Communication is essential to foster strong and productive relationships with team members and stakeholders. When our message isn’t clear, it effects outcomes and success rates. Ensuring communication is clear and concise can be a huge challenge. The solution to encouraging success through communication is by being frequent and effective.
Frequently communicating means everyone stays on the same page. Organizations operate more smoothly when no one is left out of the loop. Have you ever been a part of a team where you did load of research, only to find out someone else had already found the information you were looking for? This is an example of how team members could have avoided redundancy by communicating more frequently and sharing knowledge. Although each person has a specific role in communication, those roles sometimes become intertwined, so keeping everyone updated on the status of their role makes everyone’s job easier.
The first key to keeping communication frequent is to make sure lines of communication remain open at all times. Too often people are too timid to ask questions or give feedback. When this happens it is the responsibility of a leader to express their expectations regarding frequency of communications. How does a leader do this? By modeling the communication behavior they expect from others. When the leader asks questions, updates the team on milestones and goal status, and recap important information, others become comfortable in the model and mimic the behavior.
Simply communicating frequently is not enough to guarantee success. What happens when someone hears our message but they don’t understand it? When we relay a message, we must be confident that it is received and processed, but how do we do this?
First, we must understand that every member in the communication process is different, so learning how to communicate in a way that will be most effective to them takes patience and acceptance. Everyone doesn’t understand jargon, industry slang, acronyms and nicknames, so it is important that we take the time to explain these things so all team members and stakeholders can be on the same page.
Understanding is achieved by giving clarification when something is unclear. Team members and stakeholders must speak up and ask questions when they are confused or lost. Growing a culture of effective communication takes time on the front end, but will save you more time in the long run by eliminating mistakes which will cost you valuable time to fix.
Creating a Culture for Efficient Communication
Creating a culture that frequently and effectively communicates can be a somewhat daunting task. In order to reach this outcome we must establish an environment where team members and stake holders aren’t ridiculed for asking questions or admitting they do not understand something. When our culture is safe and welcoming everyone asks more questions, lends more support and speaks up more willingly.