Unified Communications (UC) is an emerging trend in workplace transformation that provides many benefits. Outside of a single, consistent set of tools to manage your communications, one of the important benefits is that it can help improve your company culture.
Trust is a key element of building a cohesive team, and one of the essential elements of trust is good communication. If you’re in the same room with someone, you can make eye contact, nod when someone is speaking, and give off visual cues to show them you’re paying attention. When your team is scattered, working from home or separate offices, how do you indicate you’re listening?
Through presence management you can show you’re available and ready to connect. You can use web and video conferencing to connect and show key verbal and visual cues that indicate you’re listening. Through SMS and chat, you can respond quickly to show you’re connected, and build your sense of team.
Investing in a UC solution brings a set of powerful communication tools to your team, and allows you and your team to communicate well.
Use presence to show when you’re available to connect, and if you’re stepping into a meeting or putting your head down to get to work, make sure you update your status. Your team will learn to adjust their messaging habits when they know you’re busy. They might leave a voicemail or email when you’re away, rather than waiting for a response to an instant message.
Video chat allows you to show the non-verbal cues of listening, eye contact and paying attention. Even with text, you can indicate you’re listening by what you type. If someone sends a message or asks a question and you are busy, or need some time to think through a response, send a quick note saying you’ll respond shortly. This lets that person know you heard them, and will respond eventually. It’s a great way to show you’re listening.
Clarity and Concision
Keep your message clear and your words well crafted. Make sure that when you send emails you spend time re-reading your message to ensure it is clear and to the point. If you’re in a messaging thread, ask questions if a word is ambiguous. As a reader, it is also your responsibility to clarify a message. We’ve all had autocorrect change our words for us. Sometimes we catch it and sometimes we don’t. As a participant, taking on a positive tone and asking questions is a great way to build a good rapport.
With so many ways to connect through UC, reaching out to remote teams each day can be a great way to build social connections. Keep your interactions focused, and try not to continuously interrupt people throughout the day. Try to maintain a few regular check-ins at work, as you would do over coffee. This keeps you connected and builds relationships, that way when you hit an obstacle, it becomes easier to connect with a team member and talk through any issues.
Many people are nervous about public speaking. Getting up in front of a crowd and talking is not a favorite. Video chat gives people a chance to practice presenting to smaller groups, which helps build confidence when presenting to larger groups.
It is difficult to express emotion and nuance using email. Using voice, video and instant messaging where you can have a back and forth conversation allows you to connect with your team and build understanding together. Assume the best of your team, and ask questions as this is a great way to build trust with your team. If you’re connecting with someone who is remote, ask them a little bit about where they are as a call is starting. Knowing someone is home with kids, in a noisy coffee shop, or on a serene beach will help shape how you communicate. You may need to repeat yourself often if someone is in a noisy place, or keep your presentation interesting to hold their attention away from the crashing waves.
One of the keys to building trust and great communication is adapting your message to the audience you’re speaking to. If you need to connect with someone on your team, UC solutions allow you to check in quickly via instant messaging, find the best way to connect, and strike up a conversation in the best format for both of you. Having several options for communication integrated allows you to see if someone is available, and reach out in the format that works best for you and the team you’re connecting to, thereby fostering mutual respect.
Communication is complex, and it’s hard work to do it well. Keeping these principles in mind as you reach out to your team will help improve how you communicate. UC solutions provide choice and flexibility in how you connect and allow you to adapt to the team you’re working with. With a diverse, distributed team, having multiple modes of communication such as audio, video and instant messaging all in the same platform is incredibly useful. Modern employees expect modern tools, and providing those in a coordinated, cost effective way can be challenging.
If you’re facing these challenges or tasked with implementing a digital strategy that requires better communication tools, be sure to check out CounterPath’s UC solutions. We believe one of our offerings will be the right fit for your needs.