Working with virtual teams brings unique communication and engagement challenges. Because your team is scattered across different locations, most communication happens via online tools and teleconference calls. You don’t have face-to-face conversation. You can’t just pop into your teammate’s office and see what they’re working on, or casually jump into a discussion over a coffee break.
Sure, there are conference and video calls, and you may schedule regular meetings to catch up with your team, keep them updated and coordinate their work. But how do you ensure that participants stay focused, engaged and active? It’s easy to get distracted on a conference call when you’re sitting alone in a home office (“Just a quick peak of my emails…will anyone even notice?”).
I have put together my favorite tips to improve the quality of communication with a virtual team:
Preparation: Keep the meeting agenda structured and time-balanced.
- Keep the same format and roughly the same agenda on regular calls; this will help your team know what to expect and be prepared.
- Make your agenda balanced to cover all important topics. Your team members don’t each other face to face, and regular calls may be the only opportunity to discuss topics concerning the whole team.
- Monitor time and be sure you cover the entire agenda. Each
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