Writing Tips for Remote Workers (And Everyone Else)
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This is one of the first pieces of advice people give to those seeking remote work.
When you work remotely, a few misplaced words can become an occupational hazard. Every word you type (or don’t) is important in conveying your ideas and communicating effectively with your colleagues.
While trying to convince your team, it is a good idea not to keep rambling and get to the point.
Lead with your key point, making the main point clear in the subject line or in the first sentence. Use bold fonts if required.
After the end of the video or audio call, the virtual gathering may have to be documented as minutes of the meeting (MOM) or simply the meeting notes.
Pre-meeting Prep: Instead of just writing the agenda, it is a good idea to write the key objectives and add context to keep people up to speed. If there are participants across time zones, make sure they would also be able to follow.
Lead your meeting notes with key takeaways, instead of the entire chronological script of the meeting.
Remote working has mainly two modes of communication, email type asynchronous communication, or an audio/video call.
Synchronous Communication is real-time and is best for discussing job performance, talking casually, brainstorming and to fire someone.
Asynchronous Communication is deferred (like email) and is best for important announcements, in-depth discussions, feedback and sharing of ideas.
One has to choose the right medium to be able to successfully request something specific. Also, find the balance of being gracious while making a specific request, yet be clear and explicit.
This is a literary device that makes your words interesting and confident, the direct approach is great for a business setting.
Saying ‘We made a Partnership with XYZ’ is a better way to convey the deal, than ‘A partnership was made with XYZ’.
Company-wide emails are an opportunity to use your storytelling skills and keep things interesting and engaging to the wide audience.
Summarizing a project’s success or failure is a great way to reflect within the group. It helps to be chronological and detailed, describing the impact, learning and conclusion.
Understand that writing always leaves room for (mis)interpretation, and make sure you are using emphatic words that convey kindness, honesty, positivity and team spirit.
Positivity is to be used, and negative language to be avoided. One should take up the opportunity to lift others up.
Also, avoid negative assumptions with accusing sentences formations that can backfire in minutes. Better to ask neutral and positive questions, in a cheerful way rather than assuming the worst.
There is increased isolation, anxiety and paranoia due to remote work, and many of the teammates can assume the worst in certain situations.
Keep your conversations transparent and honest, and keep motivating the teammates.
Triple check your message while sending across the entire company, getting it reviewed by your colleagues or even different departments.
If it’s a big announcement, try to let it sit for a few days before sending.
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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.
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