Staying relevant is the greatest challenge that brands are struggling with due to the pandemic. Day-dreaming during con-calls, letting your inbox pile up and streaming shows during meetings is the new normal in the slow-paced domestic existence of working from home. Losing your voice and going on and off the grid will eventually increase your chances of fading away into oblivion post-COVID-19.
Whether you are a leader or an intern, being heard and staying relevant during the COVID-19 blip is crucial for your career graph. Supervisors can mistake your silence for lax attitude and before you know it, you will be replaced. A familiar 2020s nightmare that haunts the best of us.
However, with technology at your disposal, you can be more assertive, responsive and keep up with the regular ‘office pace’ with no sweat. Staying on the grid is an effective way to retain contacts, keep track of the latest updates, brainstorm for exciting new ideas and of course, stay relevant.
You don’t need to stay glued to the screen 24×7 to communicate effectively. Simply stay curious, ask questions and follow these tips.
Presence is of essence
‘Mute and chill’ is the latest work from home trend that is making even the best of us take a back seat from conference calls.
Instead of being a mute spectator, be a part of the conversation if you don’t want your presence to fade away. The key to making yourself heard is to keep your video and mic on during meetings. If you are shy, simply switch on the mic during Q&As and discussions and join the conversation.
Ideas and efforts often get lost in mail trails while newer conversations taking precedence and stealing the limelight. Take the initiative and organise conference calls to discuss your ideas and actively engage in discussions to add value to ongoing projects.
Point it out
Your presence and voice depend a lot on the structure of your mail.
A well-worded message reflects sincerity, professionalism and authority. Typos and grammatical errors can put off the reader in no time and make a bad impression. Choose your words carefully and take the help of AI-powered apps like Grammarly to run a spelling and grammar check for you.
Structure your email carefully by dividing your points into crisp paragraphs. Instead of a long introduction, state your purpose in a sentence and come straight to the point. Stating your points separately gives better clarity and makes your argument more cohesive. Maintain a formal tone, steer clear of SMS language and cut the fat off long sentences by reducing adjectives.
Practice using separators in your subject line (Eg: October finance report | 2020 | Analysis) and if your mail thread exceeds 10 messages, its time to create a new one.
Tips for TAT
Keeping your boss waiting for a response while doing dishes or smelling the flowers can cost you a valuable project.
Maintaining the perfect turnaround time (TAT) helps when you are trying to build credibility and get an edge over others. Keep your notifications on and stay logged in to your work mail and work chat profiles like Slack. Instead of explaining your points on message threads, discuss them over a call for more clarity and if necessary, document them over a mail.
Responding quickly to requests builds reliability. If you are an entrepreneur, you would want to maintain minimal TAT and respond to your clients ASAP during trying times.
Steer clear of autoresponders or bot responses and respond cohesively stating the course of action, steps and deadline.
Look it up before you leap
The secret of communicating effectively is confidence.
Before participating in conference calls, make sure you are well-versed with the agenda. Make a list of all your points beforehand and discuss them one-by-one. Take notes during the conversation so that you can deliver above expectations.
Working from home gives you an edge over walking into meetings with a blank canvas. Make your presence felt with informed arguments instead of staying mute. With an agenda ready, you can clear your doubts beforehand and deliver beyond expectations.
MOMs the word
Another effective method to take the lead in conversations is to take minutes of the meeting (MOM) and share them with the team before anyone else does.
A well-drafted MOM not only gives complete clarity on the way forward but also helps put things in your perspective and words. If someone else is assigned the task of taking MOMs, make sure you have documented your version so that you have a ready reference in the future.
Follow a proper template for MOMs by documenting the respective project in question, course of action, person assigned and deadlines.
Follow up all the way
Beware of dormant volcanoes.
What doesn’t matter today always runs the risk of blowing up later. Instead of leaving conversations hanging, make sure to follow up religiously to avoid last-minute havoc and long nights.
Look into pending tasks during your free time and seek closure. The best practice is to look through your emails first thing in the morning and send across project updates and close pending tasks.
Taking the lead to close loose ends can assure you a good nights sleep while others are burning the midnight oil.
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