Why You Need To Assume That No One Is Listening

And What To Do About It

Let’s set aside the issue of having too many e-communications tools — from Slack to Facebook Messenger, from a phone call to email, and from WhatsApp and Telegram to Zoom, Signal, and Discord — and assume that your company has been able to give your workers an understanding of when to use each. The fact remains that remote work necessitates more skillful communication.

Businesses can no longer make assumptions about their manager’s ability to ensure effective communications. Firms need to ensure their managers devise and implement reliable communication practices. The more you standardize communication, the more focused and targeted it will be — substantially reducing the chance of missing or misconstruing messages.

A strong communication structure might involve each team member getting a weekly chat with the team lead, a monthly team meeting, and a quarterly all-hands call. To support your messaging, your firm could also have a regular newsletter or blog and a public dashboard available 24/7, displaying the latest company news, notes, and thoughts for the day.

Staffers, meanwhile, should always look to encourage engagement and understanding. In face-to-face conversations, for instance, it’s often difficult to ignore what the other person is telling you. Remote communications, on the other hand, can be exceedingly easy to miss or ignore. This is why one of our most repeated bits of remote communications advice is: Don’t assume anyone is paying attention to anything you write or say.

Active listening, a tried-and-true method in face-to-face meetings, becomes even more critical in the remote setting. When you’re on the receiving end of a communication, make it a point to paraphrase what you’ve heard for clarity. If you’re the one conveying the message, prompt participants to reiterate key points, ensuring comprehension across virtual boundaries.

Don’t overlook the utility of modern video conferencing platforms like Zoom, MS Teams, and Webex, which often come with built-in transcription features. These transcriptions can be plugged into your AI tool of choice to churn out meeting minutes in no time. Take it further by capturing action items directly into your go-to project management software. This not only keeps people accountable but also helps them remember their commitments.

This realization that there’s a decent chance your messages will be ignored should help spur remote workers to craft more intelligible and effective messages that aim to appeal to the recipient rather than highlight their own concerns. After all, if the main risk is nobody paying attention, shouldn’t engaging the recipient be the primary objective?

Message writers should focus their communications on their audience’s concerns and interests. Let’s say recently hired telecommuter Jane is messaging her remote colleague Thomas because she wants to know how she should process the latest data files. She might frame it by reminding Thomas that the quicker she’s able to process the data, the sooner she’ll be able to get started on the report he needs her to do. Suddenly, Thomas has more reason to respond quickly and helpfully.

Jane could go even further and also inform Thomas that the faster she’s able to finish the report he needs, the sooner they’ll be able to show their boss some real progress toward a key strategic objective. That would be next-level engagement — the kind that tends to drive serious business growth, which is what we at Virtira aim to instill.



The Power of Remote

With increased demand for hybrid and fully remote work styles, most firms understand that some form of distance work is here to stay – and have put some remote protocols in place. But are they the right ones?

It’s time to take advantage of the many opportunities remote work presents. Stop saying “we’re not there yet,” and start saying “we’ve arrived!”

This book will show you how.



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