How should I share this message?

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We’ve all been to a meeting that should have been an email or received a call that could have been sent in a quick message.

How do we know what channel to use for each type of message?

Here are some rules of thumb:

  1. Know what your goal for the communication is. Are you looking to just share information, or discuss an issue and work to find a conclusion?

  2. Once a communication goal is decided, pick your channel. Ex: Email to share confidential or limited information, message to chat one-on-one, or video chat to have an in-depth discussion.

  3. Check on your communication protocol or team charter every once in a while to make sure you’re all sticking to the plan.

Still stuck? Check out this roadmap to virtual communication.

Standarize, Standardize, Standardize

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Last week, we introduced Team Charters to the remote worker conversation. Once that’s made, how do we make sure our communication is effective?

First things first: Standardize!

According to this video by the Harvard Business Review, there are a few things we can do to keep communication consistent:

  1. If you plan to use acronyms for any part of the communication (i.e. EOD, TL;DR), make sure you agree upon them ahead of time.

  2. Set a protocol for certain communication platforms. Where should you share what?

  3. Limit the amount of messages you send each day- too many can overload your team. Would you physically walk into your coworker’s office 10 times a day?

What do you do to keep your virtual communication consistent?

Virtual Team Charter


Whether you’re just starting to add remote workers to your team or have been operating virtually for years, it’s important to have your goals and guidelines on paper.

Here’s how to create a Virtual Team Charter:

  1. During a workshop meeting, ask each team member to think about their remote work experience. What worked well? What held up productivity?

  2. Have each person come up with 5-10 principles of remote work and share them somewhere everyone can see.

  3. Use a “heat map” to determine which principles to focus on. Have each member place dots next to the ideas that resonate with them. By the end of the exercise, you can easily see which values are most important to the whole group.

  4. Ask someone to draft a charter (in a shared platform like Google Docs). Then, set a strict deadline for anyone to edit changes.

  5. Pilot the charter for a few weeks and then, reflect on its success in a team meeting. Keep updating the charter as new ideas and processes arise.

After you create your charter, share some ideas with us. What values did your team find important in virtual work?

Managing Remote Teams

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According to a study published in 2018, 70% of people around the world work remotely at least once a week.

Our next series of Coaching Catchups are designed to keep up with that number by sharing some of Ward Certified’s tips and tricks for managing remote teams.

First tip: You can never be too descriptive.

When writing, emailing, calling, or even video chatting with a remote employee, the more explanation, the better.

For example:

  • Before: “We need to respond to our clients ASAP.” After: “We need to respond to our clients within 24 hours.”

  • Before: “Can you get this to me on Friday?” After: “Can you have this to me by 5pm CST on Friday?” (Tip: Time zones are very important when working with remote employees!)

  • Before: “How does this sound?” After: “Can you tell me what you like and 2 potential changes you would make to this document?”

Fight ambiguity with clarification.

Let us know: How many members of your team work remotely?

It's like a family here…


Sometimes your colleagues can be like annoying siblings. But what can we do?

  • Remember you don’t have to like everyone. It is called ‘work’.

  • Try to see the job or situation from their point of view. Why might they be doing that thing that annoys you? 

    • Perhaps they are asking a lot of questions because that information is required in their role. 

    • Maybe they are late getting you information because they are receiving it late from someone else.

    • It might be that they really like when someone smiles and offers a chipper “Good Morning!” because they like that.

  • Have a conversation with them and try to reboot the relationship. Delete the cache, which may contain baggage or negativity from past interactions. Start fresh by asking for their advice on a situation, project, or communication.

    • “Hey Bart, you’ve been at the company longer than me. I’m having a tough time with all the changes, how are you keeping up? Have you got any advice for me?”

 We find whatever we’re looking for. Look for the best in others.

Team Ward Certified

It's Party Time!


You know how to plan an office party. But what if your team is all virtual?

Team Ward Certified is spread across the States, but we still need to connect and have some laughs.  How do we do it? This year our holiday party was a virtual one- and it was a blast!

  • We kicked it off with some success stories from the past year.

  • Participated in a virtual Secret Santa and played Virtual Pictionary.

  • And we had snacks too- Ann sent each of us a box of goodies that arrived the day of the bash. 

Want to know how we did it? Email Sam for more details.

Smile, Breathe, and Meet on. You got this!

Think your team could benefit from Leading Effective Meetings Training? Click here to check it out.


Finish Early


Question:  How do you make meeting participants happy?

 Wrap up early.

Sounds like a great plan, but how?

  1. Stick to your agenda. If the conversation goes off topic, add it to a “parking lot” or “wish list” then get back to business.

  2. Use the time wisely. If you’ve got status updates and for-your-info-only content, send that in an email instead.

  3. Use a timer and set an alarm for yourself 5-10 minutes prior to wrap up time.

  4. Invite less people to the meeting- think to yourself: who needs to be there?

  5. Have a stand-up meeting- The movement is good for you and will remind you to keep things short and sweet.

  6. If it’s virtual, have people share their cameras.

Think your team could benefit from Leading Effective Meetings Training? Click here to check it out.