Did you know that according to statistics, almost 91 million Americans have been offered the option to work remotely, either part-time or full-time, since the COVID-19 pandemic?
While remote work has many benefits, including flexibility, no-travel time, and expenses, employees who work from home often feel disconnected from their companies, managers, and colleagues.
So, one of the reasons for this disconnection is miscommunication or lack of communication. Working from home can inhibit our ability to discern the emotions of our colleagues and prevent us from picking up non-verbal cues.
So, to bridge the divide in virtual meetings, here are some ways to improve your communication skills.
Be Composed In Online Meetings
Your audience can sense your composure in online meetings. So, if you feel calm, you’ll be able to communicate effectively with your audience. And if you’re visibly only paying attention to your thoughts, appearance, or yourself, the audience will be able to sense that you’re ill-prepared and distracted. They’ll also sense a lack of authority and confidence in your tone and mannerisms.
However, there are some things you can do to feel more composed, confident, and relaxed:
- Be more animated, and use non-verbal cuesto reinforce your message and content.
- Speak at an audible voice level. It should not be too loud that it distracts others from your message.
- Eliminate pause-fillers and repetitionslike “um,” “er,” “ah,” etc., and maximize your fluency.
- Refrains from fidgeting, playing with your hair, and other distractions.
- Avoid sitting so rigidly, tensing, or frequently shifting in place, and be aware of your body language at all times.
You need to think of your composure as a “stage presence” through rehearsal. Although there are many parallels between virtual meetings and performing arts, the more you practice, the better you’ll get and the more comfortable you’ll be in online meetings. So, keep practicing until you get it right.
Be Receptive To Others In Virtual Communication
You should try to show trust, openness, and interest in the conversations happening in the virtual meeting. You need to open up and listen to your colleagues’ ideas and suggestions. Here are some things you can do to improve your receptivity:
- You need to affirm the stories, problems, and experiences of your colleagues while using active listening techniques.
- Be authentic and honest
- Nod and acknowledge your colleague’s feelings and thoughts
- Don’t be afraid to laugh aloud with others when appropriate; it can show receptivity and presence.
- Look directly into the camera when responding or listening to your audience. It creates the illusion and impression that you’re facing them.
- Don’t forget to smile when interacting with members of the audience.
Receptivity will help improve your team’s morale if you’re leading a virtual meeting while also strengthening your leadership image. Once you have your receptivity skills pat down, you’ll be more successful in conveying your message and achieving your goals.
Work On Immediacy And Warmth When Addressing Your Audience
Immediacy refers to the connection your audience perceives when engaging in virtual communication. So, in other words, try to think of what impact you’ll have on your audience when you engage with them.
Here are some behaviors and cues that’ll help create immediacy:
- Lean in towards the camera to remove the sense of distance between you and your audience.
- Look directly into the camera when you’re speaking
- Speak in the present tense if you can and include pronouns like “our” and “we” to increase inclusiveness
- Reinforce your points and use facial expressions
- Use gestures to reinforce your words, and try to speak with your hands
- Be animated and involved in the conversation
- Vary the pace, volume, and pitch of your voice so your audience can focus on your words
- Convey enthusiasm when speaking about a topic. If you’re bored and uninterested, it’ll reflect in your non-verbal cues and voice.
Try To Be Punctual And Respectful
Behind every virtual screen is a real person. So, even if you’re not able to see your employees face-to-face, remember that they deserve the same respect as you would give them in person.
If you fail to respect your colleagues’, friends’, or audience members’ time, it can lead to under-productivity and disengagement. So, try to join the meeting on time or even early. Ensure that you have the video link set up, so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute trying to find a headset. You can also make it easier for others to include video links in the calendar invites you send to the attendees.
Moreover, since the virtual meeting is still a meeting, try to dress up for it. Take a shower, put on a clean shirt, and move your computer to a place with a professional-looking background. Take a break to refresh your mind, or grab a coffee or water to hydrate and invigorate yourself. Do whatever you have to do to get into a professional mindset.
Actively Listen, Don’t Interrupt, And Get To The Point
Don’t interrupt when someone is speaking or try to cut them off with off-topic conversations, just as you wouldn’t interrupt someone about non-work-related issues. Also, try to get to the point as quickly as possible. The more you go on and on, the more your audience will lose interest in your message.
Reach Out To Us At Our C-Suite Executive Search Firm In NY
If you’re looking for C-Suite executives with high communication skills to uplift the management and leadership at your organization, Cochran, Cochran & Yale can help. Our recruitment consultant ny and recruiters can help find the best for your company.
Get in touch with us today for more information on our CFO job search service