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4 Steps to Communicate Effectively with Your Team

The value of communication between team members can’t be overstated. Effective communication practices build rapport and trust between colleagues, increases efficiency, facilitates innovation, and can foster a happy workplace. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to set expectations and rectify communication issues with your workers. Once the lines of communication are open with your team, the process of completing tasks and projects will run much smoother.

Here’s how you can make it happen.

Step 1: Schedule consistent meetings.

Schedule team meetings at the same time each week and make it a point not to skip them. By keeping it consistent, people will show up better prepared with issues and topics of concern than if you schedule meetings at random. The most common timing is weekly, but you should find a schedule that’s going to work best for your business, and stick to it.

Step 2: Provide a platform for sharing information and use it to define your agenda.

Leveraging a set agenda will help guide communication expectations and keep your meetings productive. To achieve this, many organizations use a digital team worksheet. This allows for a place team members can submit their project updates, innovative ideas, questions, and concerns. Creating a space that gives team members a voice will eliminate frustration and the need for extra formal meetings throughout the week.

Example Worksheet/Agenda:

1) Review of good news from the past week (5 minutes)

Each team member has the opportunity to talk about their wins from the past week.

2) List of Issues (40 minutes)

Spend time going through each issue and talk about them as a team.

If you are spending too much time on one item, agree to discuss at a different time with all the necessary stakeholders.

3) To-do’s and Takeaways (5 minutes)

Record any takeaway items that result from the discussion, and who is claiming responsibility to complete them.

4) Rate the meeting

Have everyone give their rating and why, as a way to be sure meetings stay beneficial.

Step 3: Establish team ground rules.

Establishing ground rules will encourage order, efficiency, and healthy communication at meetings. Team members should participate in the rule development process and the rules should be agreed on by consensus. Some examples that might work for you include:

-Team members must arrive to meetings on time.

-Each member is allowed and encouraged to, offer suggestions and provide ideas.

-Only one team member should speak at any given time.

Step 4: Lead by example.

Your team will be more likely to engage in constructive communication with one another when that behavior is endorsed by their leader. Model the communication style you want to see by treating employees with respect, providing specific and actionable requests, asking for (and acting on) honest feedback, celebrating teamwork and continually working to improve your own communication efforts.

In any situation, good communication will always be an important factor for success and improving it should be high on the agenda of any manager.