Teamwork Online: 8 Tips for Good Communication 4 minute read Written by Shawn Bakker, Psychologist The Importance of Communication in Teamwork Online Working well with others in a virtual work environment relies heavily on communication. Communication is the ability to reach and be reached, placing it at the heart of working with others. It is sharing and receiving information, identifying challenges, solving problems, brainstorming ideas, making plans and getting things done. When communication breaks down, work breaks down. Why does this happen? It often occurs when we stick with our preferred ways of communicating, rather than considering what is necessary for good communication. Overcoming this problem requires an understanding of our natural style and also recognizing when we need to make changes to be a more effective communicator. The 3 Principles of Communication Effective communication works for the audience. Meaning lies with the receiver, not the sender. communication requires thoughtful consideration of frequency, method and content. Good communication starts with a consideration of these principles, rather than your communication preferences. Team members need to ask themselves: Am I considering my audience and their needs before I start communicating? What method of communication is most appropriate for this issue/situation? How will I check with others to make sure we are on the same page? Online Communication & Establishing Organizational Norms For team communication to work well in any environment, but especially a virtual one, you need to set organizational norms. As a group, decide when to use chat, email, calls, and video. Due to the lack of verbal and emotional cues, emails and chats can be perceived as overly short, possibly rude, and lacking nuance – they are not great methods for generating understanding between two people. If you need to communicate something that is complex, nuanced, or requires discussion, emails and chats are out. However, if you are sharing documents, or easily interpreted information, a video call can be an unwelcome distraction. Teams also need to discuss when it is ok to work asynchronously, where communication is not “live” but moves on the different time schedules of the unique participants. Certain tasks lend themselves well to this approach – generally things that do not require an immediate response. It is important to remember that your teammates cannot read your mind, so you need to let them know if and when you require a response. Utilizing The MBTI® Tool for Better Communication Establishing norms around communication tools helps people move out of their natural preference, and communicate in ways that are most appropriate to the specific situation. The MBTI tool can provide guidance on how different personality types may prefer to communicate, allowing teams to tailor their communication norms to better accommodate each team member’s preferences and improve overall communication effectiveness. Below is a summary of the communication preferences for each of the four MBTI dichotomies, along with a tip for being a better communicator. MBTI Type Tips for Good COMMUNICATION To learn more, check out our in-depth article on teamwork. You’ll find valuable insights and practical tips on how to communicate more effectively with your team members and build strong, collaborative teams in all work environments. In addition, Psychometrics’ Team Building Assessments can help you improve your communication skills and work more effectively whether you are a team leader or a team member. These assessments provide personalized tips and insights to help you achieve success in a hybrid virtual work environment.