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Business Owners with Virtual Team: 5 Tips for Effective 2-Way Communication | discoveryourpowerteam.com
 

Business Owners with Virtual Teams: 5 Tips for Effective 2-Way Communication

virtual team effective communicationEffective communication – in this day and age you would think that we are all expert communicators.  Right?  Wrong! 

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While we have come a long way from using tin cans and a string to communicate, the hundreds of communication tools available in the marketplace may ease the communication process; however,  they do not make us better communicators! 

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Let’s start by looking at the definition of “communication”. What is “communication”, exactly?

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Wikipedia defines “communication” as “a process whereby information is enclosed in a package and is channeled and imparted by a sender to a receiver via some medium. The receiver then decodes the message and gives the sender a feedback.”

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Just in case you missed it, let me repeat that last sentence, “The receiver then decodes the message and gives the sender a feedback.”  How many of you wait for the receiver to receive your message, decode it and confirm their understanding of your message, before affirming that you have indeed communicated and presuming that they have indeed understood? 

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Many of us think that by simply sending an email, we have communicated.  Or, by saying something to someone, we have communicated.  The biggest reason for communication break downs in teams (and even in couples, I might add) is that a messages is “sent” and the sender does not stop to see if the message has indeed been received and understood by its recipient. 

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True, Effective Communication = Interaction

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According to Nobel Prize winning playwright, George Bernard Shaw, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Communicaton is not a matter of simply having one sender and one receiver.  True, effective communication involves an interaction. 

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Should I Fire my VA?

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Let me illustrate with an example.  Recently, a  coaching client of mine mentioned he was feeling frustrated.  When I probed him on the source of his frustration, he shared that he had sent his virtual assistant (VA) an email stating that he urgently need to brief her on their newest client. Here we are 24 hours later, and he hs yet to hear from his VA.

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His immediate conclusion was that she is not trustworthy, responsive, doesn’t care about his business.  So I asked him if he and his VA had established guidelines for email response time and whether he was aware of her hours of business operation and her vacation plans.  He looked at me perplexed.  Suffice it to say, they had never discussed expectations around service delivery in general, nor around email response time. 

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So in the case of my client, is the issue that his VA is uninterested or lazy or is the issue a breakdown in communication around expectations, or is it something else altogether? How can he find out for sure?  By setting up a time to have a two-way conversation with his VA.

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Poor Communication can be Costly!

Poor communication can lead to wasted time, energy and money.  It can lead to errors, confusion, low engagement, dissatisfaction and even distrust (as in the example of my coaching client).

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Effective Communication: 5 Tips you can Implement Immediately!

1. Communicate regularly with your team (but communicate in the true sense of the word! See above definition of “communication”.)

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2. Use the communication tool that best fits the situation (for further information see my blog post: “Virtual Team Communication: Email and Texting may be Impeding Your Team’s Success!”

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3. Listen activley to what your team members have to say; make the time to listen and truly hear what they are saying (validate your understanding!) 

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4. Encourage your team members to participate fully in the conversation (this is a two-way street, not a deadend!)

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5. Ask questions to ensure they have understood the message and your expecations for action (that the message you have sent is indeed the one they have received)

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Help your team be as efficient as possible by truly communicating with them.  Embracing 2-way communication and asking for their input and questions, not only shows them that you care, but also helps them be as effective as possible when working as a member of your team! 

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Oh, by the way, these communication tips and strategies can be used when communicating with your clients, suppliers, and even with your family and friends!

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What communication strategies do you use to effectivley communicate with  your team and your customers?  What do you do to ensure that communication had indeed taken place, that the message has truly been understood?  Please share your experience by clicking onYour comments are important to me!

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To your empowerment and success,

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sherley grace

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P.S. Did you hear, there is still time to attend my new Teleclass, “Right Time to Hire“, which takes place this Wed. Aug. 25!  Can’t attend in person, register anyway and receive access to the replay!  Action to take now, click: Yes, I want to learn about Sherley’s F.R.E.E. Teleclass!

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