A team is only as good as its people, therefore it makes sense that effective communication can make for more productive team efforts. When team members connect on a cerebral level, a magical thing occurs. As a whole, a team that communicates well organizes the group towards a specific set of goals. A team that has effective open communication generally works well, while a team with poor communication gets lost in the process. When team members communicate well, there is powerful feedback and encouragement that goes on.
Here we will look at several tips for improving productivity with effective communication techniques.
Recognize the strengths of team members. A team’s ability to communicate well starts with finding value in the innate talents and strengths of each individual. Once you understand how each team member brings something special to the table, then and only then can you begin to build a team that communicates well collectively. Team members are more apt to communicate if they believe others appreciate what they share.
Treat team members with equal respect. A big issue with many teams is the lack of professional regard and personal respect. Over time, teams may single out certain members and scapegoat or isolate them as lesser important, while the perceived leaders take over. This lack of regard can ruin a truly effective team from being fully productive. Instead, allow all team members the ability to have equal input, and treat everyone with the respect they deserve.
Learn to listen as well as to speak. Being a strong communicator comes with practice generally. A key element of being a good team member is learning to not only speak well, but also to listen well. Communication works both ways, from one person to another. This means listen to what other team members are saying, share honest feedback and gather more insight from each other. Learn to listen “between the lines” and request clarification before assuming anything.
Use different mediums to communicate. Not everyone communicates in the same way, nor is information processed identically by two individuals. Oftentimes, the best way to communicate important information is by trying different mediums, such as visuals, audio, and hands on. An example of this could be a meeting, with a visual presentation, a verbal feedback session with plenty of note taking. Give all your team members a chance to digest any new topics that are covered, and then schedule a follow-up Q&A session.
Maintain consistent messages. When teams come together, they are working towards a common project goal. The only way to accomplish this is to make sure that all team members are on the same page through consistent messages. Don’t tell one team member something without sharing with others. Common courtesy dictates a good email chain that includes all team members, and well-written meeting and project notes to document everything consistently.
Want more tips for improving team best practices or communication skills? Consider taking the Dale Carnegie Course: Effective Communications & Human Relations/Skills For Success today!