Are you still taking the time to communicate?
Communication has always been considered one of the most important life skills. It is what enables us to pass information to other people, and to understand what is being said to us.
Communication is a two-way process and is in no way the same as simply broadcasting a message, or sending out a piece of information. When we think of communication itself, 70% – 93% of the process is non-verbal.
So how does that work now so many of us are remote?
As we begin to circumnavigate what the “new normal” might look like, there are some important things we need consider as leaders and managers.
When we were in the office, if we needed to talk to someone, we would often find ourselves starting conversations with “hi, how are you?” – the small talk that most of us enjoy. Do we do the same when we send communications via Teams? I would guess not.
In person, we would have also checked for understanding and offered the person an opportunity to ask questions. Do we do the same when we send communications via Teams? Again, I would guess not.
We would have been able to see non-verbal cues such as hand gestures, body posture or facial expression to know if someone had understood the question. We don’t get this if we just send messages on Teams.
The new normal
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, many delegates on my courses have found that they just send blanket messages out to those in their teams without much consideration and thought. Effective communication has always been the key to heathy relationships. So, if we remove that then what are we creating instead?
Non-verbal communication plays such an important role in how we convey meaning and information to others, as well as how we interpret the actions of others during conversations. When your body language, facial expressions and tone of voice match your spoken words, your message is reinforced and will help co-workers better understand you.
Next time you go to send a message to someone in your team, think about picking up the phone to have a conversation with them and see how they are doing. Or scheduling a video call so you can see their reactions and give them the opportunity to ask questions if they need to.
If the past 19 months have taught us anything it’s that we have some excellent means of communicating with each other – but remember nothing will ever truly replace face to face communication.
Written by Alison Ibrahim – Senior Management, Leadership & Commercial Skills Trainer