How to Overcome Communication Obstacles With Virtual Teams

As dispersed teams become more and more favorable among employers, particularly in the IT world, communication obstacles may inhibit these virtual teams from achieving optimal productivity. Not only will dispersed teams experience difficulties communicating via technological devices, but considering the globalized nature of virtually dispersed teams means that intercultural communication issues will also be a source of conflict. Today many virtually dispersed teams work in countries such as India and China. English is the language used for business and even if all members of the teams are able to speak very well, dealing with low quality audio on a conference call, can accentuate accents making it difficult to follow what is being said. Even in a situation where there are no accents it is already often difficult to understand. Adding a few heavy accents creates a frustrating situation for everyone because the conversation is halted when people are forced to repeat themselves multiple times. Also, sometimes out of fear of being impolite or insensitive information is just lost when people give up on trying to understand what is being communicated.

A dispersed team creates an opportunity for the company to complete tasks more effectively and efficiently, save the company in travel expenses and allows the company to bring new products 텍사스홀덤 and services to the market in a timely manner. Intercultural dispersed teams may benefit the company even further by contributing new strategies and perspectives to the dynamic of the team. However, trust building and trust development are critical issues that dispersed intercultural teams have to overcome (Uber Gross, 2002). Particularly misunderstandings in communication may contribute to the trust building barriers in intercultural teams. A few methods that may help improve the team’s ability to communicate is to establish personal connections with one another, communicate via varied means of technology and educating members on cultural differences that may exist.

The first step is to build relationships with the other members of the team. This may be difficult considering team members are located all over the world but in today’s society, building relationships via technological means is easier than ever. In the very beginning of the project duration, the team should attempt to build trust with one another. If a business trip is too costly or inefficient for the team, establishing personal relationships by sharing photographs of one another may help members put a face with the voice they are hearing and allow them to establish personal connections.

Often times, virtually dispersed teams communicate mostly by means of audio conference calls. This method especially creates mistaken communication and even loss of information. Varying the methods of communication in which the team utilizes may reduce communication problems, information loss and frustrations among team members. E-mail may be an effective mode of communication in these types of situations. This method allows non-native speakers to gather their thoughts and compose their message in a clear and concise manner. This may also help to reduce loss of information as accents are not an issue in e-mail communication. The receiver will also have the opportunity to ask for any clarifications right away. However, virtual teams who use this method should send several brief e-mails throughout the day instead of one long e-mail, as a long e-mail can become quite tedious to read. Another method is video conference calls as opposed to strictly audio conference calls. This method also increases “face-to-face” time which may improve personal relationships as well.

Lastly, managers and executives should educate the teams on differences in cultures that exist in communication styles. Cultural differences may be apparent in the expectations of formal vs. informal communication, toleration of aggressive/assertive communication and direct vs. indirect communication (Uber Gross, 2002). If the team members are aware and sensitive to these differences in communication styles, they may be able to address misunderstandings and obstacles with communications more effectively.

In conclusion, virtual teams that are dispersed overseas may benefit from building interpersonal and trusting relationships with members of the team, varying methods of communication and educating team members on cultural differences and sensitivities. Establishing these strategies may reduce the frustrations of team members and loss of information which will in turn allow the team to work more effectively and efficiently.

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