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5 team communication strategies for better collaboration

Effects of poor communication

  • Instead of looking for solutions, we waste time checking communication tools.
  • We don't talk about our expectations.
  • Communication bleeds into our out-of-work time, instead of leaving it at work.

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5 team communication strategies for better collaboration

5 team communication strategies for better collaboration

https://blog.rescuetime.com/team-communication/

blog.rescuetime.com

8

Key Ideas

Team communication

  • Open and effective team communication keeps projects moving, co-workers happy, and ideas flowing.
  • Bad team communication kills company culture,  leads employees to burn out and slows everyone down.

Effects of poor communication

  • Instead of looking for solutions, we waste time checking communication tools.
  • We don't talk about our expectations.
  • Communication bleeds into our out-of-work time, instead of leaving it at work.

Open communication

It doesn’t mean just telling people to share their thoughts, but actually doing it yourself and setting clear rules and guidelines about how to share.

It isn’t just about how you share information but also what gets shared. 

Effective team communication

It needs to be:

  • Relevant. Is this important and to the point?
  • Complete. Is anything missing? Can I do what I need to do with what’s been said?
  • Clear. Will everyone understand what’s being said?

Optimize your communication tools

Open communication doesn't mean more chatter. It means that all relevant information should be accessible to everyone:

  • Minimize the number of communication tools you use.
  • Make sure everyone is setting up their communication tools in the best way possible to protect their focus. 

Provide guidelines

You should give people guidelines about how to use communication tools.

You want people to get what they need and then return to their focused work.

Robby Macdonell

Robby Macdonell

That innocent ‘Hey, do you have a minute’ is one of the most dangerous things that can happen. It’s never just a minute. There’s always effort to get back into something.

Learn to listen

Listen, ask questions and follow up in an effective and respectful way:

  • Keep a regular schedule so your team knows it’s ok to balance communication time with heads down focus.
  • Build a culture of trust by rewarding open communication.
  • Give people your full attention when they’re talking to you. 

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Building Rapport Remotely

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  • smile, tilt your chin lower so you're not looking down on them, and slow down your speech during your vid...
Relying On Text The Right Way

Voice and video calls can help you feel more in touch with your team and avoid the issues of asynchronous communication like time lags or misunderstandings.

However, you'll likely spend a lot of your day communicating via text as it’s a good way to interact without interrupting their work. So you need to be able to get your point across clearly and simply, show empathy and understanding, and be efficient to avoid wasted time.

Staying Up To Date

Remote workers can feel overwhelmed by the amount of text they have to process. So finding ways to keep on top of what's going on is imperative for communicating efficiently with others.

Create archive lists and CC irrelevant emails to them, so you can save and share them without flooding non-involved people. 

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Effective communication

... is imperative for every successful business. Poor communication inevitably causes misunderstandings, confusion and conflicts that hinder productivity and professi...

Effective Communication is vital in business
  • It helps to create effective brand messaging.  It determines how your brand is perceived and also builds trust with customers.
  • Customer service relies on good communication. "60% of consumers have stopped doing business with a brand due to a poor customer service experience."  Microsoft’s 2016 Global State of Customer Service Report.
  • It enables positive team relationships.  Effective communication helps to unite teams and create a safe environment to express themselves.
  • It helps to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts. It can help to defuse a potentially explosive dispute while bad communication can set it off.

Worst Communication Mistakes
  1. Using a One-Size-Fits-All Communication Approach. Tailor the communication style to the intended audience.
  2. Speaking More and Listening Less. Listen to what is said, how it is said, and to what is not said.
  3. Assuming Instead of Asking More Questions.
  4. Using Negative Tone. Choose words carefully to eliminate negative reactions.
  5. Avoiding Difficult Conversations.

  6. Reacting, Not Responding.

  7. Not Keeping an Open Mind. Accept and respect differences, listen without judgment and consider all sides of an issue.

Make Time To Connect

Workers crave a sense of authentic connection with others and the best way to do that is by bringing people together in person. But it's not always a viable alternative.

One way to do that...

Communication
  • Set clear expectations and make an effort to be a good listener.
  • Set clear boundaries. Establish a preferred time for communications so you feel respected and acknowledged.
  • Get to know others. Remote workers often have purely transactional interactions. Listen to people and get to know them.
  • Update people on what you’re working on and your availability
Use Shared Experiences

A co-located office develops its own personality through inside jokes, shared experiences, and a collaborative environment. A remote team needs to develop something similar.

Creating specific Slack channels based on interests and book clubs where the company funds the books are the easiest ways to do this for remote workers.

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Pros And Cons Of Remote Work

Remote workers save money by avoiding the expenses that come with a traditional office and can choose the best people for their team regardless of their location. They get to enjoy more f...

