Creating Effective Communication Channels For Teams by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC
There are many different ways for teams to communicate. Today, thanks to software platforms and virtual meeting spaces, there are a number of options for team leaders, small business owners, or enterprise companies to consider.
However, it is important to realize that the specific technology selected is just a tool. The specific platform, from a free Zoom session or Microsoft Teams account to a customized paid version of the latest in project management software is only as effective for communication as the individual team members using the platform.
To create the most effective communication channels for remote team members, there are a few strategies, techniques, and tips to use in selecting the best channels for your team.
- Consider your needs – stop and consider the types of team communication that will be critical for the job or the project. Do they need to have a chat option, file access, virtual meeting space, virtual collaborative workspace, cloud-based access to data, ability to communicate with each other, as a group, or in asynchronous time?
- Ask for ideas – many professionals today have extensive experience in working with a variety of team software platforms and programs. Asking for input from team members is a transparent way to demonstrate leadership is focused on boosting efficiency by finding options that work for the specific team.
- People-centered solutions – it becomes easy to focus on how the different channels can manage data, and this information is easy to access on any sales page. However, having the ability to add to the people-focus aspect of the software or platform is less tangible and more qualitative in nature. How easy is it for team members to connect? Can they meet in virtual workspaces, share private information, or is everything public and open for review by the leadership and team?
- What needs to be shared on each platform – many companies use a variety of channels to communicate messages. This may include email for short, specific requests or information sharing, face-to-face team meetings either in person or virtually for critical information related to the team, and private meetings for sensitive information with one or more team members.
- Language and timing – other issues to consider with communication channels is how to address team members in various time zones or team members who speak different languages. These issues need to be addressed to prevent some team members from feeling isolated or devalued if they cannot participate in meetings and team events.
Clarifying the types of messages shared on each platform is important. Setting ground rules for team members for interpersonal communication within the team is also critical regardless of the specific channel or platform selected.