Managing Remote Relationships

by Karen Dillon

After you’ve dialed someone into a meeting, do you find it difficult to meaningfully involve her in the conversa-tion—and make her feel involved? I’ve been there hundreds of times. I’ve even caught myself rolling my eyes as the person on the other end of that star-shaped phone breathed too loudly, spoke at the wrong time, or worst of all, didn’t stop talking when everyone else was willing her to do so.

But then I began working on overseas assignments, and it was my voice in the dreaded “box”—so I started to see things differently. It’s horrible trying to call in when people are chitchatting and making noises with their chairs. And you can never quite read the unspoken tone of the meeting. You talk ...

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