Arranging meetings among geographically dispersed developers can pose significant challenges. For virtual conferences to be successful, it is imperative for distributed teams to communicate clearly and succinctly. Every member of the team must be proactive and work together to ensure optimal communication.
The growing popularity of remote work is becoming more evident with each passing day. A mounting number of individuals are opting to work from their homes, and indications are that this trend will persist even after the global pandemic subsides. The IT hiring industry and job market in general are also adjusting to meet the increasing need for remote work options.
As a team manager, it falls upon you to guide your team members and promote efficient communication in the online workplace. Given the prevalence of the digital age, odds are high that you will need to take part in virtual meetings in the coming days. Bearing this in mind, we have compiled some valuable suggestions and pointers from experts who have been remotely collaborating for over a decade. These insights ought to assist you in making your meetings as fruitful and productive as feasible.
What are the Techniques for Effective Communication in a Remote Team?
It is crucial to weigh the benefits of committing time and effort to organizing a meeting before determining the intended outcomes. To guarantee active participation from all team members, it is important to establish the requirements and anticipations accurately from the outset. Two key benefits of hosting online meetings should be taken into account while making a decision. Investing time in this aspect can pay off in the long run. Similarly, conducting meetings online has numerous advantages, making it a wise decision.
Initiating informal conversation is critical to encouraging collaboration, particularly when building partnerships across departments or integrating a fresh hire into the team. Effective communication is crucial in such situations. However, it would be pointless to devote an hour to discussing each division’s individual responsibilities. Likewise, using unimportant project-related small talk as a means of building rapport is not suggested. People are keen to contribute to a collective effort without having to devote an excessive amount of their own resources.
To make progress with your project, it is imperative to reach a decision, formulate a solution, or generate fresh ideas. Consequently, the primary objective of the meeting ought to be to ensure that all participants understand their assigned roles and expectations. For example, if the chatbot on your website has received negative feedback and requires updating, you should commence talks with your company’s developer and marketing manager to devise innovative ideas for enhancing the user interface.
Sufficient notice should be provided when scheduling a video conference to enable all attendees to attend and contribute. This measure can bring the following advantages to the participants:
- Make a checklist.
- Determine the topics to be addressed and the individuals to be consulted to initiate a productive conversation.
- Steer the conversation towards potential strategies that promote collaborative resolutions instead of evaluations of common facts.
Ensuring that everyone’s time is utilized effectively is the objective here as well.
Valuable Tips on 9 Guidelines for Team Communication
Irrespective of the goal, cooperation and coordination are indispensable for teams. The following are nine recommendations for enhancing team communication in virtual meetings:
- Utilize suitable communication methods.
- Establish overall standards.
- Choose the most suitable timing.
- Prepare for the upcoming virtual meeting.
- Identify the appropriate individuals and invite them to attend.
- Avoid being excessively inflexible.
- Show consideration for cultural norms and preferences.
- Focus on the results.
- Demonstrate your leadership abilities.
1. Ensure you use efficient methods of communication
It is crucial that all team members have the necessary tools to perform their job efficiently. Start by ensuring that their internet connection is reliable. Research conducted by Zen Internet suggests that more than eighty-nine percent of remote employees lose thirty or more minutes daily due to an unreliable Wi-Fi connection. Moreover, a Whistleout opinion poll revealed that eighty-three percent of remote workers believe they would be more productive if disconnected from the internet for half of the workday.
When selecting a medium, it is important to consider the type of conversation you intend to have. If your aim is to discuss next steps or motivate your team to work together, platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Team Meeting would be appropriate. However, if you require access to high-definition files, drawings or code reviews, it may be necessary to explore other options like whiteboards or Github to find the most appropriate platform for your requirements.
In conclusion, it is essential that your communication tools are dependable, and that your team is adequately trained in using them. It would be detrimental to try out a new group video conferencing platform for the first time during a critical meeting, only to discover that it does not function appropriately.
2. Establish Fundamental Guidelines
It is crucial to remember that remote employees may not operate on a standard nine-to-five schedule. Because of varying time zones and individual work routines, it is necessary to take into account the availability of each team member. Even if 4 pm is convenient for you, it may be the middle of the night for someone else. Even if a remote developer agrees to a meeting at an unconventional hour, they may not be at their most productive, and may, therefore, be unable to contribute effectively to the discussion.
To ensure that all team members have adequate time to complete their tasks and are kept informed of progress, it is recommended to establish a set of guidelines that includes mandatory meetings and weekly status reports. Consistently checking in with each other at an agreed-upon time every week will provide staff with the flexibility they need while ensuring that work is being completed within the desired timeframe.
3. Choose the Appropriate Time
When scheduling regular meetings, it may be beneficial to look at the example of Immanuel Kant. Recognized globally for his groundbreaking ideas in Western philosophy and his strict daily routines, the German philosopher discusses this in one of his logic books. Kant believed that it is most effective to learn and remember new information in the morning, while it is better to contemplate and analyze ideas and theories after taking a leisurely walk in the afternoon.
