Failure to meet deadlines, long email threads, disputes during meetings, poorly planned projects, missing files, delayed feedback, you name it. How about meetings where people are talking to each other and thinking they are discussing the same thing, but it is obvious that they don’t?
Rings a bell? Of course, it does. We’ve all been there.
Team communication isn’t always as effective as we’d want it to be, and it has a direct impact on every area of an organization. It has an impact on team dynamics, how people collaborate, leadership communication, and so much more. Communication may make a difficult task easy, but it can also make a simple task impossible.
Ineffective communication has long been one of the top problems in any organization. What skills do we need to have effective team communication? And what can be done to encourage good communication?
We created this comprehensive guide for effective communication to help us improve in our workplace. We’ll go through what successful communication looks like, the benefits it provides, and how we may implement it in our workplace.
What Is Effective Communication?
On a daily basis, everyone communicates. In its basic form, communication is simply talking to another person, a means of conveying information and instructions. Sure it is important in everyday life since it allows us to create deeper connections with those around us, but is that all? Just words?
Communication encompasses a wide range of different elements of non-verbal communication including voice tone, body language, and eye contact. You might believe you’re a great communicator because you talk a lot during the day, but there’s a difference between someone who talks a lot and someone who truly understands how to communicate and communicates well.
Effective communication should be a dialogue rather than a one-sided lecture. A discussion allows everyone concerned to convey and gather vital information in an open and honest manner so that a final, well-informed decision can be made.
The Seven “C” of Effective Communication
The seven “C” of communication are a set of guidelines for ensuring that written and oral communications are effective. The seven Cs encompass clarity, correctness, conciseness, courtesy, concreteness, consideration, and completeness.
The messages should be clear so that the reader doesn’t have to scratch their head to figure out what you’re talking about and make their own assumptions. If this happens, you’ll waste time on emails going back and forward. Do not try to convey too much information in a single message. Otherwise, the reader’s attention will be diluted. Make sure you know what you want to achieve or why you’re doing it. Sentences should be short, written in active voice, and try using bullet points.
When there are too many emails to write in a day, people tend to type quickly and make spelling mistakes. If the incorrectly spelled term is actually another word in the English language, spell check will not be able to detect it. Ensure that you address them properly and correctly spell their names. Furthermore, you must guarantee that the reader has the necessary expertise and education to comprehend the technical phrases you use in your communication.
People frequently write two sentences in places where they might have completed the message in just one. This wastes everyone’s time and, as a result, it has an effect on productivity. Avoid using fillers like “sort of,’ ‘I mean’, ‘essentially,’ ‘for example’, and so on. Try to convey a precise message.
In business, being courteous is quite important. People who work together are not necessarily friends, therefore being courteous is essential for maintaining a strong working relationship. Hidden insults and harsh tones could be troubling for individuals, which might result in lower morale and productivity.
Make an effort to be respectful, honest, pleasant, and open in your conversation. If you say it carefully, it will be really impactful and significant. People can be turned off by the offensive language.
You must believe in yourself and the message you wish to express to the audience. Your audience will have a clear picture of what you’re trying to tell them if the message you’re delivering is concrete. It will only be tangible if it is backed up by appropriate data. Your argument should be backed up by data and figures, leaving no room for the audience to conjure up their own scenarios.
Stepping into the shoes of others. The audience’s background, viewpoints, education level, mindset, and other factors must be considered while communicating effectively. Make an effort to picture your target audience, their emotions, issues, and needs. Modify your message to meet the needs of the audience while yet remaining complete.
Never leave a sentence unfinished. End each message on a sensible note. People shouldn’t be left in the dark about whether or not there is more to come.
Ask yourself these questions to make sure that your message is complete:
- Is there a “call to action” that lets your audience know exactly what you want them to do?
- Have you included all information, such as contact names, dates, times, and locations?
The Importance of Effective Team Communication
Team communication is critical if we want businesses to run like clockwork. Employees that can communicate up and down a company’s communication chain will have higher morale, commitment, and productivity. On the other hand, employers who invest time and effort in establishing open channels of communication can quickly build employees’ trust, which will increase performance and productivity.
