“When reaching out, the key to staving off network shrinkage isn’t spending time going to Zoom happy hours or trying to meet people online … Picking up the phone may be a better strategy. We’re more empathic and better listeners when simply hearing a voice. A phone call can be almost as good as a hug — in one study, it reduced cortisol levels, a biomarker of stress.”
I found the link to this Harvard Business Review article through a friend, much the way authors Marissa King and Balázs Kovács suggested was one way to stave off network shrinkage in this crazy time. They explored the research on social networks and loneliness during the pandemic.
About two months ago I was talking with a chapter leader who I met because she was president of a client association’s chapter which was a COVID-success story. She shared her secret: picking up the phone and checking in with fellow board members weekly and later bi-weekly.
As we help our volunteer leaders lead increasingly distracted and stressed volunteers, perhaps the best advice we can give them is to give hug through the phone.
The article shares a couple of other ways: taking time to express gratitude, sharing an article or a podcast that reminded you of a colleague, and asking for help. Yes, this last one allows the other person to be of service and reinvigorates a sense of purpose.
Rather than sending our volunteers an email with a suggestion, maybe let’s call them and then share the link?
Photo by unknown artist licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND