1.3 Using Skype
Skype is a commonly used communication tool, for both one-to-one discussions and group calls.
As mentioned in the previous section, it can take some time to get used to using it, but Bednarz (2016) has the following advice for maximising the experience:
Prior to the call
- Check the time zone.
- Have an agenda prepared (you could even share it with the other person in advance).
- Test your equipment.
- Eliminate possible interruptions.
- Wear appropriate clothing and think about lighting, for example, try not to have a window behind you.
During the call
- Focus on the conversation – practice active listening (as discussed in Week 2) and think about your non-verbal cues, such as eye contact, posture etc.
- Remember to look into the camera – particularly when you are talking about something important. That way – they will see eye contact from you and be more engaged with what you are saying.
- Check for understanding – ask effective questions, invite feedback, etc. Make regular glances at the other person’s face so you can check their facial expressions.
- Smile and keep the conversation going – use phrases like ‘are you with me?’ or ‘do you know what I mean?’ as this can help with awkward pauses if the connection is slow.
After the call
- Follow up with a thank you email summarising agreed points and further steps.
You’ve looked at some of the day-to-day issues of communicating remotely and the potential for isolation. In the next section, you’ll start to think about how technology can help to grow and enhance your profile in the working environment.