Every well functioning team is dependent on effective team communication.
And in the last couple of years, tools have become increasingly popular for enhancing communication among team members. But it comes at a cost.
With emails, instant messaging, video meetings – communication did become easy. But it also became endless.
Soon we were all stuck in a loop of constant availability and boundless communication.
And that’s precisely why we need communication guidelines. Let’s dig deeper.
Team communication impacts everything
Effective team communication can help you improve team productivity, customer relationship, company culture, and sales.
That’s right. Communication plays a role in driving every aspect of business.
When team communication happens the right way, it makes work easier and improves the company culture. This enhances team productivity and morale by maintaining a healthy and positive work environment. Not only does employee retention increase, but so does customer satisfaction and engagement due to lesser errors and gaps.
Once you master this process, teams will run like a well oiled machine.
The 5 C’s of Team Communication
Effective team communication is all about what’s the best fit for the team members. Some teams might prefer humour in their everyday communication. Whereas, other teams might prefer a more formal tone of voice while communicating.
But there are 5 common points where all teams intersect. And they make up the base for communication guidelines.
When communicating with another team member, clarity should be your priority. Not just clarity in words, but clarity in your thoughts.
For instance, if you’re communicating a problem, you must have clarity of thought about the problem you’re facing and only then can you effectively communicate it to a team member.
Encouraging team members to have more clarity in their communication will enable them to understand better and eliminate any unnecessary flow of information.
Pro tip: When aiming for clarity in communication, use simple and easy language, short sentences and concrete words.
Communication should always be brief and to the point. You cannot expect a team member to go through your 200 word email about something that could have been summed up in 50 words.
Concise framing is a prerequisite to effective team communication. It saves both yours and the team member’s time.
Pro tip: When aiming for conciseness in communication, remove wordy expressions and avoid repetition.
Team communication has a lot to do with your relationship with the team. Teams that get along well are able to communicate easily.
An important part of this relationship is treating your team members with respect. And since everyday work communication is where your teams interact the most, courtesy should be well incorporated in your communication guidelines.
Simply using polite words like ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ isn’t enough. It’s your overall tone that makes a bigger impact.
Pro tip: When aiming for courtesy in communication, be sincere in your tone and be appreciative of your team member’s time.
If you want the desired result from communication, it must be complete in every sense.
Teams should be careful while drafting messages. Team members must ensure that all relevant information and facts required by the receiver is mentioned in the message.
Team members shouldn’t have to communicate back and forth to understand each other well. Incompleteness in communication also shows negligence on the sender’s part and is something teams need to overcome quickly.
Pro tip: When aiming for completeness in communication, remember to include the ‘how, why, what, when, and who’ to clearly communicate the information.
You’ve drafted the right message, included all relevant information, and provided full clarity. But where do you send it? And when?
Channels are perhaps the most important aspect of team communication. They define the space and time in which team communication happens.
Again, different channels work differently for each team. Some prefer Slack for everyday communication. While others prefer sending a WhatsApp text to their team members.
But you need to understand – the real solution doesn’t lie in which channel to use, it is to have a definitive channel for each type of communication that happens in your team.
Pro tip: Identify and organise communication channels for better and enhanced communication.
When teams have more awareness about the 5 C’s, effective team communication becomes simple.
Higher awareness can enhance your skills and help you be a better communicator.
As the team grows and evolves, more channels come up, it is important to revisit and iterate these guidelines too. Ideally, every team should come back and review their team communication guidelines every six months. This will ensure everything is aligned and well functioning.