Recent studies support the idea that people’s judgment and decision-making skills are at their best in the morning. This is logical since our minds are the most clear and alert during this period. Conversely, it is recommended to engage in brainstorming sessions during the afternoon when fatigue can increase receptivity to new ideas and the likelihood of finding creative solutions.
Establishing a consistent schedule can prove to be particularly difficult in a remote working setting. Nevertheless, it is vital to consider the requirements of each member of your team when creating a plan that is suitable for everyone.
4. Getting Ready for a Remote Meeting
To promote effective team communication, it is crucial to circulate an agenda at least 24 hours in advance of a meeting. This approach can help prevent team members from feeling disconnected and allow them sufficient time to reflect on their own comments and questions before the meeting. Using brief bullet points can help make discussions productive and coherent, while providing each team member with the chance to express their thoughts and ideas in a structured manner.
It’s crucial that we adhere to the remaining, albeit minor, yet necessary details. Reminding attendees to silence notifications or using a cue to indicate when someone wants to speak are two methods to encourage all participants to express their thoughts comfortably. It’s advisable to find the methods that are most effective for your team. Having a designated note-taker who can upload their notes to a shared online document is an excellent way to remind everyone of the primary points and next steps.
5. Invite Those Who Are Required
If your goal is to enhance your team’s communication, a valuable suggestion is to restrict the number of attendees in a meeting. By limiting the participants to the required individuals, meetings can be conducted more efficiently and encourage greater participation from the attendees.
Endless conversation and prolonged discussions can be extremely wearisome. While devising your next marketing or sales strategy, it’s necessary to ensure that the team includes the appropriate number of individuals with various backgrounds and ideas, to accelerate the process. Only those capable of making critical decisions related to the matter should be included in the search for a solution.
Boost productivity and save time by preparing an agenda and constraining the number of participants.
6. Avoid Being Overly Rigid
Having an agenda, being punctual and preventing unnecessary delays are all crucial elements of effective virtual meetings. However, it can be advantageous to include some team-building activities during the session to enhance the overall experience. A ‘elevator pitch’ exercise is an excellent example, where each team member can briefly describe their job role and some personal facts. Devoting time to team building is particularly vital in a remote work scenario.
Establishing a positive rapport with colleagues is critical to the success of any workplace. However, it’s crucial to understand that this doesn’t imply the need for close friendships. If team members don’t feel comfortable expressing their views, efficiency may decrease over time and important questions may remain unanswered, creating misunderstandings that can harm team success. Hence, it’s essential to be mindful of how time is spent, creating an atmosphere in which employees feel supported and able to communicate effectively.
7. Respect Cultural Differences
Intercultural communication can sometimes pose difficulties due to linguistic and cultural differences. To communicate effectively in such scenarios, it’s important to possess appropriate technology and a solid command of the English language. Therefore, providing additional support while interacting with team members may not be necessary.
Despite the development team’s best efforts, they may encounter challenges such as time constraints and debugging confusion. To ensure that all team members stay aligned, having a moderator during meetings is recommended. The moderator would oversee that the team stays on track and remains attentive, promotes active contributions by all members and plans ahead for future tasks.
Providing training to staff regarding possible cultural differences is advantageous in avoiding potential issues. For example, some cultures don’t consider interruptions to be impolite, whereas others may find it offensive.
To maximize the effectiveness of virtual team meetings, it’s important to ensure everyone is aligned, confirm that all communication has been comprehended, and educate remote developers about the team’s cultural values.
As team members, it’s crucial to keep humour and jokes appropriate. Certain forms of comedy may be highly offensive to certain groups of individuals, which could result in strained relationships and tensions between team members. Hence, it’s important to be aware of how individuals react to humour, and to utilize it to unify people rather than creating rifts or ill will.
8. Focus on Results
It’s essential to prevent meetings from concluding with the word ‘maybe,’ as it may leave team members feeling dissatisfied. Using ‘maybe’ implies that no further action has been decided, which may result in the team’s continued use of ineffective approaches. To achieve the intended outcome, it may be necessary to exert more pressure or compel action. To demonstrate appreciation and value for team members’ contributions, recognizing and praising their work during online meetings is vital. This exhibits recognition for their effort and encourages them to strive for even greater outcomes.
9. Be Proactive and Take Charge
As a team leader, it’s essential to maintain efficient and effective communication, set an example for team members, and establish a collaborative atmosphere. To achieve this, it’s important to monitor individual interactions among team members, observing their humour, mannerisms, and disposition. Striking a proper balance between these elements can help keep the team on track and working together seamlessly.
Step One for Successful Group Communication: Recruit the Best Team Members Possible
It’s important to recognize that every team is singular, particularly in a virtual setting. Implementing the above recommendations enables you to adapt and enhance your meetings gradually to discover what’s effective for your team. Cohesion is critical, yet it’s even more essential to ensure that you employ the right people initially before contemplating how to communicate effectively with the group.
Undoubtedly, a poorly-matched candidate could be as harmful to collaboration as ineffective communication or sluggish internet speeds. You may rely on us here at Works for assistance. We are expert IT and remote worker recruiters and will manage all aspects of the recruitment and onboarding procedures for your desired hire. If you have any queries or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.