At Codeable, remote working is an important aspect of our lives and business: we're a remote team, spread across Europe and US, and our core business is providing the best WordPress Experts to small businesses, agencies and bloggers around the globe. Without remote working, Codeable wouldn't have existed.
We use tools like Slack and Skype that make our remote lives easier but many of our first time clients aren't used to remote working and all that comes with it, so I'd like to share some tips on how to communicate better, share criticism and productive feedback with your outsourced WordPress expert.
On Codeable, we found that projects where there is a clear and consistent dialogue between client and expert, get completed in less time on average. So improving the way you communicate, it's better for your work too!
Let's see how with 5 actionable tips.
1. Be specific
The first thing you should take into consideration is to be sure you and your remote expert are on the same page. This means the project's goal, scope, and all sub-task you're requesting, are clearly understood on both side. Share specific requests or comments and keep discussing strictly on them to let the discussion be as focused as possible. Numbered lists might come in handy to make referencing, even in future discussions, more easily accessible.
2. Do everything to remove misunderstandings
Once the project starts, the expert might ask you questions to better understand your needs. This could be the case for the 2 of you to share some thoughts and feedback on mockup, prototypes, etc. At this point, share straightforward comments (both negative and positive) you think would be useful to the progress of the work and write only those words that are necessary to let the expert understand and act accordingly.
3. Keep away subjective words to prevent conversation go personal
We're human beings and subjectivity always gets in the way to ruin everything. By knowing this in advance, try to avoid subjective terms like "weird", "bad" or sentences like "that's wrong" and think more about how the expert can act on what you say. How can anyone fix something "weird"? It gives no clues. Instead, try to use an objective approach to your feedback and go with something like "I'm not used to see things like this. Why did you do that?" so that you can keep conversation about the development and understand why the expert came up with that specific solution. Of course, if you have data-backed numbers to support your argument, they could be pretty useful in such conversation.
4. Be polite
It's difficult not to follow through with gut feelings when something doesn't go as you would expect. But these kind of feelings are your worst enemy when you want to the get the best out from anyone. Whenever this happens, try not to go all crazy on the expert and shot angry comments because it'd probably shift the focus of the discussion to a complete new topic and, from your point of view, this would mean the work gets paused and likely be done in more time.
5. Don't think everyone wants to screw you
Not knowing directly a person brings up a lot of prejudice. And when it has to do with remote working with them, we tend to get defensive and trust others less than we normally do. When working with an outsourced expert, this fear arises. But try not to forget that experts also are on your same boat: they don't know if you're going to be a pain in the ass or a good client to them. So talk to them in a natural way, and when something doesn't look as a good fit to you, ask for reasons about why the expert came up with that solution.Working with remote peers is all about keeping the discussion focused in a constructive conversation Click To Tweet
Words are all we have (to communicate better)
Raymond Carver once told: "That's all we have, finally, the words, and they had better be the right ones". At the end of the day, working with remote peers is all about keeping the discussion focused and always look for constructive conversation, isn't it?
Now, it's your turn: How did you improve your written communications when working with remote experts? Do you have any more tips to add here on my list? Share your thoughts in the comments below!