Virtual Teams Video Cliff Note #4 – Context Communication

Watch to Learn How To Use Context Communication on Your Virtual Team

The human connection allows a richer path of information exchange through Context Communication for uniting the virtual workforce. This allows virtual team members to understand the setting that their teammates are working in and to find the best approach to collaboration. When context is missing, virtual teams are forced to make a greater effort to maintain the human connection via general information about virtual communications, which in turn leads to new behaviors and ways of communicating.

According to Yael Zofi, Context Communication is achieved in three ways: Environmental Cues, through The Medium, and through Relationships.

  1. Environmental Cues are the visual, audio, and physical cues that provide information about your physical surroundings, your schedule, and your workload.
  2. The Medium is the format or combination of formats we use to communicate, such as e-mail, voice, videoconferencing, or face-to-face interactions, that determines the richness of information that is communicated.
  3. Relationships are the connections that virtual teammates construct as they learn about each other’s career goals, friendships and personalities.


Remember, good communication always unites a team and goes a long way to uniting the virtual workforce that you have at hand. Creating the context for shared understanding is your key task as a virtual manager. When context is communicated well, it builds accountability and trust, without which teams fail to achieve superior performance and produce deliverables.

Here’s a bit more about Context Communication:

Video Transcript:

In my book I refer to that as Context Communication, and what’s missing in the virtual space is context.   So if you and I are working together we have the context.  You can see my desk you can see if it’s messy, if it’s clean. You can see if I’m running around if I have a busy day, if I have a bad day, a good day.

In the virtual space we are missing that piece.  Now technology is the medium that helps us communicate most effectively. There are three types of mediums, there’s the written, the voice and the virtual in person. The written is typically email, although it could be anything that’s written could be text, could be SMS, could be all kinds of different written forms of communication. The voice is most commonly used as the telephone, it’s actually the number one most commonly use of voice, but there are other voice related types of capabilities that are emerging as well. And the virtual in person is most commonly video, a webcam, or a webinar, webcasts, any type of web conference type of capability.

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