June 23, 2017 By Colleen Regan

Simple Changes Can Improve Team Communication

June 23, 2017

By Colleen Regan

Read More from Colleen Regan

June 23, 2017

Simple Changes Can Improve Team Communication

By Colleen Regan
Senior Product Marketing Manager

“Communication breakdown. It’s always the same.” Okay, yes, those are Led Zeppelin lyrics. But they’re about to prove a point about some simple ways to improve your team.

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 – that same survey found that 100% (yes, every single professional who responded) works 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. Here’s how teams should be interacting to be more productive and 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.

The key here is prioritization. Sit back and think about who really needs to know what, to accomplish the goal at hand. We bet you can easily cut down a few email threads right off the bat.

Not All Communication is Made Equal

Most professionals would cut the use of texting altogether, according to our survey. But email can also be a highly ineffective communication too. 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 the number of face-to-face exchanges among team members. More face to face time equals better performance.

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

Use The Tools You’ve Got, The Right Way

With so many tech tools at your disposal, why not open up lines of communication through various sources. is perfect for screen-sharing information over a call that is best shared visually; or collaborating with external resources. Slack is ideal for making quick decisions between team members to move projects forward. To keep track of tasks, use Trello, which allows you to organize and prioritize projects and keep track of it all through comments and attachments.

Well, we’re going to take our own advice and not over-communicate, so we’ll end things here. For more insights into teamwork, check out the 8 Myths we discovered through this research.