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Posts Tagged ‘communicating virtually’

Five Essential Tips For Effective Virtual Meetings Across Cultures – Part I

Posted by Nara Venditti on June 22, 2010

Over the years, I have taken part in numerous virtual meetings with teams operating nationally and globally. In teaching of business management courses, I have noticed that many of the textbooks on this subject do not provide information on effectively operating in virtual teams. Of course, virtual meetings offer clear advantage: they save companies time and money for travel, they can be called at a relatively short notice. Yet, as our business world becomes more and more technology oriented this is important information that employees and managers must have.

In part I, I will outline a few crucial tips that I have learned over the years that will increase the effectiveness of virtual communication for homogeneous and global teams consisting of multicultural employees. I will mark tips especially for multicultural teams with asterisk.

1. First, try to meet face-to-face – to introduce team members to each other. To build strong relationship, there is nothing better than face-to-face interaction. Then utilize on-line video conferencing services for better logistics and professionalism.

2. Distribute agendas in advance. Try to keep agenda short and manageable, not more than three to five items. Allocate time to each item. Ask the participants for their input.

3. Select a responsible meeting recorder for distribution notes afterwards.  Always follow up with written notes and action steps.

4. In your e-mail pre- and post- communication, the generously use of words like “please” and “thank you” for courtesy and respect. Since tone of voice and facial expressions are not transmitted in your written communication, these simple words can work miracles. *Better yet, use “thank you” in the language of the participants. Do not be afraid to transliterate in English, no matter how funny it may look or sound, your effort will be appreciated. (See a link to a list to “thank you in 26 languages at the end of this article)

5. Leave a phone message when following up on your request or announcement. A smile while speaking will not be seen but can be conveyed in your message. By doing this you’re your voice will be recognized next time you talk and bond faster at the actual meeting.

This was Part I. In Part II, we will outline a few more tips, including specific language and communication tips that will make your virtual tips more productive and effective. Connect with international meeting participants, use thank you in their native language. Download the list of “thank you” translations and pronunciations in 26 languages succeedinamerica.com/documents/SucceedinAmerica_bookmarkThankYou.pdf

Nara Venditti, Ph.D., is a platform speaker, educator and author. She is the president of Succeed in America, LLC and author of “How to Get A Job in the USA ” and “Ameri$peak.”. She is an expert in foreign born employee development, cultural diversity, cross-cultural communication and business English and a frequent presenter at Conferences, Companies and educational institutions. She speaks on careers, communication and diversity. She can be reached at +1 203 791 1107 or http://www.SucceedinAmerica.com

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