Ace Remote Work Communication Skills with Distributed Teams

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Learn my top 5 communication strategies for collaborating with remote teams. You need to level up your virtual communication skills when your team is distributed worldwide, and improving these skills will also make you a better in-person communicator.

If you're working remotely with distributed teams, communication might be a bit more challenging than in the same office in the same time zone. But have no fear! Today I'm sharing five ways to enable you to communicate more effectively with your teammates while working remotely.

Let's get started.


These strategies will ramp up your remote working communication skills and apply to in-person roles. So keep them in mind for the days you're in the office.

(1) Initiate the Call
If you know your question or feedback for someone will turn into too long of an email, hop on a call with the person. Don't think that your meeting needs to be a long one! Just 10 or 15 minutes could easily suffice. If you require specific information to help move the needle forward on a project or there's a blocker on one of your critical dependencies, move the conversation to a call. You can schedule a virtual meeting or telephone call. Get your answers and keep going.

(2) Collaborate in Real Time
What's excellent about shared technology platforms is they have both asynchronous and synchronous features. When you're in collaboration mode, you can establish more transparent communication by linking your comments to the content. For example, if you're working on a presentation with your team, use something like Google Slides, where you'll be able to provide comments and questions that all team members can see and interact with in real-time.

(3) Be succinct
While being clear and concise is essential in verbal communication, it's perhaps even more critical in written exchanges like email. Be as clear and direct as you can. There's no need to beat around the bush and hedge and clarify what you're asking or instructing someone to do.

(4) Select the best channels
When it comes to communication channels, we all have our preferences. If you know that one of your team members is most responsive on Slack, send them a Slack message. If another college is more responsive over email, use email. And if you've got another colleague that prefers virtual calls, hop on a call. Even if you might not share their preferences, remember that your goal is to get an answer from them. For this reason alone, leverage the communication channels you know will allow you to hear from your teammates.  

(5) Respect Operating hours
With more and more of us working remotely or from home, boundaries get blurry. Get in touch with your colleagues during regular business hours, and respect the normal operating hours during which you can communicate and collaborate with colleagues. If you're in different time zones and they ping you during your off hours, if that's the time they're most engaged, it might be worth having a conversation about incorporating some flexibility in scheduling. Ultimately it comes down to striking a balance between setting work/life boundaries and getting the work done.


Alright, there you have it. Implement these five communication strategies when working remotely and with distributed teams and you'll experience better communication and create better business outcomes.


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