Successful Virtual Teams

Virtual teaming involves delivering the bulk of project communications through online workspaces, forums, web conferencing and chat. Cost effective and convenient in challenging economic conditions. Here are some ways to create successful multinational online teams:

  • Provide background information on participants. Some communities have a small picture of the author with each post and links back to their background information, expertise or personal story.
  • Allow an element of fun! At IBM, the talk amongst the publishers isn’t always about the intranet. According to Ethan McCarthy, intranet editor-in-chief, joking around in the online meeting space means participants are focused on the meeting instead of checking emails – plus they’re building important social bonds which will allow them to function more naturally in a virtual world.
  • Keep the conversations going through other tools such as asynchronous forums and blogs
  • Provide a chat facility with private messaging in case members who are not fluent in the preferred corporate language need clarification.
  • If time zones are an issue, consider rolling meetings or web conferences with the same agenda, or podcasts
  • Take things slower than you would in face-to-face situations to ensure understanding and to account for people not communicating in their first language.
  • If possible, have a face-to-face kick-off. This will reduce the time it takes to build familiarity with colleagues.

A snippet from the article ‘Communication without Borders‘ in Communication World in IABC members’ mailbox this month. To read the full article, join IABC.