Here’s what I wrote about listening for Virtual and Remote Teams:
Last week I focused on the first of three coaching skills which can be important to equip all virtual and remote team members with. While these are often considered “coaching skills for leaders” in the virtual and remote environment, building this capacity in our virtual team can enhance productivity, peer support and results.
Last week I explored GOALS. This week let us look at listening.
Communication occurs in many channels in the virtual space – from conversations by phone, to texts, to email and IM (Instant Messaging).
Each one has its advantages and disadvantages.
Research shows that a significant portion of our understanding comes from tone, which is lost when we lean into digital channels of communication – text, email and IM. This can lead to a lot of misunderstandings, misinterpretations and lack of clarity.
Our listening can be heavily influenced by a number of factors:
- Distractions (what we have on our plate, not reading things fully)
- Our relationship with the sender (what do we know about their context, their intent, their focus and priorities)
- Our understanding of the topic
- Thinking about what we want to say, rather than listening for what is really being said
When we are able to meet for voice conversations, we may hear the tone, if we are listening for it. Adding on visual cues – like streaming for a meeting instead of just using the phone – can add additional layers on to the conversation. Being able to share our screen and work together real-time can also help us understand the full context.
What are the things that are helping and hindering your virtual conversations?
Are distractions getting in the way? How are you using all the tools you have available? What are you doing to increase your understanding of other’s context and priorities?
There are many more tools and ideas available for virtual teams in these various resources from me:
- Part 3 of my 2017 book, Effective Virtual Conversations, focuses on virtual team development, meetings and communication.
- Check out the posts related to Coaching Skills and Virtual and Remote Teams over at the Teams365 blog.
Let me know how I can support your virtual team development. From virtual retreat facilitation, to offering virtual team coaching services, we specialize in virtual team support.
Leadership | Teamwork | Business Success
Author of multiple books including Effective Virtual Conversations (2017), PlanDoTrack (2019) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (2013)
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