Effective communication is the cornerstone of successful teamwork. Without it, a business will wither from the inside out and fail to grow.
It’s one thing to know this is true. It’s another thing to take action and invest in team communication.
Companies with more than 500 people only spend about $185,000 annually on internal communications. Compare this to the multi-million dollar budgets for email marketing, sales, or customer success, and it becomes clear what most businesses focus on.
In a post-Covid world, virtual teams have not only become more common. They’re often the norm. Improving internal communication has never been more critical with teams across a region, the country, or even the world.
If you’re looking for help, you’re in the right spot. In this article, we’ll look at how communication works and why it’s important. Then, we’ll share nine communication strategies to use with your team.
Let’s dive in.
What are the different methods of communication?
Communication is multifaceted. To better understand how communication works, let’s categorize it into four key types: verbal, non-verbal, visual, and written communication.
Verbal communication is simply using words in conversation. Whether face-to-face, on video chat, or over the phone, verbal communication allows for real-time interaction and exchanging ideas, questions, and feedback. It’s essential for building rapport, clarifying information, and expressing emotions.
Did you know about 93% of communication is non-verbal? Our body language shows what we think or feel. Facial expressions and tone also send messages without using specific words. Non-verbal cues may communicate something completely different than what we intend with our words.
Visual communication uses images, charts, graphs, or presentations to share information. It’s great for making complex data easy to understand, highlighting important points, and keeping people engaged. In today’s remote work world, tools like video calls and screen-sharing also fall into this category.
Writing is the art of using words on paper or in digital form. It’s perfect for sending formal messages, like emails, memos, reports, and documents. Written communication is your best choice when you must be clear and precise.
How important is communication with your team?
Communication with your team is the backbone of a thriving and productive work environment. This is true whether your team is virtual, in-person, or hybrid. Strategic remote team communication is necessary to help employees who may feel isolated working from home.
Here are five benefits of effective team communication:
- Increased productivity: Clear and open communication makes accomplishing tasks more efficient. When roles and responsibilities are well-defined, it reduces misunderstandings, leading to smoother workflows and timely completion.
- Improved engagement: Communication fosters a sense of belonging and inclusion. Team members who feel valued and heard are more motivated and committed, resulting in better-quality work and dedication to team goals.
- Encourages alignment: Effective communication ensures that everyone on the team understands and supports the company vision. This minimizes confusion and conflicts and promotes better coordination and performance.
- Fosters innovation and problem-solving: A culture of transparent communication encourages team members to share ideas and concerns freely. When employees feel comfortable discussing problems and suggesting solutions, it promotes innovation and quicker resolution. This collaborative atmosphere significantly enhances team effectiveness.
Reduced turnover: Implementing effective communication practices can lower staff turnover. When companies emphasize engagement, employees are 87% less likely to leave. Open communication can identify and address concerns before they escalate into staff turnover.
9 effective communication strategies to connect with your team
Now that you know the different types of communication and why team communication is important, let’s dig into nine effective communication strategies. These practices will help you connect better with your team and, as a result, help grow your business.
1. Use a communication tool
Communication tools are paramount in today’s work landscape. Platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or project management tools such as Asana and Trello are indispensable in keeping teams connected. These tools streamline conversations, making it effortless to exchange ideas, share updates and files, and provide constructive feedback.
Using a communication tool in your workflow enhances team connectivity, ensuring team members stay informed, engaged, and connected, regardless of their physical locations.
Standuply takes Slack to the next level. Our automation process gives you even more flexibility with asynchronous text, voice, or video communication.
2. Embrace hard conversations
Over 70% of employees avoid hard conversations at work. This can wreak havoc on team culture. Effective team communication involves addressing uncomfortable topics head-on.
By fostering a culture of transparency and vulnerability, teams not only prevent misunderstandings and conflicts but also build trust and resilience. This strategy is particularly beneficial for companies that deal with hard issues in their daily work. For example, an attorney’s office, like the Patel Firm, may work with people going through personal injury and financial loss. If team members cannot resolve interpersonal conflicts or difficulties at work, that angst can bleed over into working with clients, affecting their performance.
Encouraging difficult discussions leads to solidarity, innovative solutions, and personal and professional growth. In the end, embracing hard conversations is about more than just addressing problems. It’s about building cohesive teams that can weather any challenge together.