Communication Tools

To make your remote workers really feel connected, use instantaneous messaging tools that organize conversations into customizable channels. You should also create channels that allow your remote workers to chat about topics unrelated to work so they can benefit from the social aspects of work and strengthen their bonds. 

Hold Weekly Video Meetings

Face-to-face interaction is an effective way to make your remote workers feel more connected. Holding regular video meetings will allow remote workers to get that face time they're missing and form bonds with their co-workers.

To build even stronger connections during your weekly video meetings, don't talk only about work. Add a personal touch like allowing team members to share any good news they have. 

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A Central Management Tool
A Central Management Tool

Physical presence does play a large part in moving our projects forward. Managing a project remotely requires a diligent and transparent approach to keep track and maintain the various tasks, deadl...

Keep teammates accountable

Creating accountability is a great way to manage the work remotely. Accountability is shifted to the teammates, who are now supposed to be responsible for their own work and decisions.

One way to build accountability in remote teams is to assign groups and let teammates hold each other responsible. Also make teammates share their work experience and any issues they face, publicly (within the team) so that it acts as a ready solution for others, reducing repeat work.

Document Everything

Even if the team is small, document, formalize and map each process, making it scalable and automatic.

Standard Operating Procedures, if used correctly in a remote setting, can act like a central nervous system.

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Research on communication

Research found that only 7 percent of communication comes from the words you use; the rest of what you communicate comes from your voice and tone (38 percent) and your body language (55 percent).

Connecting with people
If you really want to communicate effectively, you need to connect and converse with the people around you—beyond words on a screen.
Embrace small talk

Small talk might not be that meaningful, but it does have a few benefits: it can make you happier and it can boost the brain’s executive functions responsible for everything from attention and focus to time management to organization.

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69% of managers

...say they’re uncomfortable communicating with employees. 

And that number is significantly higher when the roles are reversed.

Analytical communication style

An analytical communicator loves hard data, numbers, and specific language. 

They're usually wary of people who deal in vague language and strictly blue-sky ideas and get drained quickly when conversations move from logical to emotional.

Working with an analytical communication style

Dos:

  • Provide as much detail upfront as possible
  • Set clear expectations
  • Give them space to work independently

Don'ts:

  • Turning the conversation emotional;
  • Framing feedback on their work as criticism.

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Completion bias

It's where your brain specifically seeks the hit of dopamine you get from crossing off small tasks and ignores working on larger, more complex ones.

Small wins and motivation

Out of all the things that can boost our mood and motivation, the single most important is making progress on meaningful work.

Just like we love crossing small tasks off our to-do list, being able to see that we’re even one step closer to a big goal is a huge motivator. The problem is that these “small wins” are hard to measure.

“Most of us make advances small and large every single day, but we fail to notice them because we lack a method for acknowledging our progress. This is a huge loss.”

“Most of us make advances small and large every single day, but we fail to notice them because we lack a method for acknowledging our progress. This is a huge loss.”

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Defining group norms
Defining group norms

Group norms are the set of informal and formal ground rules that specify how people interact. The rules help members of the group determine how to behave. Advantages of clear g...

Intentionally create group norms

Every team has rules, but few are intentionally crafted. This could have a negative impact. For example:

  • In a team of two, it's easy to create short back-and-forth emails. As more team members join, it becomes more complex keeping everyone in the loop. Emails may include reply-alls about weekend plans and real-time decision-making, leading to unread emails and lost information.
  • A single individual dictates the rules for the group. He may inadvertently communicate late at night that can affect an entire company.
How to create healthy group norms

Setting up norms is easiest when the team is first created. It may take a special meeting at the start, but it saves time and diminish problems down the road.

Shifting group norms in an established team is possible, too. Cultivate positive behavioral expectations on high-functioning teams.

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Faster Isn’t Better
Faster Isn’t Better

Back-to-back video calls, all-day team chats combined with an expectation of immediate response is taking its toll on people trying to work from home.

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Asynchronous Vs Synchronous Communication
  • Asynchronous communication is when we send a message (such as emails) without expecting an immediate response. The recipient can take hours to answer it.

  • Synchronous (or real-time) communication is when you and the other person are engaged in a face-to-face audio or video conversation, like a video call or a phone call. The information discussed is responded immediately.

Instant messaging tools like Slack or Teams are synchronous, and in some companies, email is also used as a real-time communication tool.

Communication Boom

Team communication has increased by 50 percent in the last 20 years. We spend an average of three hours a day working on emails. On an average, Slack users send about 200 messages in a day.

This near constant communication hampers work productivity, with video calls, one-on-one meetings, e-mail and team chat leaving little room for actual work.

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