We know about verbal and nonverbal communication that influences our work culture and the relationships with our co-workers but there are also some subtle communication points that we often miss to take care of when we are working remotely.
In this article, we'll share a list of items to pay attention to when you are invited for a meeting, running a meeting yourself, sending/receiving a chat message, and some others along those lines.
1 - Accepting & Declining Calendar Invites
You received a meeting invite and you are planning to attend the meeting but you never respond back with the appropriate answer, there are so many people who do this and it is infuriating for the person who scheduled the meeting.
Make sure that you either accept, decline, or mark the invite as tentative because it gives the organizer an indication of how many people will be attending, if all the required people are attending or not, and if he/she has to reschedule a meeting to a better time.
Accepting and declining invites also marks your own calendar so if someone is planning to book a meeting with you they will be able to see your open and booked slots.
2 - Notifying Attendees that You Are Running Late for a Meeting
If you planned to attend a meeting but are running late, then make sure to drop a message to the meeting organizer so they don't keep wondering where you are when you have accepted the invite and don't show up on time.
It shows that you respect them and their time and you will make it as per your commitment.
3 - Greeting Everyone When You Join a Meeting
There are people who just join a meeting and then stay silent the whole time without a word that sometimes you don't even know that they're there. Don't be one of those people.
If you are part of a meeting, make sure you greet everyone and notify them that you've joined the meeting. This will help the organizer know you're there, especially if they are presenting something and are not able to see the attendees list.
If you join a meeting late, the conversation has already begun and it doesn't make sense to interrupt the flow or the presenter, then leave a comment in the chat window for everyone to see that you've joined.
Also, leave the meeting by saying a thank you to the presenter.
4 - Respecting the Person Who's Running the Meeting
If the meeting you are attending is more conversational in nature then respect the facilitator by replying to their comments, answering their questions, giving them cues when they need it.
If the presenter shares their screen, let them know when you are able to view it and if you are able to hear them clearly. Avoid multitasking as much as possible, it shows when you are asked a question but you were not paying attention and ask for the question to be repeated.
Respect the presenter and be fully present in the discussion. And if your work from home setup allows you to be on camera then make sure you take advantage of it.
5 - Booking and Rescheduling Meetings
If you've booked recurring meetings but are about to take a vacation, make sure you decline all invites for that time and reschedule the meetings that you've organized.
Too many times people go on vacations without canceling or rescheduling the meetings they've organized and the attendees have no way of knowing it. You enter a meeting, send messages to the organizer, and receive no response because they are not available. It just leaves a bad impression because people take time out of their calendars to be present for your meetings. If you give them advance notice and free up their calendar, they'll thank you for it.
When you are booking a meeting, make sure to use a scheduling assistant to view open slots for all the required people. Don't add a conflicting meeting when you already see them booked. Also, try to schedule meetings in advance so they can rearrange other meetings if necessary.
Avoid booking sudden meetings on the same day without any prior notice unless it's an absolute emergency.
6 - Sharing the Agenda a Day before the Meeting
Never leave the description of your invite empty. If the agenda is not yet clear, mention the purpose of the meeting and that agenda will be updated at a later date. The title and description of the invite should give a clear understanding of what the attendees should expect.
Update the agenda at least a day before the meeting and if it's a long meeting also mention timestamps or time duration for each topic on the agenda. If multiple people are presenting, add the name of the presenter in front of the topic.
7 - Clearly Mentioning the 'Required' and 'Optional' Attendees in the Invites
Make sure to clearly mark the required and optional attendees before sending the invite. It's a great way to let people know when their presence is essential to the discussion and when they have an option to skip the meeting if they have another important appointment to attend to.
8 - Acknowledging Everyone's Presence in the Meeting
Similar to greeting everyone when you are an attendee, if you are the organizer and facilitator of the discussion, make sure you greet people as they join the meeting. This way you acknowledge their presence and thank them for their time.
9 - Prompting People to Share their Thoughts
While running the meeting, make sure that you are asking for contributions from each person who's part of the meeting. Some people tend to speak up more than others and it's a good way to ask everyone to share their opinions. At times there might be people who are actually waiting for you to ask them for their thoughts on a topic.
Ask for everyone's opinion before finalizing a decision.
10 - Sharing Meeting Notes Afterwards
It's always a great idea to document the discussion and outcome of the meeting by listing the points and action times with ownership of individuals assigned to those action items. If anyone was not able to make it to the meeting, the meeting notes provide the gist of what was discussed and what the next steps are.
11 - Adding Automatic Replies When You Are Out of Office
Going back to our earlier point, if you are planning a vacation or taking some time off, add automatic replies for that time so that any new emails and invites will receive a notification for the same. Block your calendar as well to automatically decline invites during that time.
While adding automatic replies, mention the name and email address of the person who will be your backup and next point of contact in case of an urgent request.
12 - Replying Back to a Chat Message that You Missed
Chatting with colleagues is the easiest and quickest way to connect and receive answers for immediate needs. But if you're having a busy day full of meetings and other important work then it's a good idea to block time at the end of the day to reply back to all the chat messages you've received.
Even if the sender's issue was resolved or question was answered, getting back to them shows that you care and you're now available to answer any questions that are still open.
13 - Using 'To' and 'Cc' Fields Correctly in Emails
There is a certain joy associated with seeing the 'To' and 'Cc' fields used correctly in emails. It's an indication to the recipients about who needs to reply to the email and who simply needs to be aware of it.
It becomes extremely confusing if everyone is added to the 'To' field with no one knowing who is supposed to reply to the email. You might also not receive a response in time if people are not clear about the information you are looking for and who needs to provide it to you.
So start using those fields correctly and address the right people in your emails.
While these points may seem insignificant at first, they can do wonders to create a positive image for you in your colleague's mind and also show that you respect your colleagues, are detail-oriented, and authentic with your communication.
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