In International Education we are used to doing things remotely, however, this past year we've all become experts at this. What I sometimes feel we've lost, in the midst of all the technological advancements, the Zoom calls and the emails, is the human touch. Therefore, in today's article I'd like to propose a few ways in which we can still retain this human touch, even though most of us are still stuck at home and cannot travel to meet partners around the globe. First Hand Experience
Having partners in over 80 countries globally, at Schools & Agents, it is very difficult for us to meet everyone at least once a year. At the same time, we like to stay in touch with our partners to see what they are up to, how their business has evolved, what direction they are going in; because in the nature of our business, this knowledge helps us a lot to connect them with the right education providers and universities.
At Schools & Agents (as our name clearly spells it out) we communicate with both sides of the equation on a daily basis and we often listen to the pain points that each party has. We are strong believers in transparent communication and in mutual respect, and I totally believe that these are the most important ingredients in solidifying relationships with partners even while there is a global pandemic going on. Honesty is the best policy
Good relationships are built on mutual trust. It is important for universities to trust the agents they work with, and vice versa. If you feel that one of your partner agents does not trust you, you need to get down to the bottom of the situation, find out what is wrong, and fix it. Otherwise, that relationship will be lost for good. Respect goes a long way
I always encourage universities and education providers to look at agents as partners, not as someone who fills up their classrooms. When there is mutual respect, relationships are likely to flourish and turn into fruitful partnerships. This is exactly the kind of relationship that you want to have with your partner agents. Transparency is key
Whatever you do, never go behind your agents' backs. There is nothing worse than broken trust. If your agent finds out that you have not been transparent with them, your university is likely to lose its reputation. And remember, agents talk to each other. Therefore, by not being transparent you are actually losing more than just the one agent. Communication is always the most important tool
This is something I never tire of repeating, and only because communication is the basis for any good relationship. Over the past months, especially, communication has taken on a whole new meaning, especially since we have all been deprived of a lot of human contact. So even when it comes to your partners, communicate with them as often as you can, and in as many ways as possible. Here are some options that stand out in comparison to a mere email:
- Connect with them on social media and message them there.
- Have a video call with them.
- Send them a hand-written letter.
These are just a few tips that I wanted to share with you today, however, I'm always open to a conversation myself, so if you ever feel like you wish to receive further tips, I'm only an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or a message away.