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How to Keep Up in Conversation, Digitally Speaking

November 11, 2014
By TMCnet Special Guest
Alastair Mitchell, Huddle CEO and cofounder

More and more companies are shifting to a cloud-based workplace and communication between employees and colleagues is becoming increasingly difficult. As human interaction is sometimes forgotten about when communicating via digital methods, it’s important to understand the quality and effect of our communications to ensure that digital conversations continue to have a human element.

Since humans benefit from human interaction, it’s good to integrate real human interaction into digital conversations. Digital platforms make communication much more effective by providing a space for continuous feedback and transparency, which is why it’s so important to capitalize on their value.

Improving Communications

According to a recent study by Unify on modern work habits, 79 percent of survey respondents reported working in virtual teams frequently. However, 44 percent of the respondents found virtual communication to be as effective as face-to-face. There are a number of ways to improve virtual communication and employee satisfaction rates.

When communicating around content, it’s helpful to have live discussions that are active within the content. Having a platform that allows employees to leave a comment, tag (News - Alert) colleagues and receive instant notifications ensures the conversation has a lively, human feel. Huddle allows users to write and share meetings notes and ideas from mobile devices or desktops to improve the effectiveness of digital conversations.

Create Shared Goals

Each project team and the company at large should have the shared goal of making work more enjoyable by engaging on a more human level. Leaders should tap into a staff’s personal needs and create a climate where employees can feel free to speak their minds and have a candid conversation. Don’t forget to give employees praise when due as well, which is something often forgotten when conversations become completely digital.

Alternate Computer Time with Phone (News - Alert) or Video Time

Another way to optimize online collaboration is to intermittently schedule video conference calls or, if possible, face-to-face meetings along with the digital conversations. That way, employees can hear live human voices and see human faces and feel more connected to their colleagues. This can often be a big productivity booster and is great for employee morale in general. Choosing a platform with advanced call technology is helpful to optimize the effectiveness of conference calls.

Be Encouraging

Lastly, be sure to encourage employees to comment openly in a digital conversation. They might not be aware of the company culture and might feel hesitant to step in and offer comments or opinions. Make sure managers are asking for feedback and consistently commenting on digital documents themselves so employees feel like it is an environment where contributing their own thoughts and opinions is encouraged.

Digital conversations run the risk of losing employees’ interest and thus causing productivity to falter. It’s important to maintain a focus on keeping digital conversations flowing both to maintain progress in work and get the most out of your employees and improve employee satisfaction. Keeping digital conversations human will deepen engagement and improve collaboration efforts. Writing notes, tagging colleagues and adding meeting notes to a digital conversation are great ways to remind participants they are interacting with real humans and foster those connections with the end goal of improving productivity.

His third Internet start-up, Alastair founded Huddle with Andy McLoughlin as he was frustrated by existing enterprise technology’s inability to help people work together. Spending millions of dollars on a SharePoint implementation, only to watch it fail dismally, was the final straw. In contrast, collaboration apps in our social lives just worked. As a result, Huddle was born. Since setting up the company in 2006, Alastair has grown Huddle around 170 people in London, San Francisco, New York, and Washington D.C. raised in excess of $40 million in funding and seen sales double year on year.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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