Join Tatiana Kolovou for an in-depth discussion in this video Communicating remotely, part of Communication Tips Weekly.
- It's not what you say, it's how you say it. If you work from a home office or another remote location, this motto can get complicated. The core of this saying relates to psychologist's, Albert Mehrabian's research, which tells us about the meaning of a message. He found that 55% of a message is carried by non-verbal expression, 38% by the way our words come across, and only a mere 7% of the meaning is communicated in the exact words we use.
How does this play out when you work remotely? Is the meaning of a message carried along the same way on the phone or on chat? Here are a few questions to consider when you choose a communication channel for your remote workplace operation. What do I need to accomplish? Am I trying to inform, persuade, or just establish a relationship? The overall approach is different when you're pitching a specific idea, or just discussing in general terms.
Who is my audience and what works best for them? Knowing what channel will work best for the other person will give you a better chance of being heard. What is the relationship? Is this my boss, my colleague, or a new client? This question ties well to the previous ones. See, sometimes, you wanna be more formal, and other times, more casual. The channel you choose will need to reflect this choice. For example, calling someone on the phone to invite them to an event works better when you're sending an email, if you're trying to build a relationship.
Do I need to have a record? Most all business communication leaves a paper, or an electronic trail. If you need to keep track of information, be sure to use the channel that makes the information retrievable. Does the situation require energy or emotion? This allows you to strategize before you choose a communication channel. Examples of what I define as communication include a situation that requires energy, such as brainstorming meeting, or a negotiation, a conflict resolution, a sensitive topic, or delivery of bad news.
Is the topic a task that is simple or complex? This is pretty self-explanatory, and, also, a good time to determine your audience's familiarity with a given task. Your remote workplace choices are email, memo, chat or text, video conference, or a phone call. After you've identified the best option for your audience, your goal, and the relationship, focus more on the area of energy and task. Memo: This is the most formal of all remote communication channels, and can be used to confirm a conversation, information of previous discussions you've had with your audience.
Email: Also a good channel to use when the task is low on complexity, and you're just sharing information. Email can be used when the task is high on complexity, and can preface a phone call, where more attention should be paid to emotion than relationship building. Always be cautious with communicating in a humorous, ironic, or sarcastic tone in this channel, as it can easily be misinterpreted. Chat or text: Like email, it can be great for low task conversations, but if there's more emotion involved, you may wanna choose a more personable channel, like email or phone.
Phone call: You may have heard this before, but if an email conversation requires more than three transactions, you're likely to be more efficient by picking up the phone. This channel is media richer, and needed when the situation is more intense, more emotional, or more complex. Finally, video conference: When working remotely, this is the richest communication channel, and should be used if real life, face to face is not possible. Your best tool for communication effectiveness is strategy.
Take the time to think through the situation. Answer the diagnostic questions, and use the best channel, or even combine some channels, like phone call and email, or chat and email, to create the best results.
- Understanding introversion and extroversion
- Persuading people
- Negotiating your needs
- Making small talk
- Saying no
- And more…
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