How to Improve Your Communicating and Influencing Skills
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly reshaped the modern business world and changed the way we communicate on a daily basis. Collaboration, communication, workflow, consistency, all of these and other processes have become challenges nowadays, especially for companies that were unprepared.
Now that brands are forced to adopt a remote work model, the challenge of maintaining efficiency can seem insurmountable. To survive and even thrive during a crisis, your remote teams need a true leader. Not only that, but you also need to improve team cohesion, manage workflow without wasting resources, and communicate more effectively. Otherwise, your remote operation can quickly dissolve into a disorganised mess. Luckily, though, there’s plenty you can do, like improving your communicating and influencing skills, and using the right tech.
Today, we’ll be taking a close look at the best practices you can use to manage your remote teams efficiently. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Start by Integrating a Collaboration Tool
Your first order of business is to make sure all of your projects are running smoothly. This might be easy when you’re in your office, but in this case, it can be a nightmare. Communicating with your team members is essential, but you also need a good project management tool. This is a centralised cloud-based platform that allows all of your teams to collaborate seamlessly and in real-time. Plus, it comes with various handy features to help you retain control and monitor progress with ease.
That said, choosing a reliable tool is kind of a chore that requires the old trial and error approach. Be sure to sign up for the free trial to see if the tool and its features fit nicely into your business model. This software should accommodate all your needs, so take your time to test it out and ask for employee feedback. The key objectives are to:
- Improve productivity.
- Facilitate real-time collaboration.
- Assign tasks and projects easily.
- Monitor performance and key metrics.
- Create comprehensive reports through onboard analytics.
- Track time spent on tasks and get detailed logs for each project.
When you have all these features, you can easily stay on top of every project, and all that without relying on lengthy email threads.
2. Build a Powerful Communication Hierarchy
Speaking of lengthy email communication, a big part of improving your communicating and influencing skills as a leader is knowing how to create a good communication hierarchy. Simply put, a communication hierarchy ensures that everyone knows exactly whom they report to and should communicate with daily. It also ensures that the right information and files reach the right person instead of getting lost in the noise.
If you don’t make a communication hierarchy though, you can expect to wake up every morning to a pile of emails. Needless to say, this is not the best way to maintain productivity or improve written communication in a remote team. Instead of wasting time forwarding emails to the right people, simply create a communication hierarchy, send it to your team members, and make sure they stick to it.
3. Efficient Communication With VoIP
Of course, effective and efficient communication is not just about the communication hierarchy, it’s also about the tools you use. Technology has allowed small business and global enterprises to run remote operations with ease – one of the leading technologies being VoIP. Voice over internet protocol is a cloud-based phone system that replaces legacy systems, bringing various digital features to your company.
There are many VoIP providers out there, so you need to take your time searching for the best VoIP service provider that is affordable and offers all of the features you need. Ideally, this should include a low-cost phone system for national and international calls. Additional features should include:
- Mobile optimisation and a dedicated app.
- Conferencing tools.
- Collaboration tools.
- Built-in analytics and reporting.
- Call forwarding.
- Speech-to-text functionalities.
- Virtual assistants.
- Scheduling tools.
- And more.
With the right VoIP system, you can communicate with your team members seamlessly and affordably no matter where they are.
4. Master Your Soft and Verbal Skills
Now that you have the right tech and hierarchy, you can start working on your soft and verbal skills to further enhance your remote communicating and influencing. The former refers to your demeanour and body language, the latter to how you talk to your employees. Both are easy to improve when working in an office, but in the online world, things tend to get complicated. That said, one of the leadership traits you need to possess is the ability to adapt to a new work environment.
Always keep in mind that your employees can only see the part of you that fits in the screen. Sometimes, they won’t be able to see you at all. This is why you need to learn to communicate more clearly and efficiently online.
You can start by turning your camera on and practising your hand gestures and facial expressions. Remember that people will want to see a smiling face but a professional and authoritative figure if you’re the leader. What’s more, practice keeping your hand gestures inside the camera frame.
Next, focus on your verbal communication. To understand you clearly, your employees need you to annunciate and talk just a tad slower than you’re used to. Remember that you’re not talking face-to-face, after all.
Aside from speaking more slowly, give ample time for people to jump in, write stuff down, and take frequent pauses. These pauses will ensure that everyone is keeping up and will allow them to catch up if they need to.
5. Be the Organiser Your Employees Need
Remote work can be hard for managers and employees alike in many ways. One of the common problems is that remote teams tend to become disorganised as time goes by. To prevent this, you as their leader need to step up and help your employees organise their work and their time in the digital office.
You can do this easily with a workflow management tool, like the one in your project management software. You also need to monitor your employees to discover any pain points they might have and help them overcome the challenge.
Be sure to organise everything neatly in your project management tool, send out daily reports and work overview, and schedule morning emails. This will help with communicating and influencing mission-critical tasks and your teams. The morning emails should contain short bullet points of the work ahead, and it works wonderfully well for small teams.
Communicating and influencing are two important processes every leader should improve in order for remote teams to thrive. To achieve this, you need to combine good leadership skills with the right tools, so be sure to use these tips to elevate efficiency and productivity in your remote teams.