How to improve communication in your team? Every aware manager will ask themselves this question sooner or later. Without doubt, poor communication can ruin any chances of completing projects and is detrimental to teamwork. Therefore, we decided to present to you 10 ways to improve team communication.
1. Effective team communication equals clear message
Team communication must be founded on a clear message. Start from the purpose of a project: present it as a measurable outcome. For instance, if the goal is to reduce electric energy consumption while maintaining production at the same level, it is advisable to set a specific figure, for instance: “Energy consumed in the workplace decreased by 7%.”
When delegating tasks, make sure that everyone has understood their tasks. Even if no one is asking about anything, there may be team members who do not know exactly what they have to do. It is your job, then, to ask the relevant questions and make sure that everything you want to convey is clear and understandable.
Efficient delivery of messages will make work easier and faster. If you use a proper task management application, every time you delegate a task, the relevant team member will be notified of it automatically, through the system. What is more, the team member will find all necessary information in the task, which will facilitate its completion.
2. Frequent internal communication
Not everyone remembers to communicate with their team on a regular basis. You cannot count on smooth and problem-free execution of assigned tasks, always on time.
Make inquiries about the needs of your team members. If you know that someone does not hand in reports on time, remind them of it a day before. Such communication can be greatly facilitated by a special messenger – you can use external applications of this sort, e.g. Facebook or Google Hangouts, or deploy a comprehensive solution for task and project management with a built-in messenger.
It will definitely improve your project-related communication. An example of such a solution is IC Project. In addition to the messenger, it allows adding comments to specific tasks and set notifications. These features streamline and accelerate communication greatly.
3. Remote team communication
Employees often see meetings as not constructive because they take a lot of time and are not very effective. This is because time is needed not only to attend the meeting, but also to reach the meeting room, wait for everyone etc. Studies show that short, over-a-dozen-minute meetings are the least effective.
Therefore, if you need to say something to your team members, do it by phone, e-mail or internal messenger – it will facilitate the process of communication in your team. If, however, a meeting is really necessary, consider a video conference. Organising one should not be any difficult for an enterprise operating in the days of modern technology.
4. Better team communication – constructive feedback
It is common knowledge that nobody likes to be exposed to criticism. Unfortunately, feedback is necessary to let people know when they do something wrong. That being said, it has to be reasonable. Prepare for such conversations. Do not limit yourself to listing mistakes. When giving feedback, it is worth mentioning to your team member a task which they completed with a good outcome and saying that you count on them to keep on doing their tasks that way.
Efficient team communication means saying exactly what was done wrong. Apart from that, though, it means giving advice and guidelines allowing not to repeat the same mistakes again. Make sure you use easily verifiable figures and facts. The same applies to meetings induced by, for instance, low sales. Instead of saying that the sales have dropped, say that the sales are lower by 20% compared to the previous year and indicate things to be improved in the next month. How to improve team communication? By giving figures – the tangible and measurable is more memorable.
5. Improvement in group communication and consideration for individuals
Bonding goes well with communication. If your team members like each other, communication will be easier. This is why it is worth getting to know them. You can all do personality tests, which will help you understand each other and reveal the person types you are. Myers-Briggs type indicator, DISC assessments – these are just examples of useful personality tests.
They allow you to deepen your understanding of the motivations driving individual team members, what keeps them moving and their preferred communication styles. Also, remember to treat others as you would like them to treat you. Effective team communication is based on respect. You should not be condescending towards others, team members should be treated as equals and partners, they should be appreciated and encouraged to share their ideas.
6. Open communication and openness
The principles of efficient team communication are simple – your team members have to know that they can always count on you and that you are a part of your team. This is why efficient communication demands that you make it easier for them to contact you. If you work in the office only several hours or days a week, on an irregular basis at that, set specific hours when you will always be available in case someone would like to pay you a visit and have a talk.
In addition, it is worth creating a separate communication channel in your internal messenger. It is important that all project team members have access to it and receive messages quickly. Being available also means readiness for talking about ideas of your team members, having discussions and brainstorming. All that makes your team members feel as one whole and encourages them, even the more introverted ones, to voice their opinions and ideas.
7. How to improve team communication?
Introducing some constant points in a project workflow will help keep it regular. It will also facilitate information flow in your team. Not everyone is willing to share their current progress and project work out of their own initiative. Introducing such a regularity may allow to achieve just that.
It is best to set, for instance, a weekly meeting always held at the same time and on the same day of the week: it can be utilised to discuss the progress made over the last week and the tasks for the next one. A good idea might also be to introduce daily reports on completed tasks, handed at the end of the day. Such a solution will allow obtaining the necessary information and reaching out to team members who would normally not take the first step to talk or make contact.
8. Preparing memos as one of the best means to improve team communication
Methods for better team communication include preparing memos. This is important for several reasons. It will help avoid unnecessary stress and misunderstandings, make it easier to keep the hierarchy of tasks and it will teach order. If everything is confirmed on paper, it will also lead to smoother information exchange in your team.
9. Communicate at work with your voice tone
As a manager, you need to have some tact and know when to say certain things and when not to. Sometimes you may wonder how to improve information flow in your enterprise, while it would be best if you, to put it bluntly, said nothing at all. Criticising one person in front of others may disrupt your communication.
The criticised person may feel hurt, which will make them reluctant to talk to you in the future. Not only that: others will see your tactless behaviour and grow more distance from you as a result. Take care of your voice as well so that it radiates your kindness and smile. It will also come in handy in your daily life: you will simply become a more approachable person.
10. Significance of proper form of information flow
Strive to inject some freshness into your relations with your team members. It might be a presentation of important data that is actually interesting, not just a tedious Excel chart. Such information, presented in an ingenious manner, will be remembered more easily and people will generally be more eager to listen to you.
We hope that these 10 tips will help you improve communication with your team. If you’re looking for similar topics, see our article on team management. There you will find 20 key tips for each manager.