It’s not what you say, but how you say it

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The success of a project depends on your team and it’s guaranteed only if you know how to communicate openly with the other members- ideas, opinions, frustrations and suggestions about what can be improved. Good communication is what separates a poor result from an exceptional one. When you communicate well with your team, it helps eliminate misunderstandings and can encourage a healthy and peaceful work environment. Moreover, you can get work done in a quicker and more professional manner, and what matters the most is that everyone is happy and the team becomes more solid.

If you’re not sure where to start with improving your communication skills, check out these tips:

  1. Listen without interrupting

Expressing your own point it’s imperative, but before that you have to make sure that you took enough time to think about what the others are saying and what they truly mean with those affirmations. Any form of communication should be began and ended with listening. If you interrupt someone, that person might take it personally and on the long term it will affect the welfare of the whole team. But that doesn’t mean that after the person who was talking finishes you can ask an endless string of questions or that you can start talking without making some pauses so as to get feedback from the others. If you think someone’s ideas are good, say it. If you don’t, try to explain them your reasons- in a team, members should support each others to evolve and improve their abilities, because in the end that will reduce the time needed for completing tasks and the quality of the work will be semnificantly upgraded.

  1. Set deadlines for the tasks at hand and check status through regular meetings

Lack of clarity can lead to confusion, so each member should know what his responsabilities are and how much time he/she has. You can use online checklists for tracking progress and set a number of meetings that are necessary for exchanging information and for getting help if it’s the case. If you have this approach as a team leader, you will be more appreciated because that means you are making time to be there for them and that you care. There should take place both one-to-one and group meetings- maybe someone does’t feel comfortable bringing something up to the whole group and prefer to discuss with the leader.

  1. Informal activities

Team building activities have a direct impact on productivity, because it helps people to know each other better and feel more comfortable inside the group. Different activities can be scheduled weekly or monthly: outdoor activities, gaming or fitness sessions, having lunch together, solving puzzles or karaoke. Eventually, everyone will be able to communicate better if they are able to collaborate with everyone well. The feeling of having a “work family” makes most people want to work harder toward a common goal and builds a strong sense of reciprocity.

  1. Use time wisely

Clearly separate work from fun and don’t postpone what needs to be done. Focus on task and then spend a few minutes discussing about other topics- it’s important to have a friendly environment. When you cannot see face to face, use different communications tools for exchanging messages or relevant information: Asana, GoToMeeting, Google Docs or ProofHub. Don’t forget to limit the number of tasks each team member is working on- multi-tasking might not be for everyone since it can affect the output.

Written by: Nicoleta-Ioana Anca