Communication Styles Impact on Remote Meetings

You can’t have a meaningful meeting without first knowing how your team communicates. While so many of us are remote workers, communicating becomes a bit more difficult. We schedule video meetings, make conference calls, and send emails to stay in touch. However, without knowing how our team members communicate best, we won’t be able to communicate effectively. There are a few different ways you can test your communication type. Online assessments like DISC, Myers Briggs, and Birkman provide a look into how you personally prefer to communicate. You can also dive into descriptions of the communication styles below and see what you best align with.

Communication Styles

Below are the most common communication styles; Direct/Analytical, Functional, Harmonizer, and Expresser. Some people relate heavily toward one style, while others might sway between a few different styles depending on their role.  

Direct/Analytical 

A direct communicator prefers to cut right to the point, sometimes seen as blunt. Direct communicators don’t prefer small talk conversations in the workplace. Focused on the task at hand, analytical and data-driven to a fault. While they are strong in their pursuit to get answers they will sometimes struggle with emotional decision-making. Direct communicators will most likely pick up the phone and call when they have questions, expecting to get a quick response and move on to the next task. With their analytical mindset, these communicators don’t do best in long meetings with no agenda. If you are a direct/analytical communicator, set yourself up for success by working closely with a function communicator, as they are great at staying organized.

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Functional 

A functional communicator works best with processes and procedures. They seem to always have a clear plan in place with deadlines and guidelines to follow. They prefer to work independently as they will take their part in the process seriously. A functional communicator often will do a quick check-in on how the process is going, trusting that everyone is doing their part. Best updated by a quick message through a team chat like Zoho Cliq. Once confirmed there is a plan in place, the functional communicator will get back to work focusing on their part in the process. Functional communicators tend to get along with their team quite well no matter their communication style unless they are not keeping up with their deadlines.

Harmonizer

The harmonizers of the workplace are the best collaborators. With a love for teamwork and communication, a harmonizer will emphasize video meetings with their team to check in on how everything is going. While the project is important to them, people come first. This kind of outlook is helpful for keeping the team in check emotionally but may be a hindrance if too many harmonizers are on the same team. The ideal meeting for a harmonizer is in person, or in today’s remote working environment, a video call. Don’t be surprised when a harmonizer sends you a meeting link every time they want to check in on how you are doing, while maybe asking a few questions on the actual task at hand. 

Expresser

The most outgoing of the communication styles, the expresser is outspoken and always giving their two cents. This is great for brainstorming and creative work, but not so much the mundane daily tasks that say a functional communicator would prefer. To the expresser, accuracy falls to the bottom while creativity and outward expression lie at the top. These communicators’ ideal way to share their ideas would be at a lunch meeting however, in a remote setting you will see them taking their video meetings from the local coffee shop or on a conference call while walking through the park.

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Effective Meetings Using Communication Styles 

After taking the time to figure out what communication styles your team members have, decide on what warrants a different kind of meeting. Some team members will prefer a phone call over an email or IM, while for others, a check-in over IM fits their needs better than a phone call. It might seem complicated at first to navigate different communication styles but after discussing, it will become clear that having each type of style on your team is actually beneficial to your success. 
In order to keep your meetings meaningful, choose a meeting type that best suits your team. Assigning direct and functional communicators to create the meeting agenda will help keep the meeting timely. The harmonizer will bring the work-life balance to your meetings. Ideas will always be flowing with the expresser chiming in on the new projects. Some projects will require a longer video meeting, and others are best covered with an email summary. Using the communication styles of your team will not only strengthen the collaboration but save time with fewer meetings.

Meeting Tools

There are many tools out there to help support remote communication and meetings. Some of our favorites include Zoho Cliq, Zoho Meeting, and Zoom. 

Zoho Cliq simplifies your team communication with organized conversations, information that’s easy to find, and connections to the tools you love. Cliq provides not only an instant messaging platform but also audio and video calling, and document sharing. Even better, Cliq connects to your other Zoho applications, making it easier than ever to move from one app to the next.

Screen shot of the desktop Cliq screen. Showing the instant messaging and video calling.

A great video meeting service is needed for a remote work environment. While Zoho does have a well-rounded meeting application, Zoho Meeting, sometimes Zoom may better fit your needs. Zoho Meeting provides video calling and is included with Zoho One. However, at the time of writing this blog, it still lacks the ability to record your meetings in HD. If you need to record meetings, Zoom in our opinion is the next best service.

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Lucas Sant'Anna

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With a background in Operations Research and Data Analysis, Lucas is a Brazilian programmer that likes to get stuff done quickly and reliably. In previous jobs, he implemented industrial job scheduling, fleet management and detailed long-haul route optimization – among other data-driven processes – to reach objectives of increased profit and reduced wasted resources. His goal is to make Zoho fully automated and with more meaningful data for spot-on decisions.

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