Find New Ways to Communicate To Strengthen Relationships on Your Hybrid Team

The way we communicate is more diverse than it ever has been. Or is it really? If you think about it, since the dawn of time, the two ways human beings have had to communicate are print and verbal communication. Today, we see those in perhaps newer ways through our email, chat groups and DM’s. Communication avenues haven’t changed much since the beginning, yet today, communication is getting increasingly more and more complicated. This begs the question, are these avenues we currently have truly enough to allow us to Team Anywhere?

On today’s podcast, we interview Josh Little, a serial entrepreneur and founder of 4 remote businesses. Josh is on a serious mission to create a team communication platform that sucks less. While trying to collaborate with his remote teams, he discovered the true challenges of remote team communication. This led him to realize that it’s time to combine the richness of a face-to-face interaction in an asynchronous time period, without the burnout of a Zoom Call. This led Josh to founding his fourth company, Volley.

The Volley App allows you and your team to send authentic video messages asynchronously. Think of it as having a face-to-face conversation that you don’t have to schedule. Volley can make your Daily Standups more productive, deepen relationships among team members, and make communicating remotely a lot more fun. 

Building Business Relationships Post-Pandemic

In a hybrid and virtual work environment, developing relationships with your teams, colleagues and leaders is much harder. Leaders and teams are faced with the challenge of building relationships and trust through a screen, something much easier said than done. 

The downside to a remote and hybrid work environment is the lack of spontaneous conversations that would typically occur in the office. These spontaneous conversations in the office allowed leaders to establish their leadership presence, and build trust fast. In hybrid and remote work, these conversations are now missing. Volley fills that void because it creates a more spontaneous, natural and authentic conversation you might otherwise have with someone in person. With Volley, your conversations flow more similarly to real time face-to-face conversations, allowing you to connect, communicate, build trust and deepen relationships. 

Why Conversation Is Important in the Hybrid & Remote Work Environment

The objective of communication on a remote or hybrid team is to allow communication to flow as freely, or more freely than it did in the office. 

Communication occurs two ways: through type or print (Slack, chat, or email) or verbally (in-person, Zoom, or phone call.) 

Research has shown, typing is seven times slower than speaking verbally. Because of this, we tend to delay communication until we speak in person. 

For remote and hybrid teams, this creates communication disasters. Team members end up going back and forth in Slack for way too long, write emails that could be a book, and end up realizing that they just need to talk. Before Volley, this meant that team members needed to schedule time to talk together. This led to scheduling back-to-back Zoom meetings, ultimately creating Zoom Burnout. 

Communication Channels Pros and Cons

Communication AvenueProsCons
In-PersonBuild trust fastSee body language to pick up on subtle cuesAs a group, it’s hard for everyone to be equally heard. 
EmailYou get time to be clear on what you want to sayCannot see body language
DMEasy way to send quick typed out messages back and forthRun the risk of going back and forth endlessly over something that can be solved quickly over a phone or VolleyCannot see body language
ZoomVerbally communicate more information easily versus email or dmMust scheduleRisk of Zoom Burn outCan only see body language if video on
Phone CallVerbally communicate more information easily versus email or dmMust scheduleBoth parties need to be availableCannot see facial expression
VolleyVerbally communicate more information easily versus email or dmStill not face-to-face, but second best.

Benefits of Verbal/Video Asynchronous Communication

When you use the Volley app, you take turns just like you would having an in-person conversation, except you record with video. 

More Time to Mindfully Respond

When a conversation occurs asynchronously, the participants get more time to think before they respond. Research shows that if you take even 3 seconds to think before you respond, you’re going to generate a fundamentally better response. Volley allows you the ability to re-record a video if you know you can say what you want to say in a clearer way. Communicating asynchronously gives everyone space to think deeply about certain issues that they typically would not have in the office. 

Creates Psychological Safety At Work

In Google’s research, one of the best identifiers of a high performance team was conversational turn taking, which led to Psychological Safety. What this means is a high performance team gives every team member an equal voice.  

Increase Conversational Turn-Taking

In order to create Psychological safety at work, leaders need to focus on increasing conversational turn taking. The most common issue that companies face is not being able to ensure everyone’s voice is truly heard.

Group dynamics create this issue. Research shows the commonality of “Meeting Tyrants” where in a group of four, two people do 70% of the talking; in a group of six, three people do 60% of the talking; and in a group of eight, those same three people still do 60% of that talking. So whether we like it or not, as the group expands, there is often less conversational turn taking. 

In order to increase the psychological safety of your team, you need to create ways to increase conversational turn taking. Volley is extremely useful for this because it offers everyone more time to think and respond, and gives the same time and attention to each person who speaks. 

Asynchronous Communication Helps Your Introverts

Introverts naturally will not speak up at work and need more time to think – especially when it comes to brainstorming or coming up with new ideas. This tendency comes from classroom culture. In a classroom we were taught not to speak up because there were so many people in the room. The ones who did speak up in class were the smartest and the loudest students. 

At work, we copied this rule and followed it. The people who were used to not speaking up in class, do not speak up at work. As a result of this, the team does not make decisions or come up with ideas at their full potential, because they are not leveraging the true diversity that their team has. 

In face-to-face meetings, Phone Calls and Zoom calls, your introverts are at a serious disadvantage for being able to share their opinions and ideas because they do not come up with them on the spot. Leaders need to acknowledge this and work towards finding ways to create more conversational turn taking. 

Ways to Use Volley

Remote and hybrid teams use Volley to replace their daily stand ups. Daily stand ups allow high performance teams to commit to an increase in the flow of communication. But scheduling standups every day can cause conflict in schedules. Instead of scheduling team standups, many teams are choosing to deliver their daily standups in the morning through Volley. This allows everyone on the team to listen to the relevant updates they need when they have time.

Remote and hybrid teams are leveraging Volley to also replace one-on-ones. Traditionally, one-on-one meetings are conducted with leaders on a regular, recurring basis so the leader can give their direct reports feedback on how to improve. These traditional one-on-ones are often dreaded by both parties. Many leaders using Volley are replacing the traditional one-on-ones and choosing to deliver Volleys to give regular, authentic feedback as ongoing conversations. 

About Josh Little

Josh Little is the founder of four tech companies–Maestro,  Bloomfire, Quizzer, and Volley–that have collectively been  used by hundreds of millions of people and featured in TechCrunch, Mashable, Entrepreneur, Inc, and Forbes. With  two successful exits and a third anticipated, he’s currently on  a mission to help remote team communication suck less with his fourth creation, Volley–a video messaging app. 

Depending on what circle you run in, you may know Josh better for his pickles, performances, or projects–as he is a 5th generation pickler, a classically trained singer, and a mechanically-minded YouTuber.  

To learn more about making teamwork fun, download this episode now.

Online Courses for Leaders Leading a Team From Anywhere:

Check out these online courses for remote leaders from the Team Anywhere Team.

How to Be an Effective Remote Manager | How to Build Virtual Accountability

Communication Quotes:

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