4 PR Tips For Embracing Remote Meetings
I recently read an article in GigaOm, How to Embrace Remote Meetings and it got me thinking about my own experience. Since starting at LP&P almost six years ago, one of the things I've really enjoyed has been learning how to effectively work with team members at our Boston headquarters from my "remote" office in Austin.
Not only do we have clients all over the map - across multiple different time zones, but our internal team structures often require us to work across blended Austin/Boston account mixes, making this skill even more necessary.
Based upon what I've experienced so far, following are my top 4 PR tips for being an efficent remote worker.
Over-Communicate and Speak Up
Over-communicate to the point of feeling like you are that annoying team member with the constant flow of status updates. I learned fairly early on that if you aren't speaking up on a consistant basis with your remote teams then the assuption tends to be that you aren't being producitve.
If your managers and team members don't physically see you, it's difficult for everyone to not let "out of sight, out of mind" creep in. We have an internal IM application that the agency uses, which helps almost elimate this problem, but it is still amazing what a quick three minute phone call can accomplish.
More Meetings Doesn't Equal an Efficent Employee
One of my pet peeves is having meetings to talk about meetings that just results in another meeting. Unfortunately, this tends to be the fall back with most remote teams, especially in PR where activities are evolving at light speed and internal communications is key to client success. Echoing similar points in the GigaOm article, the more preperation and organization that goes into meetings leads to more efficent workers and a key to this is incoporating video conferencing.
Stick to a Schedule
One of the benefits of working remotely is that because of dispersed clients, internal teams and media, most PR folks adopt some sort of flexible schedule. As long as you are keeping consistant hours, which team members are all aware of, this helps to significantly cut down on managers and teams confusing your lack of communication with lack of productivity.
We have an internal employee calendar housed on our intranet, which is not only super easy to edit, but it is also simple to get a quick glance of colleagues' available time. Making sure you are keeping this up-to-date helps elimate any questions.
Embrace New Technologies
I've never been one to be comfortable with change and this rings true even when it comes to the way I embrace new technologies. However, utilizing new technologies has been necessary when it comes to figuring out how I can continually work as effectively as possible.
We use Facebook and Twitter to connect with reporters, so why not use these tools to connect and build stronger team relationships with coworkers? In fact, one of my account teams is currently testing out how to have effective "huddle meetings" using Google+.
So I'm curious, how are you embracing remote meetings and what tools are you finding enable you to be more productive?