How to Have Efficient Meetings with Remote Clients?

Here are some techniques to make stand-up meetings with clients faster and still make the client feel like part of the team:

  • Create a parking lot: Don’t solve problems during stand-up meetings. When you need to find a solution for a problem, write it down, decide who will be in charge of solving it, and move on.
  • Time police: Limit the time that each person has to speak. Be clear about how much time each person has. Have somebody different every day be the "time police" and use something funny to announce that somebody's time is over.
  • If you don't think it’s a good idea for clients to be in every daily stand-up, ask yourself, why do they want to be there? What information are they looking for? Can you deliver this information in another way? Can you build trust in another way? If somebody doesn't need to be in a meeting, do not invite them.
    If you are not sure, test it: "did the person speak and bring knowledge/insight during the meeting?" If the answer is no, do not invite that person again to the next meetings about the same topic.

If you want to learn more about the topic, you can take a three-hour workshop about all the ins and outs of How to Run Successful Online Meetings.


How to break the glass between your team and your remote client from a different culture (AKA overcoming cultural differences in written and spoken communication)

Be very conscious about yourself and your actions. Before speaking to an international audience, consider how they will receive your words. Speak with respect, and if you're unsure that your words are respectful, maybe you'd better keep that sentence to yourself.

As a rule of thumb, always avoid sarcasm and jokes.

When writing emails, be aware that verbal and written communication don't necessarily translate. What might sound very funny in your mind might be offensive to the reader. Sentences with double meaning might not be understood by your remote clients because you don't share the same cultural background. Even if you know someone very well, don't use sarcasm, and especially avoid it in written communication.

If you have a chance, read online about the other culture and find things in common with them. Also, read about the cultural communication norms of that country. Doing this will make you more aware of how to interact, and you can build the relationship based on the things you share.

How often should we have live meetings? Are calls and video conferences enough?

Find the right balance. Have live meetings when you can, but only when it’s necessary. If you have to fly to get to the meeting, think hard about what the meeting will cover. If a video meeting would be just as easy, then do it that way.

One thing we can tell you for sure is that when you see the smallest disagreement starting—the moment you perceive the slightest miscommunication or clashing points of view—have a video conference with the differing parties. You’ll see how much faster the problem gets solved and how good you both feel after the call. DO NOT WRITE AN EMAIL. Emails bring us apart and video calls bring us together.

These questions are inspired by the numerous workshops we facilitate all around the globe. Contact us and we will be happy to improve your team's communication with clients and between team members.

build trust with remote team members

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