Freelance and remote jobs give us the freedom to work with a variety of different clients from all over the world. However, such a style of working can often pose challenges when it comes to communication.
You have probably heard it too many times, but it’s true that good communication skills are vital if you want to succeed as a freelancer or remote employee.
So, if you are looking to improve your interaction skills, read this article for some useful suggestions.
Let’s start with the most obvious mean of communication — email.
Tip #1: Use a professional email signature
As a freelancer or remote worker, you probably use email not only to reach out to potential employers but also to discuss stuff with the current clients. In both cases, it would be great if you could let people find out more about you and your services in an unobtrusive way.
A well-designed email signature is the easiest way to do so. It is not only going to make you look professional, but it can also showcase your skills, provide social proof, and even help you with referrals.
What I like about email signature the most is that they allow you to add a little human element to your email by including a photo of yourself. Now the recipient can picture how you look. That’s important, especially if you never saw each other but want to work together.
You can easily create your free email signature by yourself.
Plus, people interested in your services should be able to get in touch with you immediately, not only via email. The email signature is a perfect place to add a phone number. And if you are a digital nomad who is often on the road, then add a Skype ID or your other preferred channel of contact.
If you don’t know how to do it all properly, here is an email signature generator I used for myself. It’s free.
Tip #2: Be open to video chats
As a rule, it isn’t easy to achieve everything you need with only one channel. For instance, email is a good choice if you want to send updates or any other information you would like to have on record. Voice and video calls are usually better for back-and-forth conversations. So, be up to date with modern technologies to be able to use a variety of mediums.
Tip #3: Stick to a business tone
Finding the right tone of communication with clients can be difficult for freelancers because they often work in a casual, relaxed environment and don’t see an employer. Some of them just can’t take it as seriously as they would if they go to the office.
However, when it comes to business, it is critical to communicate as a professional, not “some guy who once made a website for me.”
Tip #4: Use Google Drive or DropBox to send files
When it comes to collaborative work, Google Drive and DropBox are the two great tools to take advantage of. Why are those so convenient for freelancers and remote employees?
Imagine that you are working on a pdf brochure for two clients who live in different time zones. It’s not always easy to pick the time to set up a call and discuss everything together. But if you use Google Drive, they can access the brochure anytime and leave comments or suggestions in your document.
The same thing with Dropbox, employers can set up folders for submitting work and avoid using email when receiving completed projects.
Tip #5: Always reply
No matter how busy you are, you can always find a minute to let people know that you received their email. It’s rude and unprofessional if you don’t get back to clients for more than 24 hours. Once again, you can at least let them know that you saw the message. It would help if you told them how soon you would get back to them.
Tip #6: Use task management systems
Modern task management software can save you and your employer tons of time. It allows task tracking, delegating, and always staying up to date. Here are a few examples of task management tools: Trello, Asana, Monday, Basecamp.
Tip #7: Ask the client
One vital thing that I have learned working with clients remotely is always to ask the client about their best methods of communication. Depending on your employer’s type of business and background, they may or may not like communicating by phone or email.
I have had a few clients who were open-minded and communicative, but when I tried to email them, their responses were too far from clear and helpful. Then I used a phone, and it was a completely different story.
That is why it is important to set up a phone call or video chat before you start working on a project and determine what might work best in terms of communication. Setting mutually clear expectations for communication from the very beginning can help make the work run more smoothly.
If you want to succeed as a freelancer or remote worker, you should remember that communication is really important. Efficient communication can make the work run smoothly or turn everything in a total disaster.
By following these suggestions, you can not only achieve higher productivity but also make your working days more pleasant and less frustrating.
Let’s sum up quickly. To communicate more efficiently as a remote worker or freelancer, you need to follow these simple tactics:
- Be open to using various methods of communication from chats to phone and video calls;
- Choose the right apps. Those include task management software (e.g., Trello, Asana) and apps that allow collaborative work (e.g., Google Drive, Dropbox);
- Don’t use too informal tone when communicating with a client even when chatting;
- Don’t be too late with replies. That’s unprofessional;
- Ask the client about their preferred method of communication;
- Use a professional email signature to add a human element to your conversation.
Description: Looking for tips on how to succeed at remote work? Start with improving your communication skills. Read this article to learn the essentials and even more.