5 Ways to Communicate Effectively When Working Virtually
    Date
    March 19, 2018

    According to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, communication is “an integral component of success for any team.” Because of this, it’s vital that virtual teams find a way to communicate effectively. In fact, when it comes to virtual teams, SIOP says that effective communication is “imperative” for a virtual team to be successful.

    Utilize Communication Guidelines

    When it comes to a virtual team, there is no way to drop by someone’s office for a quick chat. Instead, it’s best to have an agreement in place that helps answer who talks, when they talk, what they talk about, and how they talk (email, instant message, phone, Skype, etcetera). Teams can communicate effectively only when they know what is expected and required of them.

    Acknowledge Diversity

    Virtual co-workers may live in any part of the world. Because of this, it’s possible that you will have a very diverse team of co-workers and employees. Understand that different cultures have different methods and comfort levels when they communicate. This can help you avoid any potential culture clashes or misunderstandings.

    Don’t Guess

    ThoughtCo.com points out that to truly communicate effectively, you have to make sure that you understand what the other person is saying. In other words, if you aren’t sure what is being said, ask for clarification. Don’t assume that you know what the other person is trying to get across. If something is unclear, work together to make sure everyone is on the same page.

    Avoid Non-Verbal Miscommunication Woes

    Five of the main elements of non-verbal communication are eye contact, voice fluctuation, position in the room, facial expressions, and hand gestures, according to PR Daily. Unfortunately, being virtual means that you won’t often get to use non-verbal communication. To avoid problems, make sure that your language choices clearly conveys your meaning. It’s okay to be informal in certain communications with your virtual team, but avoid too much joking or kidding around when it can be taken the wrong way.

    Recap Your Conversations

    It never hurts to go over what you’ve already said. Some forms of online communication, such as chat rooms and instant message programs, can provide a chat log. But if you’re choosing to use the phone or Skype, spending an extra few minutes to recap your main points can make the difference between ineffective and effective communication.

    Which tip do you find the most helpful for your virtual team? Have you ever encountered a communication problem because someone failed to follow one of the tips? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

    image courtesy of unsplash.com

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