Verbal and non-verbal communication forms part of how we engage with others in our daily life.
Verbal activity describes the words and signs we use.
Non-verbal activity describes the gestures and behaviours we present.
Clarity, tone, volume, pitch and mood forms part of the interaction and dialogue between people in the workplace.
Regular contact including clear and concise communication with colleagues is important to building effective working relationships and getting our work done.
In the virtual world, human connection is more important to people working remotely.
Even though remote workers may not have the physical presence of their colleagues alongside them, virtual body language can be used to communicate effectively.
Visual technology support including Skype, WhatsApp, Facetime and other specialist remote communication packages such as Horizon are available to help you maintain a virtual connection with remote colleagues and others.
When operating remotely using technology, your verbal and non-verbal communication activity focuses on the use of visual cues and virtual body language.
Importance of visual cues and body language
Highlighted below are eight points to help you when using visual technology.
1. Look into the camera.
2. Maintain eye contact (focus on the camera lens rather than the screen image).
3. Sit up straight (imagine you are dangling from the ceiling) and relax.
4. Listen carefully to the other person. Try not to interrupt them.
5. Avoid too many hand gestures when speaking.
6. Pay attention Give the other person your full and total attention.
7. Don’t spend all of your time looking down at your notes.
8. Speak up and clearly. Take your time when communicating complex issues.
Supporting these eight points will improve your use of visual cues and virtual body language. They will also enable you to maximise your effectiveness as a skilled communicator with remote employees.
Respect and trust are important to effective remote working.
Not everyone is a skilled written communicator, hence the difficulties we sometimes experience with individuals on the back of poor email communication.
Visual technology is useful in understanding the frame of mind and personality of an individual as well as supporting the context and tone of written communication.
Managing remote employees is a core skill of the 21st century manager. It requires the adoption of new knowledge and skills.
It’s worth thinking of your virtual colleagues as if they were traditional on-site employees that just happen to rely more on technology.
Best wishes on your development journey, wherever it may take you.
John Stein, Founder of the Fast Five Series.
Source: Managing Remote Employees eBook 2020 ©