As we are mastering the logistics of working from home one thing that has been increasingly important is maintaining effective communication.
Just a few weeks ago the entire Devin team spent an afternoon with Paul McGee, an international speaker, who led us through discussions on ‘How to Communicate with Impact and Influence’. Paul is known as The SUMO Guy - he has spent over 25 years developing his craft. SUMO is an acronym that stands for Stop, Understand, Move On. He feels passionately about SUMO and the difference it can make to people’s lives. One of the key messages that came out of our session was the importance of listening - really listening, not just waiting for a gap to get our own points across. Understanding another’s point of view allows us to find the right response - if we understand the true objection or concern we can deal with a situation effectively and without wasting time.#
Now we are all working remotely, there are some communication challenges to be overcome. All of our systems are accessible remotely so our engineers can access all the files and correspondence they need to work seamlessly from home. We wanted to make sure our team had all the hardware they needed to do their job be it from their home office, the kitchen table, or a man cave at the bottom of the garden, so we organised additional screens, server access, and video conferencing capabilities for everyone.
Our office phones are diverted to our admin staff’s mobile numbers, and our weekly meetings are now conducted by Webex - it’s really nice to see our colleagues even if it is only on screen! Our clients and project teams have not noticed any difference in the quality or quantity of our output; meetings are conducted via conference call or video links - the only difference at the moment is that we’re not doing any site inspections.
We’ve even taken on new appointments in the last 2 weeks!
Of course our office night out had to be cancelled and there’s much disappointment that our bacon sarnie Friday’s have had to be put on hold, but we’re making the best of it with our Devin WhatsApp group for lighthearted banter replacing our water cooler catch-ups.
Here’s our top tips for conducting meetings via video:
- Ensure your technology works correctly - test your camera, mic and connections before the meeting starts so that you can start on time
- Find a quiet location if possible (not always easy at the minute!) and mute yourself when not speaking to minimise background noise.
- Frame the camera correctly at eye level and make sure the room is well lit with natural light if possible (side light source is better to avoid creating a silhouette).
- Pay attention - turn off notifications so that you’re not distracted by emails coming in or your twitter feed.
- Speak clearly and start with your name - some of the attendees may be working on audio alone, there may be new people in the meeting, and if nothing else, it signposts to everyone that you wish to speak.
- And finally, the SUMO principles still apply - listen, understand, and respond.