Whether you run a business with a virtual team like I do with my virtual accounting business or have a brick and mortar location, communication is key to a healthy workplace environment. As an entrepreneur who has virtual staff, I am cognizant of the need for effective communication, especially as the team typically “talks” via email and text messages.

Without body language to go with words, there is no tone or frame of reference and this can sometimes make virtual communication murky. My team and I understand each other well enough to know that if there is miscommunication, we will stop the virtual communication and take it to a phone call (often a conference call) to get clarification and make sure we are all being understood properly.

Here are my tips for fostering good business team communication: Picture1

  1. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Confirmation that they received and understood what they are to do is vital. If this is a new task or client, ask what their understanding is of what you’re asking them to do. This saves time and frustration on everyone’s part.
  2. Get to the bottom of any misunderstandings quickly. Keep in mind, it could be that a team member didn’t understand or is having a personal issue that has carried over into their work day. If you don’t know that, you won’t know that you need to communicate more clearly with that person.
  3. Work with the individuals involved in the miscommunication to get to the underlying issue and resolve it. Your managers may take this role on with the staff they supervise, but as the business owner you may want to step in if resolution doesn’t appear imminent.
  4. Design a solution for the miscommunication’s problem only after you thoroughly understand its origin.
  5. Implement your solution after you’ve received staff buy in; agreement is critical. Set up a time frame and revisit the solution to see if It’s been effective.
  6. If the solution is not achieving the desired results, you will want to sit down with all parties involved (because we are virtual, we use Skype for this), open up a dialogue and not leave the conversation until it’s resolved or understood.
  7. If staff buy in doesn’t come, consider if it’s just a time when personalities simply don’t mesh and the “fix” to the issue might be to reassign individuals. If it is really a serious communication issue with no staff buy in, consider whether this is a person who should remain on your team?

How do you foster good workplace communication?

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