Concrete jungles may be where we reside but our minds firmly reside in the virtual space now. On account of the pandemic and advances in technology, our work and personal lives are both almost exclusively digital. The availability of work emails on our phones kept us strongly tethered to work round the clock pre-covid but the arrival of the pandemic has ushered in a predominantly digital work environment. Most meetings are now online and video meetings have seen a swift, exponential rise in popularity.
While we are all well versed with expected behaviors in a physical professional or social environment, what happens to the rules of engagement when our world, especially our professional world becomes largely digital?
Here are my top 3 tips maximize your effectiveness while using digital communication:
Every Word Counts
When we speak to someone face to face, a conversation is as much about impressions as the words we use. When we eliminate physical presence, the words we use are sacrosanct. For as long as work emails have existed we have all been taught to keep them structured, short and simple. We need to employ the same mindset when it comes to all forms of digital communication like audio calls, video calls, messaging platform conversations etc. Save the jokes and harmless sarcasm for in-person conversations and implement additional caution whilst communicating. Say exactly what you mean and do it in the simplest, kindest way possible.
Punctuations and Capitals
Often it is the simplest things that matter the most. When we are writing emails, grammar and punctuation are of utmost importance but things become a bit different when you use any form of work chat (IM, Hangouts etc) for a quick question. If you end a sentence with a full stop, it may create an impression of being curt, being excessively formal may make you appear unapproachable, capitals equal to electronic shouting, the list is endless. The best mindset to employ during chat communication is to treat your colleague like a new acquaintance. Employ that delicate balance of familiarity and professionalism that you would with a new friend and if the conversation gets too complex, just pick up the phone.
No More Multi-tasking
Now for the much loved and hated video calls, whether we find them to be efficient or not, we have to accept that they are here to stay. Audio calls allow for multitasking in a way that video calls do not. Video calls almost freeze us by requiring that we look at the screen at all times, lest we appear dis-engaged or uninterested. Every expression of ours is available for scrutinization by our esteemed colleagues and looking away or turning the video off is a complete no-no. The stringent code of conduct of video meetings makes them harder on our time as nothing else can be worked on whilst we are on them. For these reasons, allow for more time than usual for each deadline as everyone is only able to progress tasks when not on video calls.
These pointers, however, simple will go a long way in increasing your impact and amplify your success using digital communication mediums.