Over a three-decade career in the telecom industry, Glenn Lurie has advocated for embracing a mobile, digital lifestyle. The need for such a lifestyle became particularly apparent when Covid-19 brought the world to a standstill in 2020. Now, Lurie encourages leaders to set up tech-enabled communication systems to future-proof their businesses against other crises.
For example, many businesses in the post-pandemic era have shifted towards hybrid working, combining remote and in-person work. Strong communication is crucial as organizations adapt to this new, flexible model.
Glenn Lurie’s Seven Strategies for Maintaining Communication
The pandemic was a source of worldwide disruption and distress, but Lurie says it also presented a learning opportunity. While crises are inevitable, we can learn to “better prepare and execute care and safety at a moment’s notice.” Times of upheaval can also compel us to reassess how we navigate our lives and work.
In 2020, with the pandemic enforcing limits on travel and social interactions, many of Lurie’s employees were working remotely. The shift reminded the business leader about the value of “multiple channels and tools for communication.” He explains that “despite the disruption, life and business still continue.”
Lurie emphasizes that “technology is the key” to staying connected, even while working at home. He adds that organizations should evaluate how to “ramp up communications” during times of crisis instead of reducing them.
These are the former AT&T Mobility CEO’s seven digital strategies to enhance communication and drive business growth. These strategies can help organizations maintain communications even in times of crisis:
- Begin every day with a plan of attack for that day…
- Set time on people’s calendars for long-term consistent communications…
- Invite all the necessary parties to the conversation…
- Establish specific goals, outcomes and actions for each conversation…
- Turn on your camera during virtual meetings…
- Leverage screen-sharing to maximize the meeting and impacts…
- Based on the actions arrange follow-up calls and send follow-up communications to make sure all are on the same page…
1) Begin Every Day with a Plan of Attack for that day
For many, transitioning to a remote work environment can be challenging. This is especially true if you work from home and lack a dedicated workspace. To avoid distractions, Lurie advises taking time to plan your objectives and priorities each morning. Consider creating a to-do list or using digital tools to outline your daily tasks.
This planning allows you to approach your work with a sense of purpose and direction. It also ensures you won’t overlook important meetings or calls.
By starting each day with a plan of attack, you can be better prepared to navigate the challenges of working from home. You can also be better placed to keep up effective communication with colleagues and clients.
2) Set Time on People’s Calendars for long-term and consistent communications
With hybrid working, setting clear expectations and respecting others’ time is crucial. Lurie explains that one good practice is to set time on people’s calendars to talk and avoid calling unannounced.
When working remotely, remember that everyone has different schedules and commitments. Lurie advises against making impromptu calls or expecting immediate availability.
Instead, use calendar tools and scheduling apps to set up dedicated time slots for discussions or virtual meetings. With this approach, businesses can foster a more considerate communication culture. This culture can enable better collaboration and minimize disruptions.
3) Invite All Necessary Parties to the Conversation
To support good communication, include all relevant participants in meetings. This is particularly important for remote or hybrid working setups, where team members may not work in the same location or time zone. Inviting all necessary parties to the conversation can promote collaboration and inclusive decision-making.
Lurie adds that multi-party video conferencing can enable better communication among distributed teams. Virtual conferences allow for large-scale meetings with more than 100 participants. This way, you can bring together many team members from various departments and organizations.
4) Establish specific goals, outcomes and actions for each conversation…
Creating a list of goals is a proactive approach to having focused, productive conversations. Lurie suggests defining the objectives and desired outcomes before engaging in a conversation. This way, you establish a shared understanding among all participants.
During the conversation, all parties will want to stay focused on the agreed-upon actions and priorities. Regularly referring back to the list of goals can help ensure the discussion aligns with these objectives.
5) Turn On Your Camera During Virtual Meetings
Lurie advises turning on your camera during all your virtual meetings. He explains that “reading facial expressions is an incredibly valuable part of effective communication.”
Facial expressions convey emotions, intentions, and reactions. By turning on your camera, you can make use of these visual cues during conversations. You can also create more personal connections. This can speed up building relationships and fostering trust among participants.
6) Leverage Screen-Sharing to maximize meetings and impacts
Many video conferencing tools offer screen-sharing. Lurie explains that this feature can be a powerful tool during virtual meetings. Screen sharing can reduce confusion by showing the exact content or context you are referencing or discussing.
In addition, sharing your screen allows you to reveal the steps, actions, or visual aids in your presentation. This way, the feature can minimize ambiguity and promote efficiency during virtual communication.
7) Based on the actions, arrange follow-up calls and send follow-up communications to make sure all are on the same page…
To avoid communication stalling, Lurie advises scheduling follow-up calls during conversations. Take the opportunity to agree upon the next steps and topics that need further discussion, and book a date and time to reconvene. This can ensure all parties allocate the necessary time and resources for the upcoming conversation.
Proactive call scheduling also fosters accountability. Setting up the next touchpoint while still on the call can ensure that progress continues without unnecessary delays.
Lurie adds that sending follow-up emails after conversations is just as important. A follow-up email can serve as a written record of the conversation. Email records can help prevent misunderstandings and provide a reference for future discussions.
You can also attach any relevant documents, decks, or additional resources discussed during the call to follow-up emails. This way, you facilitate easy access to project materials and support future collaboration.
Glenn Lurie on Fostering Valuable Conversations Through Technology
Face-to-face interaction is still the optimal choice for business communication. However, tech-enabled live communication can be valuable for building and nurturing strong business relationships.
Lurie believes that, with the right technologies, remote and hybrid working can offer businesses the opportunity to improve communication between employees, colleagues, clients, or partners.
Text and email are often our primary methods of communication. While convenient, Lurie notes that the volume we receive daily can feel overwhelming. Often, important messages and their meaning get lost in translation. This can “hinder our ability to get things done simply and efficiently.”
Instead of sending more emails and texts, Lurie suggests reaching people on phones or voice conferencing lines. Businesses can leverage video technologies such as Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, and WebEx. These tools can make communication “quicker, more productive, and more personal than a text or an email.”
With these platforms, teams can engage in real-time interactions that mimic face-to-face conversations. This can foster a deeper sense of connection and enable more efficient collaboration.
About Glenn Lurie
Glenn Lurie is a telecommunications veteran and a highly sought-after business advisor. With a career spanning almost 30 years, he has held leadership roles in the telecom, technology, and media industries.
Before his successful telecommunications career, Lurie pursued professional soccer. He then worked at McCaw Cellular in the 1990s before joining AT&T. He played a pivotal role in AT&T’s negotiations with Apple, paving the way for the first iPhone and iPad.
Lurie is the former president and CEO of Synchronoss Technologies and AT&T’s Mobility and Consumer Operations. Today, he is a general partner at Stormbreaker Ventures and a board member at Avis/Budget Group. Lurie also contributes as a board member for various companies and nonprofits.
Connect with Glenn Lurie on Linkedin.