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July 11, 2017 By Scott Simone

Your Team is Communicating Wrong: Here’s How to Fix It

July 11, 2017

By Scott Simone

Read More from Scott Simone

July 11, 2017

Your Team is Communicating Wrong: Here’s How to Fix It

By Scott Simone
Contributor

“Communication breakdown. It’s always the same.” Okay, yes, those are Led Zeppelin lyrics. But they’re about to help prove a point—just hear us out.

A recent survey we conducted of 1,000 knowledge workers found that communication is at the top of the list for how teams can work better together. And with teamwork becoming a part of everyday work life, with most people working in teams at least some of the time—learning how to properly communicate within a group is vital.

The key here: stop communicating the wrong way. With that in mind, here’s how teams should be interacting to save yourselves from going insane.

Stop Over-Communicating

You know that cliché phrase “too much of a good thing is a bad thing”? It’s cliché for a reason, because it’s true. Especially when communicating within a team. No one wants to open their inbox to 20 emails from you. So what’s the “ideal” amount? Fair question. According to Alex “Sandy” Pentland, the director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory, the “ideal” number of communication exchanges is a dozen per hour—more will actually decrease performance. Oh, and that’s a dozen between the team, not just from you.

Not All Communication is Made Equal

Most professionals would cut the use of texting, according to our recent teamwork survey. But email can also be a highly ineffective communication too, as argued in a Chicago Tribune article. So what’s the answer? The good ‘ol face-to-face conversation. According to Pentland’s studies, 35% of team performance can be explained by tallying number of face-to-face exchanges among team members.

We’re not talking boardroom meetings here, though. These interactions can be simple, informal coffee breaks among team members. If your team is spread out across locations—or, likely, amongst different companies—a five minute video call will go a long way to improving your team’s communication.

Make Use of Platforms

With so many tech tools at your disposal, why not open up lines of communication through various sources. join.me is perfect for screen-sharing information over a call. Slack is ideal for quick questions between team members. To keep track of tasks, use Trello, which allows you to organize and prioritize projects and keep track of everything through comments and attachments. And HipChat allows you to quickly and seamlessly video chat and group chat with team members.

Well, we’re going to take our own advice and not over-communicate, so we’ll end things here. But for more insights into teamwork, check out this post.

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