In today’s climate of frequent virtual meetings it’s as important to be able to communicate well online as it is in person.
After all, succeeding in your career is about more than just talents and abilities, it’s about getting noticed for those talents and abilities. And in order to get noticed, you need to communicate and interact with others in a way that makes your talents stand out. This can feel more challenging in a virtual environment, but the basic guidelines to good communication still apply.
Succeeding in your career is about more than just talents and abilities, its about getting noticed for those talents and abilities
These five skills below will help you get noticed in your virtual meetings, but a word of warning, its not just knowing these skills. It’s about being able to use the skills in the moment, on a regular basis. Great communicators make habits of them whether interacting online or in person.
Listening to others (truly listening) builds trust, makes people like you and ensures that when it’s your turn to speak you are appropriate and connected to the conversation. While this does take more effort and energy in virtual meetings, (its harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, tone of voice and body language) it doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
What it does mean though is that it’s more important than ever to ensure that you are entirely focused on the current meeting without distractions, so turn off other devices and online notifications and ensure you are giving your 100% attention.
2) Ask questions
Making yourself stand out doesn’t always require providing all the answers. You’ll often leave a more positive impression by asking others about their opinions – and then listening to what they have to say.
Making yourself stand out doesn’t always require providing all the answers. You’ll often leave a more positive impression by asking others about their opinions.
Recent research has shown that people who ask others questions, particularly questions that require considering a personal opinion, leave a more positive impression. Contemplating opinions increases neural activity in the areas of the brain associated with reward and pleasure and therefore activates their feeling of reward during their interaction with you.
The virtual environment often makes this easy by allowing participants to either ask a question or type into the chat. Of course you will need to have been listening carefully in order to ask a relevant question.
Whether you’re meeting with your entire team or having a one on one, taking the time to prepare will set you up for success. Consider overall objectives of the meeting, who you are meeting with, what you want to say and how to best say it. Preparation can be anything from hours of work to taking a few minutes before you get online to consider what you are going to say.
My clients consistently tell me they communicate more effectively when they take the time to prepare. Its not suprising news, yet often something that is neglected in the rush of the day, particulaly when connecting virtually.
My clients consistently tell me they communicate more effectively when they take the time to prepare.
4) Tailor your message
This one follows on from preparing. Many of us have numerous virtual meetings scheduled through the day and need to communicate differently with each person or group they connect with. Communicating with a team member about a project, is very different from speaking with a client, as is speaking with the whole team. These things all require a specific type of communication and specific types of thinking and planning.
5) Deliver clear and relevant messages
The ability to deliver a clear, relevant message will make it possible for others to listen and understand you. Virtual meetings tax our brains in new ways and the added effort of following someone online means we don’t have the patience to listen to someone who is not clear about their message.
The previous points about: listening, asking questions, preparing and tailoring your message will help in delivering a clear message. So will taking a brief moment to ensure you are clear in your own mind about what you are going to say, before actually speaking.
Turning knowledge into habits
Being a strong communicator and making yourself stand out is not just about knowing these skills, it’s about being able to use them on a regular basis so that people notice you for them.
Select one area at a time to focus on, start with a small behaviour you want to practice and reflect on your progress as you go. This will help you build up your new communication ‘muscles’, learn from your mistakes and do more of what works well.
Standing out and having people notice your talents and abilities is vital to career success. Whether you are working face to face or virtually, building these habits will take you in the right direction.