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9 Ways Remote Workers Can Advance Communication Skills 01 June, 2021   

It’s 2021 and, as the pandemic refuses to peter out and the world tries to adapt, remote work is proving to be a popular alternative to the traditional office environment.

Working remotely comes with numerous benefits. For one, you don’t have to contend with a long and essentially time-wasting commute to and from work. You can also craft your work environment to your liking with a freedom that you wouldn’t typically enjoy in an office cubicle. You also get to spend plenty of time with loved ones. Even though you will be busy during normal working hours, you can spend your breaks with them, and the feeling of knowing you’re around, albeit busy, can be crucial to your bonding. For a lot of companies, remote work also comes with new ways to measure performance. A growing number of companies are measuring output, rather than time clocked, to determine productivity. So as long as you get the job done, and gives you even more freedom.

But remote work also comes with its own set of challenges. One of the most prominent is communication. With the lack of proximity, the bandwidth for communication is severely limited, and it is necessary to learn new skills to communicate as effectively as you did before. If communication has never been your strong suit, now is a good time to learn to communicate, as effective communication can make or break a remote team.

In this article, we will help you do just that. We will go through some of the most useful tips you can use to advance your communication as a remote worker. And now, without further ado, let’s get to it!

1. Adapt to people’s preferred communication

Maybe one of your colleagues prefers to communicate via formal emails, while your manager prefers WhatsApp messages. Your CEO might like video calls. While many companies like to streamline communication, it can be beneficial to adapt to different people’s preferences, as it makes them more likely to quickly respond in case you need them. It warms them up to you. A good first step is to figure out what kinds of communication channels everyone likes, and then work to meet those needs when communicating with them.

2. Learn as many communication technologies as you can

This works as a sort of corollary to the point above. If you’re going to try and cater to different people’s communication preferences, you may as well learn and be fluent in as many communication technologies as you can. Start by learning about all the communication preferences the company itself promotes. You don’t necessarily need to be a guru in every single one of them, but at least be skilled enough to use them well when communicating.

3. Learn to write

One particularly prominent method of communication, whether in the office cubicle or at home, is writing. If you aren’t a good writer already, you should start learning. Even if much of your communication happens via phone or video call, the vast majority of your communication as a team will be in written form. You, therefore, owe it to yourself to become a better writer and editor (since you will need to edit your own writing before you dispatch it).

One of the major advantages of written communication is that it can easily be parsed by a search engine and is therefore searchable internally and externally. It also forces us to think more critically about our ideas and formulate them more clearly. While you linearly organize your thoughts when speaking, writing allows you to explore other kinds of construction, since you can always go back and edit earlier parts of the thinking process. It is therefore much easier to create a thought masterpiece when you write it down than when you simply speak it.

4. Try to be concise, clear, and consistent

The 3 C’s are your friend, no matter what kind of communication channel you’re using. To be concise means to be efficient with your words. Don’t put fluff into your communication, whether it is a formal email or a phone call, especially with everyone’s busy schedule. To be clear means keeping things simple and sticking to the facts. To be consistent means knowing in advance the time and method of communication, as well as the message you will deliver.

5. But don’t discard small talk entirely

While it is good to handle your business formally and effectively, the fact is that you’re still working with humans, and should therefore put in the effort to build a connection with your colleagues to make for better communication. The best place to do this is on an online chat channel. Ask your boss to make one if it doesn’t already exist, and use it to talk both about work and casual stuff. Get to know each other – it will make it easier to work together.

Time management

You might be in a different time zone than the rest of your team. This can make working together with a little tricky, but not necessarily impossible.

6. Focus on the message you get

At the heart of it, communication is about sending messages. On the one hand, there is the message sent, and on the other the one received. Focus your energy on the message received to be a good communicator. That way, the focus is more on the sender and not on yourself, and it will save you a lot of misinterpretation.

7. Assume the best

Communication at a distance is a breeding ground for incorrect assumptions, so try your best not to fall into that trap. A good rule of thumb is to always assume positive intent from the other side.

8. Ensure your own messages are clear

The above two points are about taking the most forgiving stance about the messages sent by others. With yourself, however, you must be a little more exacting. Try to make your own messages as clear as possible to minimize the possibility of the receiver misinterpreting them.

9. Personal contact is still valuable

While all of these tips help you communicate better at a distance, there is still value in face-to-face interactions. Try to look for as many opportunities as you can to meet your colleagues face to face. This helps build your rapport and makes for even better communication in the future.

Conclusion

These valuable tips can help you succeed as a remote worker and multiply your productivity at work. Try to apply them, step by step, and see yourself become a better communicator and more valuable employee.

communication skills communication remote work

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