Learn to communicate within your team. It should come to no surprise that most companies spend quite a bit of money communicating with their customers. From various marketing methods, to offering various forms of online, phone and written customer service communication methods, most companies understand the value of communicating with their customers.
The question becomes, however, how great are they about communicating with their own people? Not only communicating messages to their team, but how much do they foster communication throughout the company?
Building internal communication channels
Fostering an environment where employees and management alike feel encouraged to share their ideas is vital to a company’s success, no matter what size your business or team.
I want to be clear that when I say “communicate,” I mean various forms including email, phone calls, and in person. All are effective forms of communication and some communication forms will work better than others given the situation. One common factor, however, is that any communication must be captured.
Capturing the discussion—and the resulting decisions—is important because it allows everyone who is affected to stay in the proverbial loop.
One tool I’ve seen be successful for internal communication is to establish an internal social network. It’s a fantastic, effective means of communication and provides password protected access to various parts of the network. This means if there is a topic, document, or other communication that is for only certain departments or people, information can be compartmentalized within the network.
Empowering your team
During my time with my previous company, we worked hard to establish a lot of transparency throughout our organization. We hosted weekly staff meetings to keep everyone aware of what was going on. We encouraged people to come to our offices to talk through ideas. We truly had an open-door policy and that empowered our team to feel like they were a part of something and that their ideas truly mattered.
We talked a lot about fostering what I call “bottom up” communication more so than “top down” communication. Bottom up communication is encouraging all employees to communicate their thoughts with management and top down communication is when management simply conveys information to their team. Top down communication is necessary in some situations, but it must be tempered and combined with bottom up communication to be successful.
5 Tips for effective communication
I want to close with five tips for effective communication:
- Be concise and clear
- Encourage extensive internal communication within your organization
- Foster consistent communication, not just crisis communication
- Listen! Listening instead of talking is the most important aspect of communication
- Praise publicly and criticize privately. This shows your team they are valued.
As I said in the beginning, your business’ success will be determined by how well you communicate, both with your external stakeholders and your internal stakeholders. Effective communication allows for better morale, improved performance, and enhanced productivity.