We have all bantered about the pros and cons, often more the cons than the pros, of our tech-dependent society. See how to stay healthy & maintain social distancing during the coronavirus by learning to leverage technology during covid-19. Now, during these unprecedented times, we can truly leverage the capabilities afforded to us through our world and businesses being so heavily connected virtually. We have the ability, and even the responsibility, to utilize technology to both promote, and potentially ensure, the safety of ourselves and others while employing the tools available to us to keep our businesses moving forward. You can read a letter from our COO, Amy here.
Video Conferencing vs. Conference Calls
The benefit of visual cues during conversation is not a myth, it is proven to aid in the productive exchange of information. Much can be, and is, lost in translation when we cannot see the person to whom we are communicating. Hearing inflection in another’s voice is certainly a step up from the very flat one-dimensional platform of text or email but coupled with visual cues of body language and expression, video conferencing provides the next best communication solution to in-person meetings.
Video or web conferencing is available to almost anyone with a smart device or computer with a camera and internet connection. Basic to elaborate options are available; Google Hangouts, Google Meet, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Trello, Slack, Skype, Cisco WebEx, Join.Me, Apache OnlineMeeting, and TeamViewer are just a few of the many platforms now offering video and web conferencing.
Team Communication Tools
The advantages found in tools like CRM and instant messaging platforms serve as a way for teams to stay connected and work together in real-time while observing normal remote officing, or now imposed remote officing situations due to necessary social distancing measures. Tracking deal flow, sales pipelines, client interactions, team progress and communication, in general, become more manageable through the integration and use of these platforms.
Salesforce, HubSpot, ZoHo, Sage, and Monday.com are a few industry agnostic CRM platforms that can assist organizations in leveraging the power of a customer relationship management tool, some of them even offer free basic solutions. Instant messaging and employee engagement platforms such as Slack, Trello, Blink, and Beekeeper provide real-time communication conduits.
Digital File Storage and Sharing
The days of needing to access physical paper files have been reduced significantly over the past two decades, whether due to sustainability initiatives to reduce environmental impact or an organization’s desire to digitize for ease of access. These initiatives have benefited and enabled companies to safely leverage the power of accessing their data from anywhere on the globe.
Dropbox, Google Docs, Microsoft OneDrive, and other cloud-based file storage and sharing platforms allow teams to remotely update, safe and collaborate on documents remotely.
Lastly, the highest engagement that we have digitally is through email. While this is one of the most challenging platforms by which to effectively communicate intent or emotion, it is the most widely used communication tool we have for communicating tasks and directives, general correspondence, follow up and feedback. Due to the propensity to utilize email as a first line of digital communication, we must ensure that we are using it responsibly. Email etiquette is both an art and science. It requires paying attention to tone when there is no allowance for inflection. It is being cognizant of providing context for all parties so a snapshot in time comment is not taken “out of context”. It is slowing down long enough to ensure that thorough and thoughtful direction has been given and that the question has been asked of the recipient “does this make sense, or do you need any further clarification”?
Our responsibility to communicate effectively, take other’s communication styles into account and respect others through our messaging does not merely apply when we are face to face. Employing these strategies is even more vital in remote/virtual communication, whether via email, instant messaging, document collaboration, phone calls or video conferencing. In order to truly maximize the technologies that enable us to move our businesses forward remotely, we must ensure that the strategies and qualities that make for exemplary in-person communication are not lost or ignored when we are behind a screen.
March 15, 2020 by Amy Hall, COO, Caton Commercial Real Estate Group