As discussed at the most recent QASIG event, the importance of effective communication in distributed environments cannot be stressed enough. Being able to communicate effectively with your team is essential to the team's success. And in a remote or hybrid environment — with asynchronous schedules and numerous channels for communication — it’s more important than ever to make sure that everyone is on the same page. The best way to ensure strong communication is to be clear, concise, and consistent.
Aim for Clarity
When you’re communicating virtually, it’s important that you take extra care to make sure that your point comes across effectively. You obviously know what you’re trying to say. This can make it easy to forget that whoever you’re communicating with is coming in with a completely different understanding than you. Before you send a message, you should take a moment to make sure that what you’re saying is clear. It is also important to decide how best to communicate with each member of your team. The best method might change depending on the situation or person. Depending on the task, it may be more efficient to explain it over a phone call or video call than in an email. Sometimes it might be necessary to provide examples of what you are looking for to get your message across.
Keep it Concise
Sometimes with communication, less is more. This does not mean you should check in less frequently with your team members, just that you should not overload them with unnecessary information. Keep your messages simple by taking out filler words and using familiar language. Being intentional about your formatting can also help to keep messages concise. You can make use of bolding, bullet points, and headings to highlight vital information. These tools will minimize the points that get lost in translation.
When it comes to communication, consistency is key. You’ll first need to establish which tools your team will use for communication, such as email, video conferencing software, or chat platforms. Make sure to communicate on a regular basis. It's also a good idea to discuss communication strategies regularly with your whole team to make sure everyone is up-to-speed. You may want to make a set communication schedule, depending on your specific situation or deadlines. It’s also important to consider timing. With some working asynchronously, you will need to acknowledge everyone’s availability. Your team may not all be online at the same time. But finding times to check in with your team members is vital for team cohesion and growth.
The importance of, not only maintaining business relationships but fostering them cannot be stressed enough. The same is true of any relationship. Investing in a relationship of any sort requires intention, effort, and time, but it is exactly that – an investment. Building a symbiotic community takes time, but by communicating effectively with the tips above, you will be well on your way to fostering the relationships in your communities, work-related or personal.