To say that “it’s a strange time” is redundant, but also, so very true.
As more and more companies are forced to communicate, meet and present remotely to keep things afloat, here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you navigate this new territory.
Do: Create a virtual room in your mind
Our company had to work remotely during a snowstorm last year. When we all entered the conference call (no video), we all went around and introduced ourselves. You are putting a voice with the person (even if you work with them every day). Go a step further and make a map for yourself where everyone is sitting in your virtual room. It will help you visualize the meeting and help you keep track of who is speaking.
Do: Increase your patience
For example, if you were calling from your office landline and now are on your cell. Now your reception is bad and your boss just made the most important statement on a call. Or your boss has bad reception. Be patient. Take a breath and ask the person to please repeat themselves.
If your Zoom/Skype/ Microsoft Teams meeting suddenly has a bad connection give yourself 5–10 seconds before you ask if everyone is “still there” for the 10th time. More often than not, the people in the meeting can still hear you, you might not be able to hear them. Keep your cool. No cursing or panicking.
Do: Speak slower than you normally would
Stretch out your vowels and pay attention to end consonants. For example, if someone says: “I am so excited for the new office treats!” but they are lazy with their end consonant it could sound like “I am so excited for the office trees”. Confusing. Keep your mouth active and engaged.
Do: Get to the point
No one wants to be on the phone longer than they need to be. You must speak clearly and to the point. As a communication coach, I am constantly teaching this skill. I once taught a financial firm about meeting effectiveness. I went to their strategy meeting before they came to me for coaching. The meeting was 90 minutes. After working together, they called a week later elated their meeting was 30 minutes not 90 minutes. GET TO THE POINT.
Be in the moment and focus on the conversation at hand. It is very apparent when someone is multi-tasking or emailing or texting in a conversation. Give the person/ meeting your full attention. You will get more done and walk away with more details. Many of us have been on a conference call and get frustrated when we are not the priority or something “more important” comes through. Delegate your time.
Don’t: Talk over people
It’s important to give and take when it comes to virtual communication. Remember to actively listen and then respond when the person is finished. Don’t listen just to respond. Listen to the person’s opinion then form your own.