In any personal or professional relationship, communication is crucial to success. Remote work is no different, but it requires a new, more intentional type of communication that might feel foreign, or maybe even awkward for you to implement.
We have all heard that about the fact that 55% of our communication is nonverbal, meaning that facial expressions, gestures, posture, and body positioning are all integral cues for the message we are trying to convey. However, when speaking to someone via phone or video, these cues are limited, and so is the efficacy of our message. During a virtual conversation, we’re working with 45% of communication to convey 100% of our message.
Let that sink in for a moment… During a virtual conversation, we’re working with 45% of communication to convey 100% of our message. Let me translate that into remote work lingo for you: Words matter more on a distributed team than they do on a co-located team.
What does this mean for virtual managers and workers? It means that you have to use your words. Use them often, and use them well. It means that you can’t hide from phone calls or emails. It means that you have to expand your sentences from, “Good job,” to “Good job on that report. I appreciate that you submitted it a few days early.” It means that you have to bluntly ask your teammate why they’re having a bad day instead of looking for clues in their cubicle.