To better build rapport and counter isolation do the following:

  • smile, tilt your chin lower so you're not looking down on them, and slow down your speech during your video calls, so you come across as being more credible.
  • set a finish time before starting a conversation with someone new to reduce the initial wariness.
  • Be more likable and validate others by listening to them and suspending your ego. Put aside your wish to contribute to the conversation and ask short, open questions like how, when, and why.

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Career

Relying On Text The Right Way

Voice and video calls can help you feel more in touch with your team and avoid the issues of asynchronous communication like time lags or misunderstandings.

However, you'll likely spend a lot of your day communicating via text as it’s a good way to interact without interrupting their work. So you need to be able to get your point across clearly and simply, show empathy and understanding, and be efficient to avoid wasted time.

Staying Up To Date

Remote workers can feel overwhelmed by the amount of text they have to process. So finding ways to keep on top of what's going on is imperative for communicating efficiently with others.

Create archive lists and CC irrelevant emails to them, so you can save and share them without flooding non-involved people. 

Remember Hanlon's Razor

Hanlon's razor refers to the idea that we should always assume ignorance before malice. This is especially important in situations where you're missing context.

If you're communicating via text with co-workers who are multiple time zones away, try to always assume ignorance before malice if you have a misunderstanding.

Asserting Yourself When Needed

One way to compensate for the lack of context in remote communication is to be more forward and open than you normally would. But doing so you're more likely to misread and bug people because you lack otherwise obvious physical signs that would let you adjust your behavior tactfully.

To reduce that issue it’s necessary to share that context explicitly with each other. An alternative is to set up rules for common issues ahead of time so everyone is more likely to be open about what they need and friction is reduced.

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Over-Emphasize Onboarding

With affective trust being so important to foster at the beginning of a relationship, onboarding new hires well becomes even more critical for virtual team building.

You can partner newcomers with experienced employees and have a formal onboarding process at the company, or at least a partially in-person one, with expenses covered by the company.

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IDEAS

  1. Allow Offline work, so that team members do some real work.
  2. Use the right communication tool.
  3. Minimize status meetings, as they are mostly a waste of time.
  4. Make Transparency the default setting.
  5. Overcommunicate to make sure all the pieces of information are in place and known to all.
  6. Adapt, as you grow in scale, as what is working for 5 people won’t work for 500.

Video calls and other forms of synchronous communication still serves a function. However, synchronous communication should be made available asynchronously:

  • For occasional synchronous meetings, find reasonable time for everyone. Ensure ideal time slots are rotated between team members.
  • Try having everyone call in from their respective desks and computers to eliminate side conversations.
  • Record video calls and make them available for viewing later in a central place for all team members.

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