Communication Plans for Virtual Teams
Good communication is important for the success of any venture, but it is particularly crucial for virtual teams. Coordinating communication across diverse locations and digital channels is a complex job, and worth paying attention to for getting the best performance from your virtual team.
A documented communication plan, created with input from the whole team, will make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to communication, and minimize the potential for confusion, missed communications and crossed wires.
Creating a communication plan
To create a communication plan for your team:
Start where you are.
Carry out an audit of all your existing communications channels and flows. Take stock of what works and what doesn’t. Ask your team for feedback and suggestions.
Do more of what works.
Focus on the channels, platforms and communication protocols that are working well for your team, and get these formalized and widely agreed upon. Look at what other successful teams are doing and imitate what works for them. If you discover these methods don’t fact work for your team or context – be confident to alter them or let them go altogether.
Pick your tools.
A good workman is only as good as his tools, the saying goes, so pick the right tools for the job when putting your communication plan together. There are hundreds of online collaboration and communication tools (we have listed a few in the next section), so take some time to review those that are best suited to your way of working, team size and industry.
Don’t forget external communications.
As well as all your teams’ internal communications, consider the communication channels and flows you have with external stakeholders like clients, advisors, or consultants. Include them in your communication plan.
Write it down.
Your communication plan should be laid out in a document that everyone can access and refer to. Include internal and external communications, as well as clearly defining platforms and protocols for both formal and informal communications within the team. Check-in regularly about what’s working and make this an evolving, working document for the whole team.
Share it out!
Perhaps it goes without saying, but don’t forget to make sure everyone inside and outside of your organization is informed about the communication plan. If necessary, organize some training to make sure everyone is confident using the tools, channels and protocols you have put in place.