My hump day challenge lately has been communicating through chat.
I have been working with remote teams for 10 years or so, and except for the first weeks that I did online meetings, I never had any problems with getting my message across.
I had Skype and GoToMeeting calls once or twice a month and chat conferences every day with team members, clients, and my former boss who spent most days of the year in the U.S. In those meetings, we would tick off the items in the agenda, address issues, resolve issues, and come up with resolutions… efficiently.
I can’t understand though why this has been my challenge of late. So, I list down the possible barriers of communicating efficiently with remote team members.
- Be prepared. Come to the chat/call with your reports, recommendations and notes. It will be good to be ready with your talking points. This will give each team member some guide to follow. If you are assigned to the meeting, email ahead the agenda so that the others can be ready for the meeting, too.
- Listen first before reacting. This works especially in chat. You know that time when all of you are trying to type all at the same time and hit the enter button at the same time, too? You have to listen first, meaning to read first what the other or others have written and then react accordingly. It helps a lot if you scroll up and review the conversation before butting in. In many cases, someone who is not listening and brings back a concern that has already been discussed disrupts the meeting.
- Clarify. Say it again, or even rephrase an idea to make sure that you get what the other person means before butting in. If you don’t do this, you either repeat issues and the meeting will go round and round. You’re lucky if you have a very good moderator.
- Ask questions. Like #3, ask intelligent questions. But before you do, do #2 first.
- Be open. One of my pet peeves is when a person insists on his ways or disagrees every step of the way… illogically. And believe me, there are people like that. Why not hear out an idea first, weigh its pros and cons, and if it’s not really far out, then by all means, agree to test the idea out. I understand those team members who are really thorough and would look at every side of the scenario. That’s totally fine.
What’s your process in doing calls with your remote team?
Take a look at this video. It somehow exemplifies what happens in a virtual meeting. XD