If working in a virtual environment, or with a virtual team, is new to you, it can present some unique challenges. When something happens it’s not as simple as a walk across the hall to pop your head into your coworkers office to talk through the issue.
When you are virtual, you often don’t have the benefit of reading body language cues to pick up on the subtle undertones of what is being said. Instead, it falls on both parties to be concise, conscientious and clear when they are communicating with the team.
Here are a few communication best practices to keep in mind:
Personalize your communication to fit the other person’s needs
I always encourage new engagements to discuss preferences. One of those preferences is always around communication. How do you like to receive communication? Do you prefer voice messages or text based messages? Are you a detail person or do you prefer to get straight to the point? Do you prefer some small talk upfront before diving into the details?
It’s important for both the business owner and the VA to understand the other person’s preferences so they can adjust their communication to the other person’s needs. Some great tools for this are the DiSC and Enneagram profiles.
Ask clarifying questions when you are unsure
Have you ever received an email that you just didn’t really know what it meant? In a virtual team environment, it’s almost guaranteed this will happen! Before jumping to conclusions, ask some clarifying questions first. Eventually, the two of you will be able to infer a conclusion based on the information already at hand, but in the beginning it’s best to be as clear and thorough as possible when making requests and passing on information.
When discussing difficult items, use video or audio communication
It can be very difficult to have the right tone of voice come across in written communication. If you find yourself needing to course correct or have a difficult conversation, I always recommend going the route of a video or audio communication tool. It is simply too easy for the other person to take what you said in an email out of context. Adding the video/audio component can help ensure everyone stays on the same page.
Be an active listener
One of the biggest indicators of great communication is when both parties are active listeners. Active listening is when you are being present, in the moment, paying attention to what is being said without thinking about what you will say next. Active listeners don’t jump in and interrupt, trying to get their point across. Instead they listen, think about what was said, ask clarifying questions and truly process the information being given to them. When both parties are practicing active listening, this is truly the secret to good communication in a virtual environment.
“Barrier Consulting has changed my business and my life. Evonne and her team keep my business goal-focused; moving projects faster toward success (and helping us look good doing it)! Everything they have helped with not only frees up my time and reduces stress but increases revenue too! My business would grow at snail speed without Barrier Consulting.”
– Pam Harjo, Youth Scoreboards
Are you ready to bring someone alongside you to help your business grow? Book your FREE consultation to learn how one of our Virtual Assistants can help take that overwhelm off your shoulders.