As your business grows and you continue to navigate the ever changing landscape of 2020, we’ve noticed a new set of challenges emerge around communication. With teams spread out, policies changing, and people feeling isolated from one another, it has become more important than ever to talk to each other and communicate effectively. Here are 5 tips to help facilitate better communication and stronger teams:
1. Require regular visual check-ins with your people
There’s something about “seeing” people that just makes everyone feel more connected and accountable. If you’re not already having regular video calls with your team, we recommend adding this to your routine. A weekly visual check-in reminds everyone who they’re working hard for and what their colleagues look like; it also makes the work that people are doing feel like it has more of an impact. If you have some people who are remote and some who are in the office, this is still a great way to close the gap between different groups.
2. Discuss different types of communication and the best uses for each one
It’s easy to get into a routine of back and forth emails these days, instead of making a phone call. But sometimes email, instant message, and text message can drag out a conversation and decrease efficiency. Ensure your team knows when a phone call is a smarter choice. Phone calls are often better for complicated matters and/or sensitive topics—particularly when it comes to client and employee relationship building opportunities. Hearing how someone sounds on the phone and noticing their tone of voice and how they are engaging with you will give you a more accurate read on how they’re doing.
3. Talk about the value of asking questions and having clarifying conversations
Now that so many of us are working remotely it’s easy to fall out of the habit of talking to each other. Remind your team not to make assumptions about how to do things and instead, to talk to each other and ask questions before jumping in and guessing what to do on new projects. Asking questions and clarifying what people want—whether it’s your manager or a client—is particularly important right now.
4. Remind people about the importance of following up with each other
Following up is a crucial step of effective communication. It can be difficult to stay on top of the status of projects and timelines. Coach your team on the importance of circling back to each other to re-visit little details that may have been overlooked. For example, just because a client or colleague didn’t respond to your email doesn’t mean you should put a task or project on hold while you wait for a response. People are busy and often bad at managing little details, so this means emails often get lost. Don’t sit on projects because you didn’t get a response. Keep asking for that response.
5. Clearly delegate tasks
There is a lot to look at during team video calls—it’s like the Brady Bunch and it’s normal for people to be a little distracted looking at their colleagues (and themselves). When you’re discussing projects and tasks, it’s helpful to specifically delegate items to people by name. Verbally acknowledge who will be taking ownership of a particular task because this adds a layer of accountability. When you just make general statements about what needs to happen, no one comes away understanding who is responsible for what. This is when miscommunications about assignments and accountability tend to occur.
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