Tips for Getting Along Remotely

Monitor showing people in a virtual meetingby Nancy Larbi

Remote interaction remains challenging despite how commonplace it is. In the era of COVID-19, we are figuring out the best ways to embrace and leverage working remotely.

In remote meetings, everyone must pay particular attention to communication. Attendees are inclined to meander, use long sentences, and not take pauses. And you do not have the luxury of checking non-verbal cues, such as body language, to know how everyone is feeling.

Following these tips, you can become effective at communicating in remote meetings (and even when you are together physically). Download the checklists and keep them near you as reminders.

Tips for presenters

If you are the meeting presenter, set clear ground rules for communication that everyone follows.

In preparation for the meeting:

  • Let everyone know the meeting agenda.
  • Use appropriate technology to include everyone.
  • Practice in a test meeting and open the real meeting early.

At the start of the meeting:

  • Introduce everyone.
  • Make sure everyone can hear you and remind them to speak clearly.

To maintain the communication during the meeting:

  • Park items that could disrupt the flow of the meeting discussion.
  • Say things so that they are understood easily and ask for feedback.
  • Listen closely and give others feedback.

To end the meeting:

  • Plan next steps and assign action items.
  • Find out what would improve the next meeting.

Tips for participants

To be a successful remote participant, be active. Do not expect to be catered to.

In preparation for the meeting:

  • Read the agenda and understand everyone’s roles.
  • Open the meeting early and test the technology.

At the start of the meeting:

  • Find a quiet place to be in the meeting.
  • Be early and ask whether others can hear you.
  • Introduce yourself when asked and then place yourself on mute.

To maintain the communication during the meeting:

  • Focus on the meeting goals.
  • Be an active listener and participate.
  • Give feedback.

To end the meeting:

  • Plan next steps and agree on due dates for assigned action items.
  • Send the presenter feedback on what would improve the next meeting.

An STC Associate Fellow and CPTC – Expert™, Nancy Larbi is an experienced global communicator and remote technical communicator. Bilingual in English and French, she lived and worked in Paris for UNESCO and now works for SAS from her home office in Kansas City. Nancy is a co-founder of Tech Writers Without Borders (TWWB), a global community of technical communication professionals helping charities, humanitarian organizations, and other nonprofits by improving the quality of the documentation and educational resources they use to train and support their staff and volunteers. She’ll be speaking about TWWB’s activities at Spectrum 2021.

Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay