A well-functioning internal communication will improve your team’s performance, collaboration, and their productivity. The right mix of written and in-person conversations, of clear updates will reduce the likelihood of conflicts within the team, and as a manager it will save you valuable time. In this article, we will share with you our tried and tested internal communication tips to solve your team communication woes.
Give meetings meaning
- Each meeting needs a uniquely crafted agenda. Clarify the purpose and expected outcomes before and again, when starting the meeting. For management meetings, clarify the expected outcome for each agenda point.
- Keep meetings short. People are then more likely to pay attention and remember important points and issues raised. Get a team member to sum up the next steps at the end.
- Use apps or trackers for giving updates and tracking tasks instead of meetings.
- Host communication spaces such as Monday or mid-week check-ins, or monthly/ quarterly reviews to see how the team is doing. Use these as opportunities to discover what people are happy or unhappy about in the workplace, and what they need in order to perform better. A start-up we know hosts monthly sessions where people bring their happy and sad moments on post-its. The team then discusses together how to create more happy moments and digest the sad moments. It’s a great idea and works wonderfully for them.
Use tools to stay organized
- Create a (google) calendar for all office events including team sessions, activities, meetings, birthdays etc. Let people block their leave on the same calendar.
- Put up flipcharts and cool posters or print-outs on the walls as daily reminders of previous meeting notes, future or current projects and to communicate goals.
- For tracking projects and work, use apps like Asana, or create (google) spreadsheets so that everybody is constantly updated on what has been implemented or not, the results, who’s doing it and so forth.
Avoid death by email
- Emails are not designed for discussion. For topics that require discussion, use a communication app like Slack instead of emails. Besides saving people time sitting in front of their inbox (which few people like anyways), it has other advantages. In a big organisation, the people ‘higher up’ are more reachable to everyone at the office and the rest of the team will feel more involved as they can easily access these people. It’s also a great technique to get people to share their ideas. This space can give people who are more introverted an opportunity to have their ideas at the forefront.
Make time for reviewing and planning (in workshop format)
- As management, you’re thinking of strategy, structures, approaches and procedures all the time. Your team is not. Everyone is busy DOING. So from time to time, reserve a day or two on the calendar to take a bird’s eye view together with the team. External facilitators, like us, can lead these workshops. Every 1-2 months is a good rhythm to revisit and review tactics, every 1-2 quarters is a good rhythm to review strategy.
Help people help each other
- Does the team know who to go to for help with graphics, spreadsheet hacks, and film editing just to name a few? Create a space where people can list their skills, knowledge, and competencies either in the form of an online folder or a ‘team skills collage’ poster. This encourages team collaboration where no one suffers in silence, as it’s easier to reach out to the team for help. Within this set-up, people’s strengths and passions will shine and be recognised at work.
Work on team spirit
- Plan out-of-office events such as team buildings and hang-outs. These events will foster relationships, create a feeling of unity and can improve communication within the team. Make sure these activities are really outside of the office, to create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere for team members. Fun events will give people something to look forward to which increases engagement. Think about your own role at those events too. It’s a time for people to get to know each other, so don’t do most of the talking!
Be open and accessible to your team
- If you are approachable to your team members, they will in turn be more open to you. Have an open door policy, host ‘Ask Me Anything Hours’, or reserve slots on the calendar where the team can just reach out to you when they need you. If you are a caring and available manager, your team will be encouraged to share their issues with you and they are more comfortable to present their solutions to you as well.
If you have any internal communication tips that you feel we’ve missed, please share your comments with us!