Communication is the foundation of a healthy work environment. If no one is talking, then information isn’t being passed around, and if information isn’t being passed around, then how is anyone to know what to do? Granted, it’s not quite as simple as having a quick chat, but there are certainly communication strategies you can adopt that will make your productivity increase immensely. Here are some communication strategies that you definitely need to know about:
Verbal communication strategies are extremely important. Simply letting your team know you care can drastically increase team morale and eventually productivity. Take advantage of lunch and coffee breaks. Get to know your team and make friends with them.
Don’t forget that words go both ways. If you have an open attitude about verbally communicating with each other, then your team will, too. Verbal communication allows us to eliminate misunderstandings. Think about how many times you’ve read too much into a text message. That’s because it’s so hard to convey someone’s true emotions from behind a screen. Face-to-face communication is the single most important form of communication simply because it’s personal.
As stated above, if you have an open mindset about communication, then your team will, too. This is called transparency. But, it doesn’t have to be just verbal communication, or even words at all. Using software like Teamweek allows everyone to be transparent with their schedule, tasks, and progress. With a quick glance, you’ll understand exactly what everyone is up to and who needs help. You can also openly add tasks to anyone’s timeline for everyone to see. It avoids confusion and prevents you from having to make a ton of phone calls and sending lots of emails.
You don’t have to have a massive briefing, but a simple meeting can often clear up a lot of confusion. Hold a quick 15 minute meeting daily to make sure everyone is on the same page. If they aren’t, you can quickly answer any questions and set them back on the right path.
A good meeting has direction. Before you even step foot through that door or enter that Skype chat, you should have an outlined agenda as to where that meeting is going. Meetings can sometimes get off track, but having an agenda as your road map will help you set it straight again.
Everyone learns a little differently. For a lot of people, physically seeing what you’re talking about helps them more than any number of hours of it being explained. If you have a one or more of these visual learners on your team, think about coming up with a visual presentation at the next meeting. Using colors and graphs often take complicated ideas and turn them into more manageable ones, even for people that aren’t visual learners.
Feedback isn’t something that a lot of people go searching for. It is technically criticism after all. But, feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, is how you grow in your career. If you’re doing something incorrectly, you need to hear about it.
Asking for and receiving feedback helps fill in those gaps in communication. If someone is having a hard time understanding a concept, they should feel comfortable enough to tell you about. It might have been caused by missed information on your part. You also have to remember that you have a skilled team of experts on your hands – feedback might help increase your own productivity and morale.
You should take time slots out of your day to dedicate specifically towards communication. Make it a habit. Set time aside in the morning to check your emails, make phone calls after lunch, or send a quick text to check in on some team members before you go home.
The more of a routine you get into, the more the people you work with will start to expect replies at certain times. While you should always be open for any sort of communication, it’s always nice to know when your boss is 100% going to answer their phone.
Work doesn’t always have to feel like work. If you’re serious all the time it can be a real morale drain. Look for ways to show off your sense of humor while also staying professional. A funny joke in a meeting can really lighten the mood. If you can get someone laughing, then you can get them to do anything. Having wholesome fun is a great way to relax a situation with taking away from the importance of the situation.
Repetition can help drive a point, but it eventually starts to feel less like practical information and a lot like a lecture. Granted, there might be some employees or team members that need that extra shove every once in a while, but you should only have to ask once. If your team members are self driven and motivated, that’s all it will take.
One of the most effective communication strategies, team building activities, although a simple idea, can accomplish a lot of different things. Perhaps the most useful trait drawn out of one of these activities is that your team feels more comfortable with each other. After all, what better way to get to know each other than a casual board game? Look for unique ways your team can spend some time together outside of the text channels and video chats.
We’ll end this on a very straightforward tip: explore all communication strategies. Each team is different, therefore, each team’s communication strategies should be different, too. Try out a few new ideas, even if they seem a little odd. Your team might be thanking you for it later.
It’s so much easier to plan & estimate with a small team when I can see everyone & all projects at once.