How to Effectively Communicate with Remote Team Members

Cartoon figures are trying to communicate across a chasm with megaphone and smoke signals

Many people struggle to communicate effectively even when they are in the same room. They mis-hear, mis-speak and mis-understand. But what about when you need to communicate remotely across the miles? The challenges are even greater.

There are ways, however, to connect well with colleagues who live and work at a distance. You just need to work a bit harder at what you learned in communication skills training. Here is how:

  • Acknowledge that it will be hard to keep in touch and that there will be obstacles to clear understanding (such as time differences, the need to schedule mutually convenient appointments, and the lack of body language signals that enhance meaning). Agree to work together to overcome the difficulties.
  • Use all the tools at your disposal. Beyond the phone, technology can help. Web cams or Skype can give you visual connections. As well, there are ways to link documents from one computer to another so you can work simultaneously on edits and the exchange of ideas.
  • Set up regular meetings. Once you plan on the once-a-week schedule, you can keep mid-week notes on what you need to discuss. There will be major items to cover as well as the personal news that helps to build and strengthen relationships.

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