How a message is communicated is every bit as important as the message itself. When you are leading a team, fostering an environment of open communication and collaboration can make all the difference in team cohesiveness and productivity. The most effective teams are the ones who are able to work together toward common goals and encourage individual goals – and that takes good communication. Therefore, as a leader, you have to focus not only on what you are communicating but how you are communicating it.

Best Practices for Improving Internal Communication

Below is a list of best practices you can use to improve internal communication to connect your team and keep them informed, motivated and engaged.

More Communication is Better Than Less

When you communicate with your team, the most important thing is that it be clear – that you leave no room for interpretation. This is especially true when you are not communicating in person, but rather sending an email or other written communication. In situations when you think that you have a confusing or complex topic to get across, it is better to err on the side of over-communication to make sure that your team understands.

Encourage Cross-Departmental Communication

If you are leading a team or have a workplace that has different departments or work groups, cross-departmental communication is essential. Keeping everyone on the same page, working collaboratively, will create a team that every member feels a part of, and ultimately increase individual productivity and the effectiveness of team projects.

ClearCompany, a talent management company, describes is this way on their blog, “The ideal vision of teamwork looks like cogs in a machine, working together seamlessly. More often, though, we end up with something more similar to an octopus flailing its limbs. Transparency and effective communication are the keys to true alignment. When everyone knows the objectives, and how everyone’s work contributes to the completion of those objectives, then alignment becomes real.”

Define Communication Channels

Your company likely has many channels that you use to communicate. Email, live chat, project management software, and social media are a few examples. However you choose to communicate, there should be consistency in which channels are designated for specific types of information being communicated. In other words, you can use email for communicating about long-term project goals, while using a project management solution for short-term updates and progress.

While you may be hesitant to use social media in the workplace, there is ongoing research that shows it does have a place in the business setting. In a Forbes magazine article, writer Eric Savitz says, “Social media is poised to become an office productivity tool, much the same way that email did in the late 1990s.” So don’t write it off too quickly, it can be an efficient way to communicate.

Keep the Big Picture in View

There are many day-to-day matters that have to be communicated to staff that are important to daily operations. Most employees receive numerous emails every day that focus on details of a bigger project, campaign, or goal. You can see why it’s easy for team members to get bogged down with the details and neglect seeing the big picture. Be sure to communicate your company’s overall mission and goals regularly. You don’t want your team to focus only on the trees, but the forest as well.

Use the Right Tools

There are a lot of sales automation tools that you can use to communicate with your team, and your team members to communicate with each other. Depending on what your specific needs are, you can find one that will be efficient and useful to you and your team. Look at the specifics of solutions like Trello, Slack, and Asana to see which one will work for your team.

Whichever one you choose, stick with it and you will undoubtedly see an improvement in communication among your team members.

Make It Fun

Communication doesn’t have to be all work. It can be both fun and productive when you use different ways to get your point across. Round-table discussions, brainstorming sessions, and working lunches or dinners, can all become a combination of work and fun. Try using video clips, jokes, personal stories or analogies to communicate information in a fun and motivating way.

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Jami Deloe