I have been taking and teaching/facilitating online courses since 2000 and working virtually since 2006. So one would think that I would have a handle on making the most of a virtual environment. This past month I participated in a virtual support system/game related to setting and achieving goals. It was an amazing experience with participants from all over the US. Through this virtual collaborative experience I was reminded that the key to virtual success is communication. Communication has come a long way in the past 10 years. The constant contact and interactions with others reminded me of all the tools that are available to support virtual communication.
- Email –this is probably the virtual tool I have used the longest, it is basic, everyone had an email address and sharing information is easy
- Facebook –this social media site is where we created a private group, we could send messages to all group members or just post and share
- Text Messaging – for those little reminders or questions that came up throughout the day just using text allowed us to keep in touch and a couple of group members learned a trick or two in how to communicate with others
- Skype – we used this for a virtual call, allowing all participants to chat at the same time.
- Web Conferencing – there are lots of different tools for conferencing but one of our smaller group members uses WebEx and we met there for a weekly check in. We even used that to take a virtual picture of our group.
There are additional tools that can be used for communication purposes, but these are the ones that paid a large part in my group experience. It is also key to be clean in what you are saying and meaning.
I also wonder what tools will be available in 10 years to help with communication. Will they have changed? Or will they be enhancements of what is currently available.
Do you have a favorite virtual communication tool? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.