Communication is key in all organisations, but when you’re in a remote environment, it’s even more important to ensure that communication within your team and among your colleagues is clear.
Relying on body language and the tone and emphasis in your voice are ineffective when your audience can’t hear or see you, so how can you make sure that every message leaves no room for miscommunication?
Our project management experts and masters of communication at Exposure Ninja have compiled their top 11 tips on communicating effectively when running a remote team:
- Be clear and specific. Helping your colleagues to understand exactly what you are asking will enable them to get the task done as efficiently as possible.
- Use simple language. Don’t over complicate tasks by making the language hard to understand and open to misinterpretation.
- Don’t overuse capital letters and exclamation marks. They can mean different things and be taken out of context. If you can’t communicate your ideas without them, it’s usually a sign that your message isn’t as clear as it could be.
- Set timelines. If you don’t set a deadline, chances are that the work won’t get done. If you require a response or the completion of a task by a certain date or time, state it within your communication. Just be mindful that the deadlines you set are realistic — one benefit of remote work is that employees can work flexibly, but just because you’re working past 5 pm doesn’t mean your colleagues will be.
- Use headlines and bullet points. Nobody appreciates a huge wall of text. Break up your communication to make it simple to follow, especially if you’re addressing multiple colleagues or teams within a single message.
- Keep your written communication focused. Following a structure when writing communications makes it a lot easier for colleagues to quickly get to the main point. A brief introduction (“hello, I hope you’re well”) followed by your request (“please can you…”), a timeframe (“by X”, “in the next X days”) and a thank you retains the crucial human element while leaving no room for misunderstanding over what you need.
- Be polite and well-mannered. This is important for both written and verbal communication and sets a great example, ensuring the right tone is maintained across all team communications. Remote or not, we all have bad days, but being polite in your communications ensures that your message will always be received positively.
- Keep the tone and language positive. This helps keep morale up and sets a solid foundation for all communication. Simply reframing your messaging from “we can’t” to “here’s what we can do” can have a powerful impact.
- Pick the right communication tool for the task at hand. If you’re having a team meeting, tell the team in advance that it will be via video — and turn your own video on. This can cultivate better relationships between team members, increase engagement and make colleagues feel part of the group.
- Be organised but be friendly. Sending out agendas before meetings will keep communication on track, but it’s important to maintain a balance between being organised and being friendly. Start all internal meetings with a friendly informal chat before setting your expectations and segueing into the agenda.
- Make the most of all the channels available to you. Every channel, whether written, video or telephone, serves a unique purpose. Using the right channels at the right times, such as Slack for team updates and Skype for meetings, will keep your team members engaged and maximise your remote business’s overall effectiveness.
Coordinating a remote team isn’t without its challenges, but following these tips and keeping your communication clear and simple puts you at a significant advantage when gearing up for remote work success.
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