Do some team members’ primarily using email and others texts? Is there undue confusion and misunderstanding because people aren’t talking either face-to-face or voice-to-voice? Are team members not even sure what method of communication to use and when, so they use all of them, for everything?
There are two forces that challenge a team’s ability to communicate effectively. Technology and communication platforms are evolving at a rapid rate. People are fluidly moving between teams and industries bringing with them their own preferences and biases.
Give your team an edge, by establishing protocols around when to use email, text, face-to-face, voice-to-voice, instant message and any other new platform. When I’m a coaching team, I ensure these protocols are integral to their agenda. I am constantly surprised at the assumptions people make based on their own behaviors. Without communication protocols that are constantly updated to incorporate new technology, confusion and frustration can ensue.
Here are some best practices for teams to follow and implement:
Face-to-face or voice-to-voice: Any information that is critical to the business, requires dialogue, delivers new important information, or can be confrontational. Too much can be misinterpreted, in particular tone of voice, with emails or texts.
Email: Recapping agreements, passing along information and forwarding documents.
Text: On weekends or after hours, if someone needs to be reached and it’s critical. The text may direct them to an email or request a call.
Instant message: Something needs to be addressed or reviewed immediately.
How is your team effectively using technology to communicate? What works? What doesn’t?