When it comes to time wasted, objectives missed, processes done wrong, and even bad interpersonal and relationships and bad company culture, there are few culprits more likely than miscommunication. It doesn’t matter what business you run, if internal communication isn’t done effectively, it will cause serious harm. On the other hand, make a priority of improving it and you get a team less prone to mistakes, more engaged, and more likely to contribute the piece of creative thought that improves things across the board.
Lead with a goal
If everyone is on the same page, then everyone is talking with the same end in mind and the same language. Goals are more than just an arbitrary end point of a strategy, they are something to rally the troops around. Each plays their individual role and have their own objectives which contribute, but if they don’t understand how that plays into the wider picture, they aren’t as engaged in it and aren’t aware of how their work process impact those around them. Project management software like Trigger doesn’t just provide an overlook at the goal for everyone. It helps them better understand who their work impacts, who they share resources with and how, and allows you and your management team to spot weak links and surgically apply some assistance where it’s needed when it’s needed. Without that overview and the eye on the prize, it’s easy to miss that weak link and risk the whole project.
Don’t kill them softly with meetings
Team meetings can be a great tool to help people update their understanding of what the current goals are, too, as well as highlighting aspects that could use a change. If people are engaged, they contribute more meaningful and creative responses that give you a better chance of finding the suggestions that make a difference. But how team meetings are held can not only make them a drag but highly ineffective. You can use digital meeting tech to make them more flexible, for one. But think about structure, as well. Don’t make it a run-down of every single change and what every single member is doing. Create an agenda and send it beforehand. Give your team a chance to think about what’s being discussed and time to gather what insight they have to deliver. Above all else, keep them short. A team meeting that goes on beyond half-an-hour is going to struggle to hold the attention of most of the team.
Encouraging and understanding
Getting people to share their thoughts on progress towards a goal or on the points of a team meeting means taking the time to encourage open dialogue, as well. Some people aren’t initially as confident about what they have to communicate even if it could be of great benefit to the business. Encouragement tools, such as having informal lunchtime chats with them and asking their opinion in private, or asking them to contribute questions and topics for team meetings can get people a lot more used to forward thinking and the importance of their participation in internal communication.
Find your communicators
Another greatly encouraging tool is seeing others take the initiative to communicate. As with all things related to company culture, people get their cues from those above them. When choosing managers, project leaders, and representatives from different teams in the business, make sure you’re looking at the quality of communication skills above all else. People look to what leads to success in a business when choosing what values to emulate.
What’s better left unsaid
People being unable to speak freely isn’t the only issue regarding communication in business. There’s also the needless chatter to consider. It takes time and focus, meaning that people are less likely to pay attention and be engaged when they really need to. There are a few ways to cut down on the amount of unnecessary communication. Making access to resources and the retrieval of information much easier with Cloud services and internal networks through services like Brennan IT is one option. It makes it more efficient to share documents and files from one to the other. It also creates a database of sticky information that anyone can easily access rather than having to ask someone else to send it to them. This allows your team to be more self-sufficient, meaning less unnecessary hand-holding.
Listen to more than your own voice
Many leaders will make the mistake of believing that communication is all about being heard more than anything else. But, as we’ve hopefully shown, truly listening to your team is going to yield better results and a more motivated team. Taking the steps to ensure you’re hearing them and spending time considering their opinions and suggestions will make you a much better boss, too. To that end, tools like Insync Surveys can help you not only spot issues and see if you have an engagement problem, but it plays another role in encouraging that dialogue by providing a safe space to share opinions that your employees might think controversial.
Apply it to the market
When you have internal communication nailed, then think about how you can apply the same lessons to your external communication, as well. The brand that is in dialogue with their market, not just delivering marketing messages, is more likely to succeed. A better feedback loop allows you more insight on your customers and their wants, not to mention a sense of community that can turn customers and clients into true brand allies. That means higher rates of retention, referrals, and a better reputation for the business. Social media, contact forms, and follow-up emails for existing customers are all tools you can use to spark more two-sided communication from your base of supporters.
Technologically, culturally, and systemically within the processes of the business, communication needs to become a priority. It is the fundamental difference between a versatile business that can adapt, grow, and learn and one that cannot. You have a team on your side, make sure you’re getting their full potential out of them.