Being able to communicate effectively in the workplace could do a lot more, such as:
- Boost motivation
- Improve staff and client connections
- Increase job satisfaction
- Create a positive work environment
- Increase diversity
Tips to Improve Team Communication
Communication abilities can be enhanced and learned through practice. They require time and experience to develop. Barriers to successful communication can arise at any point during the communication process, resulting in misunderstanding and confusion. Here are some pointers to help you overcome the hurdles and have successful team communication:
- Use communication tools
Apps and cloud-based communication software were created with one goal in mind: to make exchanging information easier for you and the team. Don’t be afraid to establish lines of contact that will make your life easier.
To improve communication, you could, for example, include any of the following communication tools in your everyday work activities:
- Chanty – Our own collaboration platform. You can download the app on your desktop or mobile device and connect it with other tools such as Zoom or Microsoft Office among others.
- Zoom — Zoom is a cloud-based video communications tool for conferencing and video meetings. It’s ideal for remote teams or staff that don’t work in the same offices.
- Smartsheet — The software allows businesses to track projects and tasks using a variety of sheets. Depending on your preferences, you can organize your sheets in Gantt, calendar, or grid.
- Microsoft Office 365 — This Office suite includes Microsoft Word, OneNote, Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint. You and your team can collaborate on online versions of your spreadsheets or documents from different locations by using the platform.
- Create a safe atmosphere
If you want to have successful team communication, provide a secure environment for dialogue.
When an unsafe action occurs, we should address it. Avoidance will only heighten the sense of insecurity. Instead, try stepping out of the conversation when you notice violence, make it safe, and then return.
Honesty should be established early in the conversation. We’ll be able to have more open and successful dialogues if people feel confident speaking their thoughts without fear of being punished.
The truth, and nothing but the truth. When we sugarcoat the truth or distort the reality in any other way, we cannot have a productive dialogue. Be as genuine as possible. Be open with people. Even if they don’t have all the answers, they’ll appreciate your openness and will be more supportive.
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- Talk to the team constantly
Regular catch-ups with the team are a must. The more opportunities you give the team to communicate information and progress with you, the fewer challenges their performance will encounter.
For better results, we suggest using a setup like this:
- Team Meetings as a check-in with the team to see how things are and what they have planned. This could be a daily or a weekly call.
- One-on-ones as a time for you and your team member to discuss how the work is going. Regardless of how you structure these sessions, the crucial thing is that you give yourself time to chat without being interrupted.
- Town Hall Meetings are usually held on a monthly basis. This is the time when we can share the accomplishments of the company and give suggestions on how to improve productivity. These sessions are an excellent opportunity to ensure that the teams are aligned across the company.
- Conduct team-building activities
Team building activities have a significant impact on the team’s productivity and general teamwork. They can help employees communicate more effectively and form positive relationships with one another. Not only do they improve their communication abilities, but also create trust and develop positive connections with one another. Icebreaker games, team lunches, fitness sessions, group meetings, outdoor activities, or puzzle-solving games, are just a few activities that could get a new group off to a fantastic start, or help an existing team tackle challenges that are preventing them from reaching their full potential.
- Participate in training programs
New employee training should include specifics about their job role as well as information about the organization. This covers the company’s history, clients, and any internal standards about holidays and working hours.
Effective team communication skills should also be taught to the existing teams, as part of their work.
Programs intended for effective communication allow business groups to not only improve their verbal and writing communication abilities but also:
- Improve the impact of their presentations
- Learn how to read nonverbal cues
- Communicate during conflicts
- Seek and encourage feedback
It’s crucial that employees feel at ease discussing their questions and concerns. The company’s communication flow should be a conversation rather than a monologue. When leaders provide feedback, they frequently make the mistake of turning it into a one-way conversation. Employees are not given the opportunity to express their own concerns. Encouraging two-way feedback is a hallmark of strong team communication. Take criticism and use it to improve.
Start Communicating Better
Communication is essential to the success of our professional and personal relationships. It’s how we show that we care and how we get things done. That alone is motivation enough to improve communication abilities. Fortunately, we can all improve.
Remember that improving team communication begins with developing new effective habits. To have strong conversations, we need to improve our skills.
There are a plethora of ways to communicate effectively in our workplace, and it’s up to us to figure out which one is the best fit. It’s worth taking the time to get it right because trust me, the office will become a much happier and more pleasant place to work in.