Building Partnerships Virtually
In the past, most partnerships occurred through in-person meetings. Now with many individuals working remotely, this has changed how partnerships meet and make progress.
ACET has discovered these three tips for building partnerships virtually:
1. Ask partners which engagement methods work for them. Some partners may need to build capacity to connect virtually. Find out which technology forms work for them and which ones they’re comfortable with. Whichever platform you use, make it easy for people who may not be familiar with it.
2. Use video calls whenever possible. Partnerships deepen through relationships. When individuals can see each other and connect through video calls, those relationships are more likely to develop. Not everyone is comfortable in front of a video but find ways to involve your partners in virtual meetings, whether through video, image sharing, or get-to-know-you activities. If connectivity or visual impairment is an issue with some partners, explore other ways to connect, such as one-on-one phone calls, email group conversations, and online file sharing.
3. Take time to get to know each other. With virtual meetings, it’s also important to connect personally, which will help build relationships. Plan a short, virtual, team-building exercise in addition to other aspects of your agenda. Or have a check-in near the beginning of the agenda.
A number of organizations have helpful resources for virtual partnerships. The Urban Institute suggests five strategies for creating strong partnerships online. The University of North Carolina School of Medicine provides specific information on how to maneuver partnerships virtually. The Harvard Business Review gives ideas on how to successfully collaborate online.
What are you discovering as you collaborate virtually? Please share how you were successful with virtual partnership development at firstname.lastname@example.org.