Communication is a fact of life, especially in the workplace, where teamwork, technology, and remote work are increasingly common. For a business to thrive, meet deadlines, and exceed goals, solid communication systems and relationships must be in place.
We’ve been exploring the topic for a while now, and we’ve learned that factors such as stress, high expectations, and low morale, along with having incorrect tech tools or a good environment around you, can become chronic workplace issues. Which in turn can drive poor communication which will impact both your mental health and your business’ productivity.
Effective and efficient communication is hard, especially when everybody is sitting at a desk at home, oftentimes isolated. So, finding the perfect equilibrium during video calls can be tricky: have you ever noticed that certain people tend to dominate the conversation, while others don’t feel comfortable speaking up?
These types of communication issues via remote conversations are actually normal.
In fact, according to HubSpot’s findings, remote workers noted a lack of social connection (29%) and communicating with co-workers (29%) as the two biggest challenges they face being remote.
But when your team can’t be in the same space, communication needs to become more intentional.
So, how do you do that? And how do you know when your communication needs some work? Let’s dig into this and check on some signs that your remote team isn’t communicating as effectively as possible.
Does your team have too many meetings?
Typically, your team shouldn’t have to meet several times a week. In fact, plenty of meetings can be sent in an email or on Slack/Teams: jumping from meeting to meeting is never a good sign!
Before scheduling a video call, think about whether that will waste your time. If you aren’t sure, then reevaluate whether the content can be sent in a message form.
Additionally, keep in mind when you schedule a meeting that every person you invited needs to be there. If not, let them know it’s optional. Plus, think about the length of your meetings: if it can be shorter, make it shorter!
Lastly, if you’re leading the session, formulate a structure or agenda. Try not deviate from it and nominate a minutes taker. It sounds strict but it will help to ensure that video meets are productive with key topics covered and actioned (more on this below!)
Ever thought about the importance of digital body language?
When you’re communicating via video conferencing, it can be easy to forget about digital body language. However, it’s important to keep in mind that nothing on camera is subtle and it can feel like you have a spotlight on you.
That means you have to pay even more attention to body language. For instance, you should still maintain eye contact, speak clearly, and have your video on during remote calls.
Are you communicating throughout the day?
The more you talk to people on your team, the more trust you’ll have. This makes it easier to reach out when you need help. That’s why it’s important to make sure your team feels comfortable communicating throughout the day — even if it’s just to send a GIF to the group chat.
While you don’t want to inundate your team with messages, checking in every so often is important for camaraderie and team communication.
Are your emails simple enough?
Emails should always be simple, clear, and specific. If you’re writing an email and it’s overly complicated, you might want to schedule a quick meeting with that person.
To communicate effectively, it’s important to know what channel to use to deliver your message. Sometimes it works in an email, but sometimes it requires a meeting!
Do your meetings have a defined structure?
If you don’t have an agenda or meeting structure, you might not be communicating effectively during your meetings.
Meetings should be organized and structured so they’re productive: having an agenda will keep you on track! You might even want to schedule in the five minutes of informal chat before a meeting gets started. This will help team members self-regulate.
Also, remember that sending the agenda prior to every meeting is a great habit!
Did you establish communication norms?
If you’ve ever been stressed about communicating with your remote team, that’s probably because norms for communication haven’t been established.
For example, everyone’s work hours and breaks should be clear. This could mean that everyone is on the same Google calendar or they’ve added a status on their Slack so people know that they aren’t available. Whatever your team’s method is, make sure that’s communicated among everyone!
Additionally, it might be wise to set expectations in your emails. When you send an email that doesn’t need a response, you might want to call that out: setting expectations and norms will help improve communication immensely.
Are managers repeating team members’ work?
If you’re a manager and you’ve found yourself revising work from your team, that means you aren’t communicating and delegating effectively.
When assignments are sent back with errors, typically this means that the assignment wasn’t clear and expectations weren’t communicated.
If you ever redo someone’s work, that shows that you might not feel comfortable sending edits. Again, the problem here is all about communication. The only way to improve this process is to … you guessed it, communicate with each other!
These are some of the most common issues when it comes to communicating efficiently during this particular time in history. Do you feel like you’re experiencing any of those? Share your story below!
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