It is common, and we are probably even tired of, hearing people and the media talk about the pandemic, uncertainty, the new normal, etc. As a communicator myself, I turned to several physiology, sociology and HR professionals and experts in Latin America to make a concise and human analysis on proper communication in 2021, as I’m sure that both personally and professionally, many aspects have been affected and will continue to be so in our private and work lives. Just to mention a few, there are the relationships with family, friends and colleagues, approaching clients and contacts, global trends, and the media, among others.
To begin with, I want to provide some context on what we have lived during the last few months: the so-feared confinement, normalization of work-from-home, virtual meetings and conference calls, on line shopping, delivery or take away, etc.
But after this situation, how have we changed the way we relate with others? Have we changed our behaviour? Was our perception of advertising, media, social media, etc., affected? According to Argentinian HR trainer María Teresa Tibau, thanks to this situation, we have developed personal attitudes such as discipline, time management, and concentration, focusing more on essential issues and transmitting not just concepts but emotions and needs that capture interest in what the media proposes to us. Argentinian Psychopedagogist, Psychologist and HR Consultant María del Carmen Tibau completes that our perception of communication must be assertive, creative and motivating, and must convey emotions and feelings. “Affectivity in the communication process becomes a necessary project,” as people look for practical and friendly communication proposals.
At a personal level, María Teresa Tibau affirms that, without a doubt, the behaviour of individuals has changed, as people have focused on looking for essential products, service quality, and effective solutions. Regarding their behaviour in connection with brands, products, or services, María del Carmen Tibau highlights that many people spend their time shopping on line, but others go to the shops to interact with the product and people directly.
The current situation has changed people, but has it affected them professionally, too? Has the relationship between companies and their clients and workers changed? Lina Montoya, Colombian Sociologist and International Relations Political Scientist, thinks so. Businesses have had to adapt to this new way of connecting with their clients and workers. What she means is that, as it is impossible to meet and interact with them in person, now companies must resort to digital media and platforms to create new relationships with their prospective clients and/or maintain the ones with existing clients. Companies should take into account that “one of the major risks in this process is that they believe that technology is the star of this new normal and not the facilitator.” That is, even if companies use these media/platforms, they should never forget their final purpose: “Maintaining a continuous, close, human, collaborative, and empathetic communication with workers, existing clients, and prospective clients. It is not enough to host webinars or send newsletters; all formal and informal communications should be so assertive that the person receiving the message feels the company’s actual interest in him or her.”
But, what about what to talk about or communicate in 2021?
Alva Ninnette Contreras, Guatemalan Clinical Psychologist, believes that people will want to talk about hope, strengthening tools, and the power of working on the here and now with their best attitude. They will talk about acceptance, about what cannot be changed, but with a determined tenacity to move forward despite the circumstances. So, today more than ever, companies must take into account empathy, that is, put themselves in the other person’s shoes. Companies are recommended to work acknowledging the humanity of others (their clients and/or workers). Even though this situation is not stopping and the world “keeps turning,” we have to move forward with our best attitude when performing tasks. “We have to find the way to not robotise a person, create dynamics to discover their life purpose, discuss emotions, feel… live.”
If a company now asks itself: How can we truly touch the feelings of people/our clients through marketing or the messages we want to give them?, Alva Ninnette Contreras suggests that these should be focused on people’s emotions, making them tangible, giving primary value to the human being.
Without a doubt, this situation has taught us a great and most valuable lesson both personally and professionally (in terms of a business) worldwide: to rely on the different opinions of professional and expert women to help and guide us along this long path ahead. I want to thank all of them for sharing their knowledge through concise and meaningful words. Thus, I conclude this short analysis, which I hope becomes more than a personal and business reflection that you can use to assess your interpersonal relationships in 2020 and how you want your relationships with colleagues, clients, family, and friends to be from now on. Have you worked on assertive communication? If not, 2021 is your chance!