Communication blocks and how to remove them: Virtual meetings and texts
Virtual meetings over apps like Zoom, Webex, Go To Meet, Google Meet, etc., have become a fixture over 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While many struggled initially to get the hang of doing work over the internet, virtual communication has now come into its own. Yet, despite being “connected,” the chances of miscommunication are many and must be addressed.
Typical situations where communication snafus can arise during virtual meetings are:
Handing over the meeting to another person
Keeping the meeting on track
Rambling on/ hijacking the meeting
Zoom fatigue and distractions
Here are some ideas to streamline communication and effectively convey your key points during virtual meetings:
Prep ahead. Create and distribute a clear agenda to all attendees. This will help set the tone and pace before the meeting even begins.
Keep your slide deck ready. Centre it on the key issues that need to be addressed during the meeting.
Build a reputation as someone who conducts productive and actionable meetings. This will keep your team on their toes and enthusiastic about attending meetings, knowing that there won’t be any time-wasting, rambling, or deviation from the agenda at hand.
End the meeting only after every attendee has a clear idea of how to proceed
Use tools that make things convenient. For instance, the “recurring meeting” setting available in Zoom or Google Meet to avoid sending a new URL each time and to lock-in dates, weekdays, and times for a repetitive meeting schedule.
Have an attendee keep the minutes of the meeting in a shared Google Doc that everyone will have access to. This is a great touchpoint for the subsequent meeting to go over what was decided and check in from there.
Similarly, texting is here to stay. Since this is one medium used in both formal and informal settings, one has to be wary and not allow one tone to bleed into another. As a communication medium, texts are great, as the stats say that 95% of texts are read within 3 minutes and responded to within 90 seconds. This kind of rapid response prevents you from being stuck. You can move ahead much faster than if you sent an email and sat around waiting for clarification.
Yet, texts can be misused or misinterpreted. These are some tips you must keep in mind if texting is one of the ways through which your team officially communicates:
Always proofread before you send a text and save a lot of Autocorrect-based embarrassment.
Adhere to your work hours to send texts, unless it’s imperative.
Text someone to ask whether it is a good time to call before directly calling them.
Use text only when you want a quick response with minimal disruption.
Thank the person you texted after they answer your query.
Don’t text confidential or patient information to anyone
Do not fall into the trap of becoming too informal
Don’t communicate in emojis
Stay clear of abbreviations- OMG, LOL, and such
Never, ever rite lyk dis
In addition to these, it is a good practice to save important texts in a more permanent medium. If you are sent important links or references, or tasks via text, capture them in a work-flow app or save them in the relevant document to avoid having to dig through text messages.
Don't miss the Email 101 post in this series - Communication blocks and how to remove them: The 101 guide to better emails