3. Through the screen: tips for effective virtual communication
Since 2020, our way of contacting people has changed, not only with our loved ones, but also with our co-workers. Virtuality was a way to continue working when we could not see each other in person and became the best option for remote contact.
Although restrictions are no longer as tight as they were a year ago, virtuality is here to stay in some ways. Many companies have discovered that this can be an efficient and functional way of working, and, therefore, work dynamics have adapted to this shift. So, communication should also adapt to this change:
- Be aware of your online behaviours: virtuality, despite being a bit intimidating, should not be a reason to neglect our communication skills. Make sure there is a good connection and the necessary technological elements are working well; communicate your opinion assertively without being petulant or aggressive with the interlocutor, and do not neglect verbal communication. These keys will help you stay in the present when you are online.
- Active listening is essential: before speaking, it is necessary to listen. This gesture of receiving is the best indicator to know how the conversation is going, and we do it when we recognize statements -it should be clarified that ‘recognize’ is not ‘agree’- and we understand, that is, we are aware of the opinions. If the conversation becomes tense or emotionally strong, it is best to create a safe space for expression, step away from the content and reset your mind.
- Remember to show emotion: showing your emotions will improve your communication effectiveness. This is particularly important in difficult conversations, so don’t let the screen anesthetize your expressions. This behaviour will improve confidence in the conversation. Keep in mind that the tone of your voice can demonstrate certain emotions, control it well and smile when appropriate, this will break the tension and make the dialogue flow optimally.
- Deal with extreme levels of reaction: people who have an unusually high or low level of reaction present certain problems, and how you handle this is all about communication skills. It’s important to keep your focus and facts clear if people seem unresponsive; it’s important that you don’t try to fill the communication gap, you could make everything worse. In a meeting, be sure to check the opinions and contributions of ALL participants and value them.
- Don’t let discussions lead to a breakdown in communication: when a meeting is effective people respond positively or constructively to each other’s contributions. Here communication is in a satisfactory state. However, when the meeting is not effective and tensions rise there is a risk of communication breakdown and this is the worst-case scenario, so if this happens, taking the time to listen will give you the space and calm to fully consider other opinions.
Benefits of effective communication and teamwork
To take into account the true impact of good communication in the work environment, all aspects that prevent conflicts or misunderstandings and help employees support each other must be addressed. Effective communication at work brings numerous benefits:
- Distribution of tasks and resources in a more efficient way, helping to reduce production times.
- Motivating employees in a healthy way. With effective communication, they will feel more committed to the objectives, the colleagues and the leader who coordinates them.
- Team focuses on specific objectives, which allows everyone to move in the same direction as there are no misunderstandings or errors due to communication failures.
- All team members will feel heard and have a voice.