Communication skills are vital in the business world. As more people switch to remote work, it’s becoming increasingly necessary to acquire written communication skills. Here’s why you need these skills and how to improve them.
Why Written Communication Skills Matter More When Working Remotely?
Good communication skills are vital while doing any job. Thanks to technology development, more people can now work remotely. This means having to communicate more often through writing, which requires some skills different from face-to-face communication.
While you can easily communicate via a medium like WhatsApp with your friends, you need different types of communication skills in a professional setting. Every team working remotely relies on written communication to connect and share ideas.
You’ll rarely have face-time with the team as most of the engagement is in written form because this is the fastest way. So being a good writer could make your (and your colleagues) workdays more enjoyable.
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Most Remote Teams Have Written Communication Skills
In distributed teams, a lot of the communication is in a written format. The reason is that you avoid spending hours on video conferencing or talking on the phone, enhancing efficiency. In this setup, you need business written communication skills instead of verbal communication skills.
Written communication is helpful as it ensures conversations are searchable. You’ll never miss anything as you can always go back and refer to old messages. Writing also pushes one to formulate their ideas more concisely.
While talking, you often linearly share your thoughts, but writing gives you a dynamic construction as you’re able to edit your thought process.
When businesses adopt written communication, many people may feel it’s unnatural. This is why some organizations offer remote working transitions through communication skills training to help everyone adapt to the new setup. It’s natural to want direct contact with colleagues, so you might feel like something is missing when that is removed.
Remote workers are not like everybody else working in a traditional office. They need to learn written communication skills to adapt to the new working environment.
The Importance of Communication When Working Remotely
Communication is vital for people working remotely because they must stay on the same page with their colleagues. Bad communication will prevent effective cooperation, which individuals working remotely need to complete projects.
When a problem occurs, the ability to bounce back depends on how the team communicates. Sharing feedback is required to solve different problems.
If the teams are in different time zones, misunderstandings can arise, creating an enormous impact on productivity. If a member lacks effective written communication skills and cannot understand their last message, you might spend hours working on the wrong project.
A misunderstanding could create serious consequences, so remote teams must make communication a central element of the company.
Effective Communication Can Mitigate Cultural Barriers
Working with teams based in different countries means communicating with people whose first language is different from yours. Some of them have English as their third language.
To mitigate misunderstandings, you should provide effective clarification or correction when something arises. Excellent interpersonal written communication skills come in handy in a situation like this.
You need a superb language ability to communicate clearly. Don’t use complex sentences if there are alternatives everyone can understand.
Better Written Communication Skills Reduce Wasted Time
Although teams working remotely still hold meetings, most of the communication is written. Essential instructions about tasks are relayed in written form through platforms like Slack. Exemplary written communication skills will help you interpret details and also help you elaborate points.
Poor communication compromises productivity as most team members have to spend a lot of time trying to find the meaning of the messages they receive.
Provide coworkers with complete and coherent information to guide them in doing their jobs. This is important if you belong in a remote team that hired new employees recently.
If you’re in charge of training them, good written communication skills will make it easier for them to learn the ropes, allowing them to finish orientation in a short period.
Good Writing Means Better Diplomatic Skills
Even within the most incredible organizations, discussing KPIs and deadlines could create tensions. Conflicts are a part of human relationships, so in such situations, good writing helps you avoid a breakdown and promotes quick recovery.
You can share information clearly and avoid being misunderstood. Conflicts often arise from misinterpretation of information. Learn how to pick words and the tone of your communication to avoid misunderstandings.
How to Improve Written Communication Skills?
You probably know that strong communication skills are critical to the success of employees working remotely. If you’re looking for how to improve written communication skills, here are suggestions that will help you relay messages more effectively.
1. Study People’s Preferences
Understand the preferences your colleagues hold when it comes to communication. Maybe the manager prefers communication through email, or your colleagues prefer instant messaging options.
Learning about the preferences of different people within your team will help you communicate effectively. Communication is also about meeting other people’s needs, so find out who prefers what.
2. Use Different Means of Communication
The reason you want to improve written communication skills is also to learn how to pick a means of communication considering the type of message you want to share.
While you have many platforms that you can use while working remotely, not every platform is suited for professional engagement. For example, platforms like Slack offer the best way to communicate in a professional setting.
Although the platform offers instant messaging, it’s different from using WhatsApp or other social instant messaging apps. Email is suitable for long messages or communication that includes multiple attachments.
It’s recommended if the message is not urgent and you can wait for an answer. If you want face-to-face interactions, you should use video calls.
3. Improve Your Writing Skills
The importance of written communication skills is to ensure you can share clear messages that everyone can understand. Even if you do video calls frequently with your team, most interactions with team members will involve writing.
Written communication brings you closer to colleagues to discuss many issues, including how you feel about the project. Writing allows you to organize thoughts, and there is time to formulate your response.
While sending emails, be mindful of the tone as written communication could get out of context. Don’t be too aggressive or too vague.
4. Be Proactive
Regardless of how you relate with your team, being proactive is among written communication skills examples you should adopt if you’re a remote worker.
It can be something simple: updating your boss regularly or letting your team members know you will take a short break from the project. This ensures everything moves smoothly as all members are on the same page.
5. Embrace the 3 C’s
You’ll never go wrong if you focus on the 3C’s: Clear, Concise, and Consistent.
- Clear communication sticks to the fact and is relayed in simple language.
- Consistency means people understand when and how you’ll communicate and the kind of information you’ll give to them.
- Being concise means communicating briefly and making the point quickly.
If you want always to use the 3C’s, remember to provide the appropriate context and link to supporting information on the matter if you feel it could help clear things up.
6. Respect Time Differences
Working in a team remotely could mean each one of you is in a different time zone. Excellent written communication skills require that you be mindful of your colleagues when sharing information.
Message them accordingly. Don’t send instant messages or call when someone should be asleep. To connect effectively, it could require having a schedule that everyone can use. Shifting your schedules could help find a suitable time when everyone will be available.
7. Assume Good Intentions
A challenge many people encounter communicating in a team is the lack of face-to-face interaction. You cannot read someone’s body language in an email, but their tone could give clues. While as a team, you may have built rapport, most of the communication is asynchronous.
There are instances you’ll read more into a message. For example, light-hearted tones or sarcasm may not come across in an email, so assume good intentions to avoid misinterpreting the sender.
If in doubt, you can confirm if the intention is what you think. Likewise, you can respond with light-hearted language if the colleague is comfortable with being a bit informal.
Learning about the different ways you can engage with your colleagues in a remote working setup boosts your written communication skills resume.
The ability to communicate well while working remotely is vital. You need to connect with your colleagues in a manner that helps everyone stay on the same page.
So, you must improve written communication skills by adopting a style of writing that relays the message in the most straightforward format. Also, ensure you use the right channel for different types of messages.
Which ideas can you share to help remote workers communicate better? Leave a comment below.
Author’s Bio: Emily Moore is an English and programming teacher with a passion for space and blogging. She thinks that current exploration should be focused on saving our planet’s resources. With satellites circling the orbit, it is simpler to get relevant data on any environmental changes. This, in turn, should help people instantly address any challenges.