September 23, 2021
Communication affects teamwork in positive and negative ways. The quantity and quality of communication within a team and from leadership affects teamwork.
When a team is not actively and effectively communicating, their work is at stake. It’s important for everyone to learn how to communicate effectively to improve teamwork. With many work environments remaining remote, communicating can become increasingly difficult. Although team members are in constant communication through messaging channels like Slack and Google Chat, active communication does not always equal effective communication. Over a screen, team members are not able to convey emotions and tones to the message recipient. This can lead to miscommunication and confusion, making it essential to teach team members to be mindful of their communication style.
The more collaboration your projects require, the more assertive and intentional your communication should be. Every member of the team needs to take the initiative to communicate. TeamBonding’s guide to effective communication in teams will provide you with easy tips to become a better communicator at work.
Here are 3 tips to promote effective communication in teams, even in the virtual workplace:
- Listen to facilitate effective team communication.
- Be mindful of your messaging
- Practice how you communicate with coworkers
(1) Listen to facilitate effective team communication
A good speaker is a good listener. Learning how to communicate more effectively also means taking more notice. It’s important to begin and end any form of communication with listening. This doesn’t mean you should ask an endless string of questions, but be sure that you’re taking the time to truly understand what other people are saying and what they mean, especially over Zoom and other virtual video platforms.
Good listening skills will help you engage in communication regarding what the other person is speaking about. Avoid the impulse to listen only for the end of their sentence so that you can blurt out your thoughts and ideas. Don’t interrupt or talk over other people because this can make them feel insignificant, unheard and could lead to other misunderstandings.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from others to make sure that you were understood. Sending a simple message can go a long way for you and your team’s communication skills. Encouraging feedback can help your team become more self-aware.
(2) Be mindful of your messaging
Is your intention to place blame? Or, get to the bottom of an issue? Chances are, you want information about what is working and what isn’t working. However, you may be using language that feels critical and seems like a verbal attack. This will hurt relationships within your team and leave you completely uninformed.
Work situations can get emotional, which can influence your clarity. Stay on topic, use the correct words and enunciate. If you’re not sure of the meaning of a word, don’t use it. When you use the wrong words, you will not be understood and people will doubt your competency the more it happens.
It is also important to avoid mixed messages. If you need more time to complete a thought before communicating about your ideas, take it. Schedule a time for your conversation later in the day or week. Make eye contact – which conveys truth and honor – and use intentional gestures. You can send the wrong message through body language or tone, which defeats the purpose of your attempt to communicate. This is especially important when discussing anything emotional. When it comes to messaging a team member, the same rules apply. Take more time to think about the words you use and how you think your coworker will interpret them.
The timing of your message is just as critical as the execution. Assess their mood, and use that as a gauge. For instance, if you know your team member is currently stressed, overwhelmed, or rushing to meet a deadline, hold off on communicating anything that could be conveyed as negative if possible. Wait until they are in a better headspace, and then come back to it.
There are some additional tactics for effective team communication that you can practice within conversations or on your own:
- Slow down – don’t speak just to respond too quickly.
- Speak clearly and don’t mumble.
- Use appropriate volume.
- Write things down.
- Close the loop – is the conversation finished?
Good teamwork starts with a shared understanding of its importance. Communication bridges teams together and needs to be practiced to ensure a team is working smoothly and efficiently.
Have you learned how to communicate effectively to boost teamwork?
How has effective communication within a team influenced teamwork in your office or your remote workplace – for good or bad? What has worked? What hasn’t?
Moving to a virtual or hybrid workplace can add a barrier to effective team communication if you are not taking active steps to educate your team on best practices. Now it is more essential than ever to take additional measures to bring your team together and ensure they are communicating mindfully. TeamBonding offers a variety of virtual and hybrid team building programs to foster effective communication including Virtual Happy Hour, Virtual Museum Scavenger Hunt, and Virtual Crime Scene Investigation.
For more tips on nurturing quality relationships between teammates, check out our blog post on Cooperation in the Workplace.