Posted on February 28, 2014 · Posted in Communication, Management

Often in modern business a project team consists of individuals from a range of locations, especially if you’re part of an international company. A key aspect of both managing a team well and a project running smoothly is effective communication, which can be challenging when the team is scattered across the globe.

There are now a multitude of different communication mediums to choose from; including email, Skype, FaceTime, live chat etc. These new types on internet base communication make it easier to communicate with team members in various locations. However, sometimes the quality of a message can be compromised by the medium of its delivery.

Managing a project where individuals on your team can’t all be in the same room and get to know one another is tough and video conference calling can help to initially break the ice and help team members to get to know one another. However, in everyday operations it isn’t always convenient to organise an unexpected video call. Therefore, email is often relied on as the main means of communication.

Although email can be very convenient, especially if you don’t want to disrupt someone, when trying to establish rapport and build a relationship with and between team members, it could be argued that the telephone call is a much better medium. Here are the reasons why:

  • Whilst written communication can attempt to convey a certain tone, the correct interpretation is not guaranteed. This is not the case when talking on the telephone because the way people say something can tell you how they’re feeling. What’s more the instant reaction within a telephone conversation will soon let you know if something has been misinterpreted and therefore can be quickly resolved.
  • Phone calls are more personal and demonstrate that you took time out of your day to call and properly check in – this can be key when trying to establish a relationship with a business partner or team member who you are not yet very familiar with.
  • There is a sense of urgency with a phone call and therefore you are much more likely to get an instant response. This can be really helpful if there is an issue with the project that needs resolving in a timely fashion.
  • Another advantage of the phone call is the pace at which the conversation travels; the conversation happens all at once, unlike emails where if both parties are busy it can take days or weeks to get the desired outcome of the communication.
  • Because phones have a lot more longevity than the other communication mediums, they also come with more authority. If something’s really important you tend to phone someone or meet them face-to-face. Skype and FaceTime tend to have more social connotations and thus can seem less professional.
  • What’s more internet based calls can often be disrupted by a bad connection. And although international calls can be pricy there are numerous options which allow individuals to make cheap phone calls to overseas numbers.

Attempting to manage and co-ordinate a team based in different locations is no easy feat, however ensuring that your team members are communicating effectively can help to ease the process. Therefore it might be worth considering encouraging your team to correspond by phone and video calls rather than over-relying on email, in order to build relationships and communicate clearly.

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