Culture On the Go!


It Seems as If the World Has Gone Virtual Overnight…

It’s Google Hangouts classrooms, GoToMeeting parties, Zoom meetings and BlueJeans videoconferencing now! These are great tools to use to connect; however it is hard to replace a warm handshake, eye contact, a joke over a cup of coffee or a story shared over lunch. What does all this have to do with trust? A lot!

Try This for Your
Relationship-Driven Clients and Colleagues

  • Offer time for a virtual handshake: Plan more time in the beginning of the session for informal exchange, introductions and personal stories.
  • Be patient: You can still get through slides and get your point across once the trust is established.
    Give a little bit of yourself: Don’t just listen, tell your story and keep that camera turned on.
    Consider a longer meeting/shorter agenda for the first couple of times.
  • Be aware that if you are task-driven, your style may be perceived by your relationship-driven counterpart as “impersonal”, “not interested in a long-term commitment” or even “rude”!

Try This for Your
Task-Driven Clients and Colleagues:

  • Shorten your “story” to an elevator speech: There might be a few of you on the call and the time is short.
  • Consider changing the order: Start with the subject matter and slides. Build in time at the end so you can still work on getting to know one another after the subject matter is discussed.
  • Know that if you are relationship-driven, your preference may be perceived as “Too wordy” or even that “wastes too much time”


  • Task-driven and goal-oriented US Americans tend to trust others quickly after the initial small talk assuming a certain level of professionalism, competence and good will from their counterparts. But to the relationship focused Brazilians, an ice-breaker in the beginning is simply not enough. Trust is progressive, earned and requires more time and effort. Push yourself out of your comfort zone: The social distancing ultimately will go away but virtual collaboration is here to stay.
  • Next time you wonder why your Italian colleague “wastes” the firsts 15 minutes of a meeting telling you all about their family or your German team member goes straight into the agenda, consider this:
  • People from relationship driven cultures need time to trust you before they can work with you: Who you are is more important than your processes, structures and agenda and you can’t get to know somebody after one virtual joke.
  • People from the task focused cultures give their trust more readily in the beginning but can withdraw it very quickly once it’s broken. The professional relationships are established prior to the personal ones.

After trying the above, be proud of yourself for adjusting your style to build trust virtually with your clients and colleagues around the globe