When you’re working as part of a virtual team, you need to know how to communicate in order to get your ideas and concerns across clearly, increase efficiency, and work with others in a way that will allow all of you to succeed. However, this can be a bit of a challenge. After all, when you’re communicating with others virtually, through emails and messaging programs, for example, you’re not communicating face-to-face like you would be in a real office. So, what are some of the best ways to improve your virtual communication skills?
Sign Up for Courses That Will Help You Become a Better Communicator
There are a variety of courses that you can sign up for when you’re ready to improve your communication skills. And the best part is that many of these courses are offered online, so you can take them at your leisure and whenever it’s most convenient for you. But rather than merely looking for courses on how to communicate more effectively (even though that’s definitely a great place to start), think outside the box a bit. Use an online tool such as findcourses.com for inspiration. You might, for example, choose to take a human resources training course, especially if you are managing a virtual team.
How could something like a human resources training course help when it comes to virtual communication with others? Well, HR professionals need to know how to work well with others, how to listen attentively, how to spot problems, and how to resolve conflicts. They also need to know how to communicate effectively and clearly so that they can get a conversation going, discuss issues openly, and creatively come up with solutions that everyone can agree upon. This can all come in particularly handy when you’re working in a virtual space with others.
Take Your Time to Be as Clear as Possible
The biggest drawback that comes with virtual communication is the fact that you can’t see the other person’s facial expressions and other nonverbal cues that would indicate how they’re feeling. A person’s email or text message may not convey their confusion or their worries as effectively as a concerned look on their face would. So, this is something that you need to consider when you type up a message to your colleagues to get a new project started, or when you’re experiencing any kind of hardship getting a task done on time, as a couple of examples.
First, take your time when composing any message virtually. Don’t just rush through it. Try to put your thoughts down as clearly as possible. You might even need to outright let people know how you are feeling, without being vague at all. Don’t be afraid to express yourself, as you want your message to be clear so that it isn’t misinterpreted. You might even consider using emojis to more clearly convey what you’re thinking and feeling.
Set Time Aside to Talk with Your Virtual Teammates
Another way to improve communication when working in a virtual team is by setting aside time to chat with each other. You might choose to hold regular meetings during which you can chat in real time or even video chat so that you can see one another’s faces and communicate in a different way than email and messaging programs.
Use this as an opportunity to not only clarify things that might’ve been unclear in past messages, but also to report on how much progress you all have made on your individual tasks. In this manner, the entire team can get on the same page, and you can also work together to address any issues that are arising. Plus, this meeting doesn’t have to be long at all, as 30 minutes might be long enough for everyone to catch up and review what has been done and what still needs to be accomplished.
Keep Things Short Whenever Possible
Long emails can be an annoyance because people have to set aside a longer amount of time just to read them, and a lot of details can end up being overlooked or missed because the content is so long. Therefore, a final way to improve your virtual communication skills is by working on being more concise. You might want to keep your paragraphs and sentences short, and you can even add bullet points to draw attention to what’s most important.
Bottom line: if you’re hoping to boost your virtual communication skills so you can work more effectively when you are part of a virtual team, or if you want to improve your skills in the virtual space because you have a career that involves working completely online with people from around the world, there are a variety of steps that you can take. Once you are more comfortable in your abilities to communicate virtually, you will find that you are also more confident, and that can help you do your job better too.
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