The co-located team’s communication medium is air! Technology is air for virtual teams. The tools used for communications are essential. They must be pure and clean and not cause coughing and sickness. Technology that is difficult to use, hides, clips, or drops words has caused teams to die.

In selecting a tool for team members, it should mimic air as much as possible. A high-quality real-time video that captures the entire space and allows for clear views and sounds is a must for success. Text, or even voice alone, cannot fully capture the wide range of human communication.

In addition, the ability to archive and refer back to communications is also critical—and can be a challenge with video and voice communication. Consider tools that allow for transcription of meetings—but using a blend of media can be an even easier, more cost-effective solution. In your communication plan, you might create a norm that meetings begin with an agenda shared via email—and notes are shared after the meeting on each agenda item.

Finally, it is important to ensure that technology will be uniformly available in all sites. If a communication tool only works with one type of computer or is blacked out in certain countries, this could be a deal-breaker—unless you can ensure your team won’t be affected.

Practical Tip: Assign one team member to become the team’s communication technology tool expert.

What’s virtual tool works best for helping your team perform better?

This was excerpted from the article, Virtual Teams Best Practices.