Didn’t you get the memo?
When the ambition to meet a goal requires the work of a diverse team, the power to drive efficiency, performance and productivity rests squarely on our ability to communicate. With so much going on, how can we create an effective strategy to ensure the right people are getting the right message, at the right time?
Try these 7 starting points to help you:
1. Meetings – as regular as coffee. Ensure they include clear agendas, with plenty of scope for discussion and questions. Every meeting, whether a video conference call or a gathering in the local office, is a catalyst to review what went well and where the opportunities lie. They are also one of the surest ways of gaining unanimous agreement and setting lines for further communication.
2. Emails – slick, fast and as collectable as a great quote. From a summary of agreed points, opportunities to delegate or a precise method for tracking objectives and targets, the strengths of having an email network in place is immeasurable. With the advent of group letterboxes and filing of chain letters, it is also a unique way of co-ordinating diaries and maximising electronic planning tools.
3. 1-2-1 facetime – smile, you’re on camera. There is nothing as critical as having consistent facetime with key personnel. Whether it is by Skype, or gathering in the most convenient corner of the cafeteria. This is where delegation, review, planning, goal setting and agendas can be agreed in a more informal setting. It is also a softly-softly way of checking individual ‘temperatures’ and challenging pre-conceived ideas.
4. Training schedule – knowledge is power. Get everyone quickly on the same page by delivering training workshops. This is an exceptional tool to test skill and knowledge levels, embed new ideas and practices, and to open a forum of contribution.
5. Encourage feedback – it’s a gift. The strength of offering a platform where people can freely express their views is incredibly important. This is a productive way of measuring if your message and vision is being received clear and concisely. Rather than ask the question, allow people to present their views.
6. Establish clear ground rules – the chain of command. This is an important series of links to help relieve confusion. People’s perceptions will differ; rather than having one senior figure with all the answers, the delegation of key positions can help enormously to bring people of all levels forward and asking the right questions within their parameters of work.
7. Suggestion box – anonymity is safe. This allows a platform for those who fear being singled out. Self-esteem can be a tricky thing, especially when presented in front of others. Not all those in attendance will want to raise their hand, preferring to suffer quietly under the burden of ignorance. Give them an option.
‘Because’ – a million-dollar word
Ultimately, the reason most communications fail to gather momentum is the lack of understanding. As managers, our most potent strength in presenting new ideas is to use the word ‘because’. There is simply no substitute for giving people a solid reason for why they are doing something. The difference that one small word can make can be the difference between a successful plan or a failed one.
So, think about your workplace. How can you use the tips above to capitalise on your communications? But remember – always think about the why.
For more great communication tips, check our our infographic: