-meter stick) or just reaching out to colleagues and your community isn’t all that hard now is it.


WHATS IN THE BOX, WHATS IN THE BOX!


10) BE YOU

Most importantly be you, I don’t like the term ‘be authentic’ sounds a bit wanky. Be honest in the things you say and respectful of others when you say them. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t be the person that ignores a cry for help unless that cry is from Piers Morgan or Harvey Weinstein, particularly if either has the sniffles.


In all seriousness be you, not that shitty version of you that you were like when you got drunk that one time and woke up in your moms porch, but that Indiana Jones version of you, that version of you that gets to the top of the mountain, resists the temptation to turn to the dark side, parts the red sea and never leaves his wife alone and lets Kevin Spacey chop her head off and send it via courier to a field of pylons in the middle of nowhere. That you, that best you – the you that you know you can be and then, maybe just maybe, we’ll all get through this and afterwards you can go back to being average and frankly a bit of a dick.


Richard Watts is a content producer and multi non-award-winning film maker that might be able to help you through the COVID 19 fog. His views are his own and not anyone else's unless they are too controversial then they are his sisters.


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