Most people would agree that good communication is a major factor in running a successful business. Unfortunately, many businesses find this a challenge. While they want to have a team that openly communicates with one another, it just isn’t happening.
The good news is, you can improve team communication at your business using these six tactics.
#1 - Have an open door policy
Open door policies let people know they can ask you questions, share ideas or express concerns whenever they need to. This helps develop trust, lets employees know you care what they have to say and improves communication.
But you can’t just say you have an open-door policy. You need to show you do and the easiest way to do this is to physically open your door and make it easier for employees to know when you are available for them to pop in when they have something to say.
Asking your team to wait for one on one’s, not responding to emails and keeping your door closed at all times can counteract the intrinsic value of an open door policy.
#2 - Focus on quality, not quantity
When trying to improve communication at a business, many managers think that increasing the amount of communication is the way to do it. While increasing how much you communicate with one another is important, especially in businesses that lack communication, it’s important that communication is thoughtful.
Having everyone constantly sending out mass emails and messages can overwhelm inboxes and cause team members to miss information or not give messages the attention they deserve. Be sure that communication is thoughtful, purposeful and sent to those that need to hear it. If you have company-wide news that needs to be shared regularly, consider sending an internal newsletter and only send mass messages if the information needs to be shared immediately.
#3 - Hold productive meetings
A study in the Harvard Business Review showed that 71 percent of senior managers think their meetings are unproductive or inefficient. Many times, this has to do with teams thinking they have to meet to properly communicate. But a lot of important information is shared outside these meetings.
That doesn’t mean meetings don’t have a place. But much like the last point, the quality of meetings is more important than the quantity or even length of the meeting.
To help make meetings a more productive means of communication, consider these tips:
- Keep it short – You’d be surprised to see how much information can be shared in 10 to 15 minutes when invitees know that’s all the time they have. Keep morning updates, check-ins and one on one’s short and sweet. Leave the extended meetings for brainstorming and problem solving (but still try to keep them under 60 minutes, preferably 30 minutes).
- Invite the right people – While you don’t want to leave anybody out, it’s important that only the people who need to be there are. If you have employees in recurring meetings who do not gain value from the meeting and who are not called upon for information, consider giving them the time to focus on other tasks.
- Have an agenda – An agenda really can go a long way in keeping everything on track. It doesn’t need to be fancy. All you need is a quick list of topics you plan on discussing.
- Send the agenda out before the meeting – To help employees keep the discussion on topic, be sure team members are aware of the agenda ahead of time. That way they can request additions if need be and can properly prepare themselves to contribute and share.
- Consider skipping a week – If you have recurring meetings but find you spend more time discussing then implementing your plans, consider skipping a meeting every other week and have employees use that time to complete actionable items related to the previous week’s meeting.
#4 - Provide the right tools and guidelines
For your team to communicate properly, they need to have proper communication tools. This may include:
- Instant messaging
- Phone calls
- Video conferences
- Project management software
But don’t just provide the tools. Provide guidelines on which tool to use for specific types of communication. For example, instant messages can be used for non-urgent day-to-day operations, while phones are for urgent issues. This will help streamline communication and help prevent information from getting jumbled and misplaced.
#5 - Clarify roles and responsibilities
Sometimes what seems like poor communication is actually related to the fact that your team members don’t know who is responsible for what. This can lead to missed deadlines or duplicate work, making it appear that team members aren’t communicating.
If you clarify roles and responsibilities, everyone will know what they oversee and who to go to when they have a question. This will improve individual performance, as well as team communication and collaboration.
#6 - Organize corporate team building events
Team building exercises and events have been proven to improve communication among team members. But don’t resort to the traditional trust falls or role-playing workshops. Look for fun and unique ways to engage with your team while teaching communication skills.
This can include a problem solving activity like an escape room. Or consider a charitable team building event that gets your team working towards a single goal. This will help boost morale, build relationships and emphasize the importance of community.
Interested in learning more? Get in touch with the Teambonders team of corporate event facilitators and creators today.