Effective Communication for Remote Teams
Effective communication is critical for remote teams, as it helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards common goals. This is especially critical within the startup ecosystem, where the landscape shifts rapidly.
Here are some tips that I believe improve communication in a remote setting:
Over-communicate: When working remotely, it’s important to over-communicate and provide more context and detail than you might in a face-to-face setting. This helps to avoid misunderstandings and confusion.
Use clear and concise language: When writing emails or messaging colleagues, use clear and concise language to get your point across. Avoid using slang or technical terms that others may not understand.
Establish regular check-ins: Regular check-ins, whether through video conferencing, phone calls, or messaging, help to keep everyone in the loop and foster a sense of community among remote team members. You’ll know what sort of meeting cadence works for your team/startup, but in my experience what is critical is sticking to the pre-agreed schedule. Last-minute cancellations lead to inefficient comms.
Use a project management tool: Project management tools such as Asana, Trello, or Monday.com can help remote teams stay organized and track the progress of projects asynchronously, meaning to aforementioned check-ins can focus on looking forwards, rather than retrospective catch-ups.
Document decisions and discussions: Keeping a written record of discussions and decisions helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page and reduces the risk of confusion or misinterpretation. I’m not advocating taking exhaustive notes, but rather to document key outcomes and actions (directly into a project management tool, if you’re looking to minimise admin).
Encourage open and honest feedback: Creating a culture of open and honest feedback helps to build trust and improve communication within a remote team. Encourage team members to share their thoughts and opinions openly and honestly. Look out for the introvert who might find speaking up on a video call even-more difficult than in person. Build a meeting structure around facilitating this.
Celebrate successes: Celebrating successes, both big and small, helps to build morale and strengthen the bonds among remote team members. It reminds everybody what they’re working towards and why.
If one word were to convey the most important aspect of effective remote working, it would be communication. In all senses of the word.