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Virtual Communication Skills to Help Improve Workplace Discussion
The pandemic forced many workplaces to adopt a fully remote business model—at least temporarily. From emails to video conferences to phone calls, virtual communication skyrocketed. While you may be skilled at public speaking and ace in-person meetings, sharing presentations or even simply discussing ideas can be difficult online.
Here are seven virtual communication skills to help improve workplace discussion, client meetings, and your overall online behavior.
1. Be Professional, But Personable
Due to the pandemic, employees have had to make some serious adjustments to their work habits. As many had to scramble to put together a home office, keeping things professional became a challenge. However, that could work to your advantage. While you should still follow the same guidelines as you would in an office (being on time, dressing appropriately, etc.), allow yourself to share a little bit into your personal life.
For example, don’t rush to hide the kids or dogs in the background of your video call. Many will find these things relatable and can create a personal connection—especially between you and a client. By being personable, you can build a connected relationship to your coworkers or clients, ones that may not have existed without working from home.
2. Utilize Online Tools
Virtual communication doesn’t come without its disadvantages, so try to make it as easy as possible for your workplace by utilizing online tools. This includes integrating your video conferencing software, fax services, telephones, and internal chat into one unified platform. A single internet-based app can give your team all the tools they need to stay connected in a clutter-free and easy to use package, no matter where they are working.
3. Be Understanding and Helpful
When the kids or dogs do show up in your video call recipient’s background, be understanding to their at-home circumstances. And if they are experiencing technology difficulties navigating an online software, try to be as helpful as possible. Choose a phone service provider that is responsive and willing to lend a helping hand to staff struggling with their home tech.
4. Send Timely Follow Ups
While sending follow ups should be a standard practice, it is more important than ever with virtual communication. Since you can’t turn to your coworker and verbally remind them, messages may get lost in the sea of devices and platforms. It’s recommended to send a follow up email after 2-3 days from the last communication. If you had a phone or video call, be sure to send an email follow up right away. This way, what was verbally discussed is now in written format and shared with both parties.
5. Stay Focused and Attentive
During a video call, there are tons of distractions—way more than in-person meetings. From outside noises to phone notifications, there are plenty of reasons to take your eyes off the screen. When you’re video conferencing, stay focused and be attentive. Try to keep your eyes (and hands) in one place as much as possible. Moving around too much can cause a distraction and show that you’re not paying attention.
6. Follow the Agenda
To keep phone and video calls moving along, and to avoid them running past the allotted time, create and follow an agenda. Be sure to share the agenda with your meeting recipient beforehand, so they can come prepared to the call as well. By having a meeting structure, you can keep the conversation moving and lessen the chance of tangents. However, always include an opportunity to recap or to ask questions at the end of the call. Everything should be clear, including objectives and next steps.
7. Ensure Your Business Technology is Up to Date
The best virtual communication skill you can have is keeping your technology up to date. It’s crucial to have reliable devices, from laptops to headphones to phones. This includes updating devices and having reliable hosting. With a cloud-based service, all your business communications can be connected, including desk phones, voicemail, email, fax, SMS messaging, video meetings, and more. Your team can operate from all over the state, country, or world—and stay connected through one unified system.
If you’re interested in cloud technology for your business, connect with VoiceNEXT. Our hosted PBX system is ideal for small to mid-size companies with the ability to scale as you grow. Contact us online to learn more.