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Virtual communication often lacks the nonverbal clues we notice with in-person conversations.
To compensate, we often make assumptions or jump to conclusions that can cause harm to our work relationships.
Instead of acting on your assumptions, go to the facts. Understanding the individual styles of employees can also give interactions more context and help avoid misunderstandings.
To avoid unnecessary conflict, it is essential to understand the nuances of colleagues and how they work.
Accept that others may not work and communicate the same way you do. If you see someone looking to the side during a video conference, instead of thinking they are not paying attention, understand that they may really be taking notes. Another person may want to spend time on a connection before they engage with the content.
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Reaching out privately to a colleague can feel weird because making the active decision to initiate a conversation usually creates the expectation that you want something.
So explain why you're ...
Reaching out and offering your help to a new colleague, for example, is a great way to start a conversation.
It can feel weird, but in a remote setup, this is the only way these chats will happen.
A great way to start a conversation with a teammate is to respond privately to comments made in public channels.
Bonding with colleagues in the real world is easy. It the virtual world, the tools we have available are video conferences, group messages, and email - all cold forms of communication.
Dale Carnegie published a book - How to Win Friends and Influence People. The importance of smiling is among his tips. If you seem pleased to see someone, they will be happy to see you.
If you don't have a natural smile, say "great great great" in verses of three, to get the same effect.
Finding common ground is a first step to being charming.
Discussing the whole world of pandemic and common weather-related experiences is an excellent way to find that common ground.
To better build rapport and counter isolation do the following:
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.
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.