Here's a stat that might shock you. Miscommunication in companies with 100,000 employees costs on average $62.4 million a year. For smaller companies of 100 employees, it's an average of $420,000 a year. Effective communication in your company will save you money if you focus on it.
Improving your team's communication has benefits besides cost savings too. With better communication, you'll complete work on time and with fewer mistakes. It improves your team culture, as employees feel more connected and supported when they know what's going on. When everyone is on the same page, they know about company goals and issues and know what to work on to move the team and company forward.
Team makeup can also impact the way that teams communicate effectively. The strategies you'll use when you're all together are different than the ones you'll need if your whole team is remote. Here are our tips for effective communication, broken out by specific types of teams.
When your whole team is together, it's easy to drop by someone's desk and ask them questions. Sometimes too easy. When you're working and trying to focus, continuous interruptions from others can make it hard to work effectively.
Use your communication technology and apps to signal that you're focusing and aren't available to chat. If you use Slack, set your status to show that you're focusing and signal that your coworkers should message you their questions instead of asking you in person. Make a space in your team's area specifically for heads-down work. When you're sitting there, your coworkers will know that you're working and aren't looking to be interrupted. You'll keep disturbances to a minimum and let everyone on your team get their work done.
In-person teams have the luxury of being able to easily communicate in-person and online. But, too much of either can negatively affect team communication. Gathering everyone together for in-person conversations and meetings can be challenging. It can also take up time for thoughts that could be communicated in an email or chat. However, only using online messaging to communicate can make teams seem robotic and antisocial if you can talk to the person next to you.
Coffee breaks are the perfect time for you to break up work and have great conversations with those around you. The best part is you can tailor it towards work or not depending on what the other person is wanting to do as well. These can be good times to have informal discussions without setting up a time for a meeting.
Grabbing a coffee with a coworker is also a great way to find out more about them and break up the monotony of constant work communication. It's a reminder that everyone in the office is human with lives outside of work as well.
Casual moments of conversation throughout the day build understanding and bonds between team members. This improves your communication with your team overall, as everyone understands that work can be discussed without constant formality.
These types of meetings are incredibly effective for getting on the same page and getting individual face time during the week. With all the other meetings that you can be a part of, individual face to face interaction can get lost in the shuffle.
Hybrid teams can get more out of these meetings compared to in-office or hybrid teams. In-office teams see each other all the time, so a dedicated one-on-one is easier to plan. Remote teams have to constantly be in communication with each other and can work them into their regular calls. Hybrid teams communicate with remote folks, but the mix of in-office and remote workers can make things more difficult.
Schedule this out for the same time and place so it's built into your week. Having a shared document for discussion also helps to get your thoughts organized before meeting with each other. You'll get the most out of your time with your coworkers and be able to see how they're feeling about work on a week-to-week basis.
Don't let this big word scare you. All asynchronous communication means is that you send information and there's a time lag before others respond. This is the most common way that hybrid teams communicate. Their communications are usually done through messaging and email with some video calls thrown in. Although video conferencing is most effective, you can't be jumping from call to call to ask a question.
Mastering this type of communication will help you be clear and concise to your coworkers. Knowing how to put the important pieces of information in a brief message saves time and helps declutter the inbox of your team. You'll also save time from miscommunication, and won't have to keep calling your team members to figure out exactly what they mean.
Even though those in the office with you can see when you move into a meeting room, it's most effective to keep your calendar shared with everyone. Without sharing, remote folks won't know if you're busy or just ignoring their messages. To keep things fair to both groups, share your calendar across your team.
This allows for better planning of meetings and calls around both sides' schedules. It shows that you're dedicated to clarity for remote and in-office folks. You can fit your meetings into everyone else's day, and maximize communication.
Remote teams can be made up of people all over the country and the rest of the globe. Keep track of who is where so you're not having team-wide meetings at times that aren't conducive to a specific number of your colleagues. Tips, like rotating meeting times and recording your meeting, are effective tools to communicate with those who are distributed.
You won't burn out employees who always have to wake up early or stay up late so the rest of the group can have a meeting. You'll show support for those on your team which keeps up morale. Good scheduling across time zones also makes for overall better meetings. When no one has to get up extremely early or stay up late, you'll be more alert and ready to provide good input that helps everyone.
Although you might all work apart, getting some face-to-face is always great for getting to know your coworkers. Schedule these throughout the year or based on the frequency your team wants. Plan team-building exercises, group discussions, and some fun activities to help your team bond! Once you see that you're all real people instead of faces behind a computer screen, your team will feel like a family. You'll learn about people's personalities, hobbies, and interests that you can't discover online.
When you can't talk in person, make it feel like you are with video conferencing. Besides it being the quickest and most effective way to communicate, many cameras have options to make it feel as natural as possible. Face-to-face interaction helps conversations happen more naturally and be clear about meaning. You won't have someone think that you're mad at them because of the way your Slack message sounded.
Video conferencing makes it easy to have conversations with coworkers. Products like the Meeting Owl Pro are plug-and-play solutions that can start a meeting in seconds with no added hardware or software. You'll be communicating with your team in no time.
With these tips in mind, it's time to put them to practice. There are dozens of team communication apps out there whose main goal is to keep you working effectively with your team.
Everyone loves Slack. Around 12 million daily users to be exact. Slack makes it easy to communicate with your teams in an instant messaging format. With integrations for Zoom, G Suite, and hundreds of others, it's easy to communicate and use outside apps at the same time. With installable Slackbots, you can automate all kinds of processes and see the results right in your Slack app. It's a must for all teams.
If you're in the Microsoft system, then add Teams to your suite of products. The messaging system integrates with all other Microsoft products that you use, making it easy to share documents and work across the system seamlessly. No more having to email everything around for people to work on. It also has a built-in video conferencing system so you can chat and call without installing another app.
Effective communication isn't just about talking with each other. You need a place to store all of the information and log what important work is being discussed. That's where project management tools like Asana come in. Keep track of projects and daily tasks that each person is responsible for and manage how you work together. Asana makes it easy for your team members to communicate about deadlines and projects.
Few apps are as easy to use for their intended purpose as Zoom. To start a video conference, all you need to do is open the app, send your teammate a link or invite them, and you're talking. High-quality video, simple operation, and reasonable pricing are all reasons to use Zoom. They also support smart meeting rooms with their Zoom Rooms program. You'll receive hardware optimized for Zoom calls and start everything with the push of a button. They also integrate with the Meeting Owl Pro.
The G Suite is built for collaboration in real-time. You're able to work on documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more with everyone else in your organization at the same time. This collaboration extends into email, calendars, and everything else you could use in your business. Like everything Google, it's sleek, reliable, and easy to integrate with other apps and services. Your team can communicate and work as effectively as possible with edits in real-time.
With these strategies and tools, you'll be ready to help your organization run as smoothly as possible. Next up: video conferencing etiquette for an effective video conference.