3. Recognize and reward outstanding work publicly
Acknowledging and celebrating your team’s accomplishments in a public forum, whether through team meetings, internal newsletters, or dedicated recognition platforms, cultivates a positive and appreciative organizational culture.
Employee recognition software, like Nectar, can help with this. Let’s say you have an employee who onboarded a new client, and they’ve had to go above and beyond requesting files to get the new project rolling. Nectar lets you give shout-outs, rewards, or company incentives to motivate your team.
Publicly recognizing great work boosts morale, inspires continuous excellence, and strengthens a sense of belonging among team members.
4. Establish one-on-ones with direct reports
Regular one-on-one meetings with direct reports are non-negotiable. These meetings provide a dedicated space for open and personalized communication between managers and team members.
Keep in mind that you should let your direct report steer the conversation. These meetings allow them to discuss solutions, individual progress, goals, and challenges.
As a supervisor, you may have things you want to discuss. That’s okay. Just don’t approach these meetings with too large of an agenda. One-on-ones are mainly their time, not yours.
5. Know the needs of your audience
Effective communication is about tailoring your message to your audience. Understanding your team members’ preferences will help you connect with them.
Some team members may thrive on visual aids. Others might prefer detailed verbal explanations. You enhance comprehension and connection by adapting your communication style and content to align with their preferences.
This flexibility and attentiveness demonstrate that you value your team’s diverse perspectives. It shows you are willing to meet them on their terms, fostering a more inclusive environment.
6. Encourage people to speak up
Sometimes, people on your team may not want to talk. Other times they don’t feel safe to speak up. What can you do?
You may have to simply tell your team it’s okay to ask questions, share thoughts, and talk about worries. When everyone knows their ideas are important, it makes the team stronger and everyone feels like they belong.
Why does getting everyone to speak up matter? People who think their opinions count tend to be loyal employees and perform at a higher level.
This may be the strategy that takes the most work. Even if you verbally encourage people to speak up, ultimately, it’s out of your control. It will take time. Your team must also see that you want to listen and hear what they say (see strategy #9).
7. Avoid unnecessary meetings
Meetings are essential for collaboration. But they can quickly become counterproductive if you’re not careful.
To enhance team connectivity, focus on critical meetings and define clear agendas. During a meeting, stay focused and stick to your agenda. Respecting your team’s time and concentrating on crucial discussions creates a more productive work environment.
How can you get rid of meetings? Promote asynchronous communication, especially through video. Standuply’s video messages feature helps you communicate when it’s convenient for you. The best part? You won’t need to ask your team to find a time to meet in their busy schedules.
8. Use team-building exercises
Team-building activities help teams become closer, understand each other better, and enjoy working together. These activities may be outdoor adventures, indoor games, or simple icebreakers. They give employees a structured and fun way to connect outside their regular work. Team-building exercises encourage people to try new things, solve problems together, and feel like they’re part of a team.
When picking team-building activities, choosing ones that fit your team’s needs and goals is important. It could be a trust-building challenge, a problem-solving game, or even volunteering together. These activities are designed to help everyone feel more comfortable around each other.
Team-building can help you discover talents and strengths on your team you didn’t know about. This makes everyone appreciate each other’s contributions more. Including these activities in your communication plan will encourage better teamwork and make it easier for employees to share their thoughts and concerns.
9. Listen and get feedback from your team
Listening and getting feedback from your team is vital to effective communication. It shows that you value their input and are committed to continuous improvement.
Work to create a culture where team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas (see strategy #6). Send regular surveys to gather feedback on the work environment, processes, and goals. Listen to their concerns, acknowledge their suggestions, and consider implementing relevant changes.
Encourage open dialogue by actively seeking out opinions. Take it a step further and involve team members in decision-making when appropriate. When employees feel heard and see their input making a difference, they become more engaged and motivated. Motivated staff always work harder and produce better work.
Wrapping it up
Effective communication is the linchpin of successful teamwork, especially in today’s diverse work landscape. It’s worth the time and financial investment.
Whether it’s connecting with virtual teams or nurturing a vibrant team culture, these nine communication strategies are invaluable. From leveraging communication tools to embracing difficult conversations and fostering a culture of recognition and feedback, these practices enhance productivity, engagement, alignment, innovation, and retention.
If you’re ready to take your remote team communication to the next level, Standuply can help. Become even more flexible in your communication with our process automation tool. Get started for free today.