Effective communication means motivated employees who understand their tasks, close-knit teammates who know their goals, and satisfied coworkers who have confidence in their colleagues and employer.
No matter if we are talking about the remote team or not. The case is that for those working remotely, building effective communication requires extra effort and attention. In the offline world, we can always talk face to face, clarify, and observe reactions and body language, which sometimes, in a remote environment, can be difficult.
But difficult doesn't mean impossible!
In this article, you will learn why it's crucial to understand different communication styles and what you can do to communicate effectively with your remote coworkers.
Learn your communication style
Have you wondered why some people click while others need extra time and effort to find a common language?
The answer lies in different personalities and communication styles.
In a remote environment, building rapport, where we usually lack non-verbal aspects of communication, well, can be a tough nut to crack!
Good news -
Some tools can help us understand each other better and make our remote communication efficient. One of them, which we found highly beneficial at Tidio, is Insights Discovery. Insights Discovery is a psychometric tool that analyzes how we communicate and interact with each other according to our personality types. It uses a combination of four-color energies - red, blue, yellow, and green to represent the different personality, communications and motivations types.
How does it look in practice?
For example, based on Insights Discovery results, we can learn that some of us prefer brainstorming rather than thinking through the solution by ourselves. It explains why some people seem to be a bit rough to us - probably, they prefer data-driven, straightforward communication, while we can't imagine a call without a few minutes of small talk.
Understanding that the style, type, and frequency of communication each person likes vary depending on their personality types is a real game changer for every remote team!
💡 Read the Grow With Tidio Program article to learn more about the tools we use to help our employees develop
Don't beat about the bush
Think about that for a minute -
Talking about lots of unimportant things only to avoid discussing critical tasks, deadlines, or changes doesn't further the objectives.Talking about so many topics that you lose your main track doesn't help you in motivating employees. Both situations only make your colleagues uncomfortable and are a perfect environment for misinterpretation and misunderstandings.
As Marius Laza, our Chief Customer Officer, says: "One big thing is to be extremely clear about the things that matter. It's hard to understand what's truly important if you're talking about multiple topics with multiple people simultaneously. If you have a deadline, mention it. If you need specific people to help on a project, don't ask the group, but name the people you need help from. Assign an owner and a deadline, and be clear about what you need."
Just make an extra effort to be not only listened to but also understood.
Share an agenda before the meeting
Probably it's a good idea even for the offsite meetings 😉 For participants, it's a chance to decide whether they can add value to the topic. In other words - should they join the call or not?
OK, I know what you're thinking:
But employees should participate in every call!
Not necessary! One of our core values is to focus on the impact. With every task we take and every decision we make, we think about the eventual outcome, and whether this is the best thing to focus on at the moment, the same goes for meetings.
My advice is to make a global rule that it's OK not to attend meetings we have nothing to do with. It's not OK to waste time on a call that is not moving our goals forward.
It doesn't stop there -
Prepare and share research before the meeting; ask participants to note down questions and ideas they want to share. All these can be done a week before a call. Make your work as asynchronous as possible.
That way, a call can be just to discuss the ideas, and all participants will be on the same page.
Simply as that!
Use varied senses
"Picture is worth 1000 words; use visual aid during meetings, ie. Miro. The video is worth one mln words. Loom for the win." - says Andrzej Jagielski, our Head of Design. And believe me, since he takes care of the design team, he knows this stuff.
Why is it worth mixing various senses in communication?
First, even after a while, it's easy to catch up with recorded video and/or visualization. You can also choose the speed of watching the video and adjust it to your needs and the time you have. By using Miro, Loom, or Zoom recording, you can create a base with the most crucial information that is easily accessible by your teammates now and in the future.
💡 Want to learn more about knowledge sharing at the workplace? Read the article on tips on promoting learn&share among your teammates
Don't expect an immediate response
Patience is a virtue, right? 😉
While working in a remote environment with flexible working hours and people from all over the world, the SLA for the answer should be around 24h, not 24 minutes 😉 As you don't know if people are currently occupied, don't expect them to jump right in as you send a question. Probably when you work in the same room and see somebody in a meeting or busy with a difficult task, you wouldn't interrupt them - so why do it online?
Just because we don't know what our colleagues are doing doesn't mean they are waiting for your questions!
Put attention to how you communicate things - structure is king
Have you ever wondered why some messages are easier to read and understand than others?
The answer is - structure!
When communicating something online (new, update, announcement), tell the audience why you or we do this and what it is for. For what purpose it's introduced? Ensure you've addressed the message to the right audience; if it's broad, add details of what's expected of each group or individual. Weronika Drzewińska, our EB and Communication Manager, created a short guide on communicating on our slack channels - treat yourself!:
- WHY? - in the first sentence/ paragraph, state clearly why you are writing the message. It's a cool idea to use bold font to highlight the keywords. Avoid a lengthy introduction, be precise and to the point. And don't forget to open your message by saying Hi 😎
- WHAT? - now go to the main part, where you share the necessary information. In case of longer messages, use bullet points for clarity - list the main points concisely and precisely. Try to include only the necessary information in the post – if there is more to learn, redirect readers to a Notion tab, a post on Hibob (our internal HR tools), or a document. If you include links, do so by hiding them in the text.
- WHAT'S NEXT? - what would you like people to do after they read your message? Fill out a questionnaire, email, and welcome someone by sending emojis under the post. Put a clear Call To Action in the post - a post leaving readers without a clear CTA may be perceived as irrelevant.
If you are writing a post of a recurrent type, mark your post with a category in brackets - to quickly identify the message type in the channel feed and to grab attention.
- [PROMOTION 🚀]
- [GOODBYE👋 ]
- [SALARIES INFO💸]
- [BUSINESS UPDATE 👔]
Usage of emojis
Don't be afraid to use them- they help express emotions but don't overdo it. Too many may make your text difficult to read. Generally, the rule of one emoji per text paragraph cannot harm 😉
Remember, the better the post, the fewer questions asked 😇 However, be prepared that your post may be commented on. Before submitting the post, ask yourself what other information the receivers may expect. Anticipate the questions and be ready to give more explanation if necessary.
No doubt - effective communication is a fundamental part of business growth. Using tools such as Insights Discovery will equip you and your colleagues with elementary knowledge that makes your cooperation work smoothly and avoids misunderstandings. On the other hand, agenda, structure, and visualizations are vital to ensure that you and your teammates are on the same page.
I hope these tips will help to move your remote communication to the next level!
Special thanks to Andrzej Jagielski, Marius Laza, Weronika Drzewińska, and Hubert Jackowski for their insights and contribution to this article.
💡Looking for more advice on improving work with remote teams? Read the article Tips For Better Communication With Remote Teams