Top 5 Strategies for Successful Remote Communication

Learn How to Instantly Improve Your Team’s Virtual Strength with these 5 Tips for Remote Communications.

Communicate Strategically

At the top level, developing a communication plan that has been thought through and that promotes regular connection is vital. The principle is creating ‘multiple virtual touch points’ that have specific meaning behind them. The key to success is creating seperate spaces for the operational needs and the relational needs of the team.

An operational example may be regular team or relevant individual catchups to monitor progress on projects or tasks. A relational example would be to make time for people to feed back how they are feeling about things. This could be anything from workload pressures to social isolation from the rest of the team or general motivation issues.

Some managers try to address both of these areas in one meeting, but there is increased positive impact to the individual’s sense of value when each is given a separate focus. This gives each virtual meeting greater meaning and purpose and greatly improves relational connection. This can go a long way to compensating for some of the lack of relational interaction that remote and hybrid work models can create. Relational disconnection is always the first point of communication issues.

Action Plan

Identify your communication objectives so you begin with the end in mind.

Design a communication plan that includes multiple virtual touch points with meaning and purpose.

Separate operational meetings and relational support meetings to improve the feeling of value and community.

Increase Visual Communication

When communicating on virtual platforms, it is easy just to transfer how we usually communicate face-to-face to the online format. To successfully communicate ideas and thoughts in a virtual context, consider increasing your visual communication. This can be an important key for successful comprehension and understanding for your audience. Most virtual tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have virtual whiteboard features to help visualise what you are communicating.

This can be useful to promote higher levels of engagement in discussions, creating improved visual aid support. Sharing other relevant visual information like internet pages, power points, charts and diagrams may take more preparation time but are proven methods to increase message comprehension and engagement.

Action Plan

To improve message clarity, think about using more visual support to convey ideas.

Increase engagement and comprehension by using virtual whiteboards to map out points you wish to communicate.

Only share them on screen while you are communicating, then remove them, otherwise they will distract.

Create Moments of Collective Encouragement

If you manage a remote team, one of the most powerful strategies that you can integrate to improve your receptivity is to plan for moments of collective encouragement. Virtual meetings tend to be more transactional and results driven and not always seen as a tool that can be used to collectively celebrate and acknowledge team results.

Creating special moments to acknowledge progress, small and large goals that have been achieved, as well as a general appreciation for team effort can minimise potential resentment and feelings of lack of support. It is also a great time to get individuals to share about challenges and successes and will go a long way in producing greater levels of empathy across the team.

These are great moments for leaders to really listen to the heartbeat of their teams and it can be quite revealing for underlying issues that could be creating levels of disengagment and frustration. The principle benefit here is that people communicate more openly and honestly when they feel they are in journey with others and that they are valued collectively. This can remove a lot of potential remote issues that are sleeping under the hood.

Action Plan

Create special virtual moments to acknowledge and encourage your team.

Allow feedback in those moments so staff can share their individual up & downs, engendering greater team empathy.

Build greater levels of trust & open, honest communication by spending time really listening to your team.

Provide Training Support

As there can be a diverse range of personality and communication styles found in any team, an important part of supporting their communication growth is effective training. Communicating in a remote model is not the same as the tangible synergy of a physical team environment so it is important to provide the insights and skill gap opportunities to help your team adapt.

A recent survey from Talent LMS stated that 61% of remote staff felt that they would benefit from additional training and 53% felt they needed soft skills training specifically. Communication development comes under soft skills training and individuals generally find they need extra support when their routines or environments change, to help them cope and adapt.

Action Plan

Identify some of the communication skill gaps in the team.

Think about practical ways these gaps can be trained and developed.

Ideas could be coaching, mentoring, training sessions or good online resources that support communication growth.







Establish a Virtual Culture

Creating a clear set of expectations, standards of best practice and how to manage the various issues that arise in a remote model is critical.  People perform and work much better when they know what is expected of them and what worked in the physical environment does not always translate to virtual interactions. Individuals on the team need to know the boundaries and best practice for virtual interactions.

Developing a set of guidelines and expectations for virtual teams can be instrumental in avoiding unnecessary conflicts and poor communication managment. A Virtual Code of Conduct can be a powerful management tool in bringing focus and alignment to individual and team behaviour in meetings and personal interactions, as well the right and wrong way to communicate in virtual settings.

Action Plan

Create a virtual charter that clearly sets out virtual conduct for communication do’s and dont’s.

Involve the team in this process to gain buy-in so they are setting agreed standards for themselves.

Include virtual protocols for conflict and disagreement.

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