The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it had taken place.
Too many meetings are ending \with unclear priorities, poorly delegated dependencies, and a lower confidence in the team’s direction.
It’s a hard challenge — and it just got harder.
If you’re like most industries, even your biggest problems have taken a back seat to responding to the new reality of remote work.
It’s never been more vital for leaders to skillfully communicate with their teams in order to thrive during this time of uncertainty.
In my experience, and from working alongside many amazing technical leaders, I’ve found many subtle but powerful communication methods that make it easier to improve team collaboration, even if there’s a physical divide.
In fact, I’ve put together a whole eBook on the eight best communication strategies to leverage during this period of isolation. It’s a great resource if you want to dig even deeper and uncover new opportunities for your team.
Feel free to check it out!
But for now, here are eight easy ways you can make your team conversations more clear and more powerful:
Paraphrasing – “It sounds like you’re saying…”
Put the concept into your own words, giving everyone the opportunity to confirm or recalibrate what they’ve just heard. Especially in the remote world, where technology can muddle or drown out conversations, it’s valuable to have concepts echoed and agreed upon with your team.
Drawing people out – “Tell me more about that.”
Drawing people out helps every team member make a deeper connection with what’s said. By coaxing team members to take their idea a little further, it often serves to highlight whether the idea is truly well parsed or if it needs some more time to be considered.
Tracking – “Here’s what I’m hearing so far.”
If a conversation is going well, it can be tempting to put the meeting on autopilot or even get lost in the conversation. However, great leaders interject skillfully to assist the clarity of conversations without derailing them.
Encouraging – “Who else has an idea that we haven’t heard from?”
Whether it’s empowering a junior team member or elevating the voice of an introverted contributor, encouragement will not only produce great feedback that would otherwise go unsaid, but it coaches your team to form opinions more readily and support their thoughts. Don’t let a great idea be put on mute.
Balancing – “Are there other ways to look at this issue?”
Being stuck between a rock and a hard place is not an option for technical leaders. Balancing allows leaders to reframe polarizing ideas or impending roadblocks in a way that challenges the status quo.
Validating – “I see what you’re saying.”
Leaders make tough choices all the time. And the choice to accept certain feedback over other feedback can be potentially alienating for some team members. Validating lets leaders legitimize all opinions without declaring them necessarily correct.
Linking – “Help me understand how your idea links up with this topic.”
The best facilitators capitalize on every opportunity. That means taking even tangential, seemingly off-topic statements and connecting the dots for the larger team. Maybe the link exists, maybe it does not — but it’s your job as a leader to cultivate all perspectives thoughtfully.
Summarizing – “Before we wrap this up, here’s what we discussed…”
Deep, meaningful conversations are hard to organize as they’re happening. It’s never been more important across remote teams for leaders to bring conversations to a close with a recap that bridges what was said to what must be done next. Summarizing is the jumping off point your team uses once the Zoom call has ended.
Thanks for taking the time to read these tips. If you’d like more helpful content, be sure to follow Evolve Agility on LinkedIn, where we share amazing thought leadership all the time.