The Communications Clinic
The Communications Clinic
January 12, 2021

Taking expert insights and lessons from the past year, Senior Training Consultant Sarah Geraghty advises readers of The Irish Times Magazine on the smarter, healthier and more productive way to work from home in 2021.

Read an excerpt of the article here:

Remember the same rules apply on Zoom as in every human communication: it’s about the other person – listening and paying attention to them.

Yet even pre-pandemic, this was often ignored. We look at our phones while talking to colleagues. Or worse – Ruadhán MacCormaic’s book, The Supreme Court, presents the case of a nameless judge who put The Irish Times crossword secretly into his notebook, hidden from the barristers arguing in front of him. They were convinced he was making notes of their key points.

The 2020 equivalent was the “Stop Video” button. A senior sales executive in a tech company speaks for many when she says, “nothing’s more soul-destroying than speaking to a black box with a name in it”.

The fact is that some participants in remote meetings, without physically turning off their camera, nonetheless fail to do that basic essential communication: reacting to the other human being.

Passivity is the easy option but it’s not the best one: a strong case can be made for the “more, not less” kind of engagement online. And in real life too.

“Early on in the pandemic, the importance of communicating more – not less – became very clear,” says Tara Lougheed, HR director at law firm Eversheds Sutherland. Lougheed encourages it in a brief twice-weekly check-in with her team. “I need to see that everyone’s ok. If I’m sitting there with a cup of tea and they can see me too, they might be less afraid to say ‘I’m all Zoomed out’ or ‘today’s not great’.”

Read the full article here.