Communication in the virtual world

Communication in the virtual world

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.

Despite the challenges associated with online tool, there are simple rules we can use the make colleagues and clients like us.

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Zoom meetings could be used to grow a connection and build ideas. It's important to be fully present.

  • Prepare for virtual meetings as you would for any other. If you're meeting a new colleague, find out what their history is and what interests or motivates them.
  • Use the features of the software you're using to your advantage. For team drinks, add virtual backgrounds that tell people something about you or something funny. Zoom backgrounds can block out any distracting clutter. If you want to use virtual backgrounds, a simple and neutral background can help your audience to focus on what you're saying.

Flattery is not the same as acknowledgment. Flattery is either a cliche or insincere, whereas acknowledgment is about giving people due credit and making them feel seen.

To influence people and build a connection, tell people what they did right, not what they did wrong. That encourages them to do more of it. If someone makes a good point on a Zoom call, tell them so. Acknowledge them in a way that they don't hear all the time.

Storytelling is the first step to capturing someone's attention. Facts are up to 22 times more memorable when presented in story form. Once they're hooked, you can work on demonstrating how smart or interesting you are.

An easy way to improve your storytelling is to use sensory information or make comparisons. When Warren Buffet described the last financial crisis, he said, 'Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked.' He said this about the banks that borrowed money they couldn't afford to pay back, expecting no one would notice.

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.

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Digital Mirrors

As more and more interaction goes online due to work being increasingly remote, we find that we are staring at our digital selves on the laptop or smartphone screen more often than usual. Social scientists are looking at the long-term effects of being connected via screens in our homes, isolated from real people.

If we like ourselves, we would find pleasure in being on video calls, but if we are self-critical, the same negative feelings would be amplified. The screens act like digital mirrors, showing us more of what we believe in.

I can’t stop staring at my own face on Zoom - Experience Magazine

Remote work and the lack of context around communication

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.

How you’re unconsciously undermining relationships while working remotely

Job interviews are still mostly subjective and rarely focus on merit, work quality, or important job skills. There are always biases, preferences and on-the-spot decisions that are not entirely professional or by the book.

Pants or no pants? 3 tips for nailing a virtual job interview

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