6 Impactful Steps for Effective Team Communication

6 Impactful Steps for Effective Team Communication

Apr 2, 2024

Good team communication is an integral part of your company culture. From in-person conversations to virtual meetings or facial expressions to emojis, it can seem like there are more forms of workplace communication than ever before. The rise of remote work has only added to the importance of team communication across multiple channels.

But good communication doesn’t just happen organically, and it’s important for the team leader or project manager to set the tone for the group.

Here’s how to help your team members develop good team communication skills and how to use technology to support a variety of communication styles.

Why Team Communication Matters

Team communication: woman saying, how can you be that bad at communicating?

In some jobs, it’s easy to keep your head down and focus on your work without having to communicate much with other team members. Not every workplace revolves around team-building and camaraderie. But good communication skills are important for team collaboration, and poor communication skills can really bring a project down.

Here are three ways better communication can help you achieve common goals:

1. More Employee Engagement

First, team communication is important for building trust and maintaining morale. If your team members don’t talk to each other, it can be hard for them to stay invested in their  work and feel like they play a valuable role at your company. This can lead to low morale and high turnover as employees seek out a more engaging workspace.

2. Increased Exchange of Information

By having standardized communication practices for internal communications, you can eliminate data silos and increase the flow of information across your organization. This is especially useful for cross-functional teams who need to check in with colleagues in multiple departments and don’t always have time to meet face to face.

3. Greater Team Productivity

Good communication practices are key to team accountability and productivity. Open communication ensures everyone is on the same page and minimizes the risk of cost overruns and scope creep. By using a task tracker to assign tasks and provide clear instructions, you can avoid miscommunications and duplicate work.

Examples of Team Communication Channels

Team communication: man saying, we're here to hold each other accountable, alright?

Different types of communication call for different communication channels. Some team members may be better at some forms of communication than others, so it’s important to provide channels for multiple communication styles. Here are just few of the group communication tools available to modern teams:

Face-to-face meetings

Face-to-face meetings are an opportunity to bring your team together for brainstorming, project planning, conflict resolution, and more. Even remote teams can benefit from the occasional in-person meeting or team-building workshop.

Because bringing your entire team together into one space can lead to cross-talk and side discussions, team leaders should encourage active listening and pay close attention to non-verbal communication to ensure everyone has an opportunity to feel heard.

Video conferencing platforms

When you can’t assemble your team in person and the topic is too big for an email or phone call, virtual team meetings are the next best thing. These days, you can have your pick of video conferencing platforms, from Zoom to Microsoft Teams.

Virtual meetings present some of the same communication challenges as in-person meetings, so ask participants to brush up on the do’s and don'ts of virtual meeting etiquette, and try to resolve conflicts before the meeting begins. 

Instant messaging apps

Instant messaging tools like Slack allow you to have group conversations in real-time, while still saving a record of your conversations for future reference. Most messaging apps have both desktop and mobile versions, so it’s easy for team members to stay connected on-the-go, and many of them integrate with other collaboration tools.

Be sure to group messages by topic so no one on your team feels overwhelmed at work, and turn off notifications at the end of the workday to avoid burnout.

File sharing tools

File sharing tools allow team members to store files in the cloud and work together on projects even when they aren’t in the same place. They range from document sharing tools like Microsoft 365 and Google Drive to cloud storage services like Dropbox.

If you use a tool like Anchor AI to document team meetings, you can store your audio recordings or meeting minutes there so everyone knows where to access them.

Task management software

Task management tools are primarily used for assigning and tracking tasks, but many of them offer integrations with other communication tools or serve as their own standalone communication channels. For example, you can leave comments and questions directly on a task card rather than having to take the conversation to another platform.

More advanced task trackers use artificial intelligence to assign tasks and track them for you. For example, when you use Anchor AI as your daily task tracker, you can ask Max questions about the status of your project or even how well your meeting went.

6 Steps to Fostering Good Team Communication

Team communication: Andrea from Station 19 talking

Fostering good team communication comes down to two things: teaching good team communication skills and using the right communication channels. Follow these six steps to improve team communication skills and boost team productivity:

1. Standardize Your Policies

Start by defining your communication practices in your employee handbook or code of conduct. This could include establishing an after hours email policy, or outlining your process for managing conflict in the workplace. Consider providing training in active listening, conflict resolution, and other vital team communication skills.

2. Choose the Right Communication Tools

Next, provide the right communication tools for each project. Are your team members using instant messaging apps and project management collaboration tools correctly? Spreading out conversations across too many channels can be overwhelming, so choose your tools wisely and ensure that each one is suitable for the job.

3. Use Icebreakers and Team-Building Exercises

Build trust by fostering a culture of clear communication and open dialogue. Don’t dive right into business — start meetings off with icebreakers, and try these fun team meeting ideas to keep your team engaged. By building trust first, it’ll be easier to have difficult discussions and reach agreement on challenging topics.

4. Create an Organized Meeting Agenda

When participants know what to expect from a meeting, it’s easier to stay engaged. Use these meeting agenda examples to create your own meeting templates, and send them out in advance so attendees can better prepare. Plus, by sticking to the script, you can reduce meeting overload and limit unnecessary meetings.

5. Use an Action Item Tracker

Communicating expectations and delineating tasks clearly will help you save time and avoid miscommunications. Record tasks in an action item tracker to ensure everyone’s on the same page about their responsibilities. You can even use Anchor AI to assign tasks and apply due dates automatically based on your meeting minutes.

6. Send Out Follow-up Emails

Finally, when something important has been communicated verbally, put it in writing as a reminder and for added emphasis. This could take the form of a meeting summary or a follow-up email. If you’ve used Anchor AI to record your meeting, ask Max to write a helpful meeting summary with action items to send to all of the participants.

Improve Team Communication With Anchor AI

Man and a woman walking outdoors

Being a better manager or team leader starts with fostering good communication skills like conflict resolution and active listening. But the tools you use are just as important. Effective team communication channels help team members collaborate in real time, avoid misunderstandings, and hold each accountable to common goals.

Use video conferencing tools and group messaging apps to facilitate communication, and use an AI project management tool like Anchor AI to record the most important discussions. Max, your AI project manager, can help you take meeting notes, track action items, and even send out follow-up emails and meeting summaries.

Plus, you can ask Max for intelligent input on your meeting or project, including risk assessments, sentiment analysis, and more. Sign up today to try it out!

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