The global spread of the COVID-19 virus gave rise to the remote workforce. Many of us were forced to work at home to stem the transmission of the virus. While there are perks of working from home, one of the things that can get challenging in this set-up is communication – and things can get more challenging for people who are learning English online.
Speaking with colleagues in the target language may get a little intimidating for professionals taking an online English course. Throw in emails, video conferences, and group chats in the mix; communicating professionally in English when working remotely can make things more difficult. But the good news is that we can apply different strategies to ensure that our communication is clear, professional, and above all, effective.
Here’s how we can communicate when working from home.
1. Keep messages concise
Sometimes, it can get tempting to load our messages with a ton of information. But keeping our communication concise and direct to the point is way better when it comes to making sure that we get our intention across. Keep your messages simple, straightforward, and concise by eliminating extended pleasantries and unnecessary details. If the message is too long for an email, consider going on a conference call with the person or team for a faster and more detailed discussion.
2. Avoid vague and confusing words
Vague and confusing words can add to miscommunication in any organisation. Pronouns such as it, that, and this would require sufficient context to make sure that the receiver of the message would clearly understand the message.
It is also wise to assume that the other person will understand the message perfectly. Often, the intent of our message gets lost along the lines of communication, especially when done on different messaging platforms. When it comes to online communication, learning the clear way of relaying our message is essential in any organisation.
Consider this message: ‘I amended that to show the new comments they made. I think that this works better than the other one.’
Without sufficient context, the person reading this message may be unclear about what you meant.
3. Make your intention clear
When dealing with online communication, learn to make your intention known from the get-go. Always be clear with what you want the receiver of the message to do, especially if there’s a task that they need to perform. Include in the statement the pertinent information necessary to complete the job, such as deadlines, files, and documents. You may also include in the message why this particular task is essential.
When you make your intention clear, the receiver will most likely understand the task and the expectations that come along with it.
4. Be mindful of your tone
In face-to-face communication, our body language plays a vital role in our conversations with our colleagues. However, online correspondences would not show much of our body language. That is why we must be mindful of the tone of our message. The tone of our message is very much the same as the tone of our voice when speaking. Our choice of words and how we put them together in sentences would often determine our tone.
If you want to ensure that your message conveys the right tone, especially for those who are still learning the English language, you may use online tools such as Grammarly to check your tone. For more casual conversations with colleagues, you may also consider putting emojis in your message to convey the right emotion.
5. Respect your colleagues’ time
Last but not least is having respect for your colleagues’ time. Working remotely with a team could mean that everyone is not working on the same schedule. If your colleague is not online and there is a message that you need to send, don’t expect the person to reply right away. It is also possible that your teammate is busy working on his tasks, so responding immediately may not be an option. Avoid bombarding the other person with messages that could overwhelm the person. Give your teammate enough time to respond to the message at his own pace adequately. Being a good communicator, whether in-person or online, also includes learning to have respect for your audience.
Learn to Communicate Better with Anglia Education
We understand that navigating the corporate world can get tricky, especially if we are unsure of our English communication proficiency. Anglia Education can help you improve your business English skills and help you move up the corporate ladder. Our online courses target different aspects of business English, such as writing, speaking, listening, and reading, ensuring that you have all the tools necessary to succeed in your career path. Anglia Education also offers testing and certification specifically for business English that you could use to improve your resume and further your career.
Working remotely has its own different set of challenges that team leaders and members have to overcome. Learning to communicate effectively online is vital in ensuring that everyone in the team is taking part in the growth and success of the organisation.
Learn more effective online English communication skills here.