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4 Ways to Improve Online Communication

4 Ways to Improve Online Communication

Optimize online meetings with clear time limits, mandatory video use, and structured weekly check-ins to enhance engagement, productivity, and team alignment.

Adhere to Time Limits

Innovative and structured approaches have been adopted by many organizations to ensure effective online communication. The following is an explanation of how these methods can be integrated into any online communication plans, examples have also been given, where appropriate, from companies that have successfully adopted such approaches:

Short, scheduled check-ins

  • Practice: Organize a daily stand-up meeting, which must not exceed 15 minutes, to provide updates and identify roadblocks.
  • Example: Dell Technologies has adopted this approach by ensuring that the company meetings are kept efficient, this ensures that all team members’ present are updated and the meetings are more focused which in turn increases productivity .

The mandatory video on policy

  • Practice: Organize and conduct meeting with video on, where the camera must be on at all time for all participants to encourage engagement on the meeting and this can also encourage a greater sense of interpersonal connection.
  • Example: Alzheimer’s and middle-aged dementia regional bank of the Midwest, through increasing meeting engagement by 30% due to the use of video on camera. This is because some activities when a meeting is going on could be mimicked by the participants so this will help to create that sense of community among the staff members.

Structured asynchronous communication

  • Practice: Use asynchronous tools for updates and discussions which can help accommodate different time zones and working hours.
  • Example: Automattic uses internal blogs and message boards to reach out to all their employees, whoever is interested can engage the post when they have he time, thus little use of time to arrangements for synchronous meetings between different time zones.

Advanced use of the collaboration space

  • Practice: Use of real-time collaboratives for shared document editing during and after meetings.
  • Example: Google Suite which includes the use of Google Drive, Slides and Docs, these tools allow for editing of a document by different people at the same time and this also makes sure that when the document is needed is [OTL -1] also ready and available.

Clear and effective uses of email etiquettes

  • Practice: The use of subject line tags so that readers can quickly read the tag and know if the email is an FYI look at it, action need to be taken and it is long overdue. The timeframe for response should also be included.
  • Example: Zappos uses these tags: [Action Required], [FYI], [Response needed by 4/15/2020] then the email will be sent to Andy Smith [].

Regular feedback systems

  • Practice: Make a regular collection of feedback on any changes that have been made to your current communication execution plan and encourages improvement on the methods used.
  • Example: Salesforce makes use of internal surveys, such surveys are done often to check on the communication methods being used.

Concern for Others

Improving online interaction presupposes serious consideration of all participants’ cases and needs. As a matter of fact, it is necessary to be able to demonstrate empathy and pay attention to the most important issues for definite spheres. Among the options that can be appropriate, there can be distinguished the ability to realize the necessity to emphasize active listening, try to adjust the communication styles, recognize non-verbal cues and provide several flexible options.

Emphasize Active Listening

Active listening in the case of online setting means the necessity to remain fully engaged during the conversation without distraction . For instance, the strategy that is developed by the companies such as LinkedIn presupposes practicing “reflective listening,” that is repeating or summarizing what other person has said to demonstrate that one has understood the speaker and to help validate their points. Such a method can be rather effective in the situation when people start being more attentive and avoid the necessity to return to some important details that were misunderstood, and it is the common situation for digital communication.

Adjust Communication Styles

According to the general picture of the team and its peculiarities, it is often essential to adjust stereotypical communication styles. For instance, the case of using personalized communication style assessment for every team member for HubSpot allowed to adjust guides for interaction. As a result, team satisfaction and communication efficiency rose over 30%.

Recognize Non-Verbal Cues

In the case of a video call, recognition of effective non-verbal cues is more than essential, since such means of conversation usually imply the necessity to pay attention to several more activities than just words. For instance, Adobe’s managers are trained to notice people’s confusion, distraction, or discomfort during the call to react afterward and ask what was wrong, since the direct call was the reason for some misunderstanding or another factor that could not be shared later .

Review Important Details

It is essential to ensure that all participants have a shared understanding of central discussions and decisions from online meetings. Effectively reviewing important details can prevent miscommunication and align team efforts toward common goals. Some useful ways of reviewing that can be implemented to such meetings are listed below:

Closing Every Meeting with Summary of Key Points

Amazon concluded every meeting with a verbal recap by the host. In addition, 30 minutes post-meeting, all attendees received a written summary of key points discussed . The last helped to solidify all information and remind of any action item. Consequently, project follow-through was noticeably improved

Digital  Parking Lot

During discussions, a lot of off-topic yet important questions can come up. The company Oracle is known to use a system of keeping the transcript of the meeting; in addition to the central topic, each mentioned question was to be addressed later on. The solution kept online meetings more focused and short while respecting the importance of every ideal shared.

Use of Visual Aids

Slides, charts, and graphs were often used in meetings as visual images could be perceived up to 60,000 times faster than text . At Salesforce, several acquired companies designed and used tools that allowed for best means of representing obtained data during online meetings . Facilitating visual representation tools caused up to 50% of increased retention of the information for all attendants. Normal follow-up communications were also sent to reiterate outcome and action items.

Sending the follow up reiterating the implementation steps decided on an online meeting had certain outcomes. The follow-up from a group’s team leader to the meetings was outlining discussed topics, decisions made, attached, and next steps . In combination with the fact that a summary was immediately available, this reinforced the content and steps discussed in the meeting. Moreover, the provided follow-up email increased accountability and ease of tracking progress.

Don Forget to Reply

In online communication, it is important to reply in a timely manner because this helps maintain the flow of dialogue and show that all participants are valued. Creating a culture of replies can significantly enhance team performance and project outcomes.

Specify Known Response Times

It is possible to specify the time in which members of a group or a team are supposed to reply to different types of communication messages. For instance, in IBM, participants are expected to reply to their emails in 24 hours and to instant messages in an hour on a workday . Setting response times helps manage expectations and improve overall performance.

Use Acknowledgments

An alternative solution is to show that the message is received without necessarily providing a full response. For example, Zappos is encouraging its employees to send an acknowledgment saying “Got it, let me look into this.” If it is appropriate, the acknowledgment can be an emoji or a gif. This is helpful because it allows the recipient to know that the message was received and will be addressed soon.

Implement Automated Reminders to Return the Message

It is also beneficial to rely on the software to help manage incoming communications. In Slack and Microsoft Teams, it is possible to set a reminder on a heard message, and it can ensure that more messages are not missed and all of them are replied to within a reasonable time frame.

Professional Use of Email Management Software

Practitioners should ensure that they are professionally utilizing email management services that help them avoid forgetting to respond and optimize the speed and quality of their replies. For example, Boomerang and Outlook can help delay sending meet-ups and establish reminders to follow up on ignored emails.

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