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Building Remote Connections

Internal Communication
Meetings
Motivation

14 May, 2019

Ying Liu, director of engineering at Lyft, shares quick tips on improving communication and establishing relationships with teammates when working remotely.

Problem

Communication is the basis for creating meaningful connections. This concept, however, can be difficult to materialize due to timidness, fear of being wrong, and/or feelings of inferiority when speaking with subject matter experts.

Actions taken

  • Practice active listening.
  • Establish individual and personalized connections.
  • While it's difficult to arrange remotely, try to spend some in-person time together where you talk about something other than work and possibly develop a common interest. Do this in a comfortable setting where you can grab lunch or even a beer.
  • Leave gap room in meetings for people to respond, looking around the room as a signal that the conversation is open to others.
  • Choose someone you are comfortable with and expose your vulnerabilities to them by asking for help with a concept, extra eye on something you are working on, or even admitting that you need some help working on your communication.

Lessons learned

  • Active listening breaks down the insecurities someone may have of feeling inferior to the person they are talking to based on skill level.
  • Developing a relationship outside of the work environment will allow you to solicit more from conversations regarding technical, work-related issues. It also builds trust and comfort so that they feel psychologically safe to share things, despite insecurities.
  • Allowing for gaps in meetings works well for more reserved people to find their voice.
  • By exposing your personal side and establishing that communication, you open up the idea for them to do the same with you.

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