By now, most people have experienced the hidden difficulties of remote communication. In our first article, we explained key elements of a communication plan in remote times. You can read it here. In this second article, we focus on how to organise your communication and make it crystal clear before, during and after communicating.
Today, people miss a great deal of the non-verbal communication or corridor talks, what makes it much harder to pivot in online meetings. Therefore, more structure and higher clarity is needed. A great opportunity for both online and face2face meetings! One of the key learnings every organisation should impose itself now, is to keep this much better structured communication style also when face2face meetings are possible again.
Organising highly structured meetings, however, does not mean that we cannot brainstorm or go wild! If we aim for the latter, we just need to be crystal clear about it upfront and prepare ourselves accordingly.
Following elements are crucial nowadays in remote communication before the meeting itself:
Who is the owner of the meeting and what is his/her role? Will this person make the final decision in the end, or do you strive for collaborative decisions? The leader keeps the discussions in line with the original goal and scope of the meeting.
Who will keep track of timing of the meeting? It’s good practice to show visually the key decisions and next steps, even as raw notes, in the last 5 to 10 minutes of the meeting to make sure that all participants have the same understanding. Will that same person make the meeting minutes including the key decisions and next steps?
During the meeting, you will create much more clarity in your communication, by focusing on following points:
First, focus on down chunking your message. Moving communication with your team to a higher abstraction level while simultaneously switching online, is too much to handle for most people. Down chunking implies you need to prepare your message decently.
Second, think ahead about the different personalities of the people in your team and assess for yourself whether your communication is crystal clear for all of them. Can they interpret the message wrongly?
Great meeting owners re-evaluate the meeting in their mind and think about participation, what was said and what was not said, about the process, key conclusions, … Guiding a meeting and becoming better at it is a complex thing after all.
Every company has their own ”action system”, so let’s make sure that all key actions are integrated in your system and not sent separately in another mail. The latter approach might result in overlooked or forgotten actions.
As owner, check well ahead before the next meeting if people will be ready with their actions (and if not, why) so that that one will be also fruitful.
In our third and final article about remote communication, we share our key findings in how you can maintain energising and motivating communication with people. After all, planning your communication and making sure it is clear are two essential elements. Motivating your people with your communication however is the ultimate next level.