Effective Communication

What are the best methods for you to use for effective communication with your team?

Paddy explains the importance of effective communication and shares examples of how best to communicate with your team.

Video transcript

Effective communication is a very underrated part of being an effective manager. One of my first managers told me that communication solves all problems and it stuck with me ever since. I think it’s true, especially if you frame solving a problem that’s getting a resolution to a situation, even if it’s not going to make everyone happy. Communication also plays a huge role in developing getting the best out of your team, if you’re not an effective communicator.

You will hold them back and deliver work that isn’t as good as it should be. The thing is, so many managers don’t realize this and don’t work on our communication skills enough. No manager will ever be a perfect communicator. And as with most things, you need to play to your strengths and be prepared to adapt to individual situations.

This means that you need to look at all of the ways in which you communicate and know which way is work best for you and for your team. So firstly, let’s talk about email. Email is usually the default method of communication in most agencies. Email hits us all every single day, which means that the important information can sometimes be lost amongst all of the noise.

This means that email should be used for things such as confirming notes and details of what you’ve already discussed verbally, or for factual information which doesn’t need much context or tone. Try not to rely on email as a primary way to communicate feedback when you do communicate feedback or sensitive information. Ensure you’ve had a verbal conversation first. Effective email communication is only achieved if you’re an effective writer, so you may need to spend some time improving your skills here.

If you’re not a natural writer, let’s talk about video calls. The pandemic has accelerated the use of video calls and enabled a new form of communication that many managers may not have used much before. Video calls can be a great way to build trust and relationships with your team, even if you don’t see that team very often or even at all. It’s far easier to do so over a video call, an email and also starts to be a traditional phone calls as well.

Because if you have cameras turned on, you can communicate far more emotional feeling, as well as being able to gauge reactions far more easily. You should try to encourage effective use of video calls by pushing your team to avoid distractions, such as email or Slack that might be active on their screen next to the video call. Many of us also spend time looking at our own faces rather than the other person. So where possible, you should switch this off where you can really focus on the person and encourage your attention to this time as well.

Video calls are probably the most effective way to communicate with your team, if you’re not able to have face-to-face meetings. This is because you’re are able to see each other again communicate tone whilst reacting in real time to how someone appears to be on the screen. Next, let’s talk about the phone. So before the pandemic, we were likely to pick up the phone rather than jump on a video call.

And whilst the phone is still popular, it has definitely moved behind video calls in terms of popularity. But using the phone is still more effective than email. When it comes to conveying tone and reacting to someone’s reactions in real time, which means that it’s a useful tool for managers to use. The phone can also make communication far more efficient than something like email, where a single conversation can be dragged out over the course of several hours or even several days.

With that said, some people can be nervous about using the phone, and you should be aware of this so you can take into account when choosing the best method of communication for your team. Let’s talk about face to face meetings before the pandemic, when most of us spent the majority of our time in the office face to face meetings with the norm when it came to communication. Whereas now you might end up being a leader who rarely, if even ever actually met your team face to face. But if you do, it’s probably the most effective way to build trust with your team and get to know someone.

With most face to face meetings with your team, even more formal ones such as reviews, you should try to create a relaxing environment. This may mean choosing a meeting room that is very comfortable but private for difficult conversations or choosing a coffee shop or somewhere for lunch. My work really well. You want to relax someone away from the office environment, even with the modern technology that video calls provide.

You can still mostly only see someone’s head and shoulders on a call, whereas with a face to face meeting, it allows you from a much deeper view of someone’s body language mood and again allows you to adapt and get to know someone better. Also, remember that not every face to face meeting needs to be scheduled, and effective use of FaceTime in an office can be when you want to have a quick chat with someone to deliver a quick piece of feedback and grabbing someone for 2 minutes touching delivery face to face. This works particularly well if the feedback is timely and. Positive because someone isn’t expecting it, and it will go back to their desk feeling good about themselves.

Your parents and body language during video calls and face-to-face meetings can have a larger impact than you’d expect on how you’re perceived and therefore the effectiveness of your communication. So here’s some examples of good practice when it comes to body language and appearance looking face down with someone making eye contact, opening your arms and upper body sitting up straight, not fidgeting dressed to suit the occasion. Now let’s look at some bad examples. Being distracted by devices such as your phone or your laptop, looking around the room too much and appearing distracted by something else.

Leaning back or too far forward in your chair or closing your arms and appearing close after someone. One framework that can use for structuring important conversations is a communication of pyramids. This is a framework invented by Barbara Minto that can be really useful in structuring important conversations. So let’s use an example.

Let’s imagine you’re running a one story of a team member just to check in on the first six months in a new role. Firstly, the purpose and the goal of communication. In this example is to understand how they’re feeling about that role. Uncover any issues or problems and identify ways to help them on those points.

So your preparation here. And you actually need to take, it’s to prepare for your questions to dig into these areas. Next, think about the type of person you you’re speaking to. Are they emotional?

Are they analytical? Do they lost somewhere in the middle? Did they get nervous easily? Try and think about the type of person they are, and when you’re preparing for your conversation.

Think about how the type of person you are will affect how you communicate with them. Next, the key message. So in this example, you really want the person to know you’re trying to help them in their role and that you’re trying to learn from the experience. So far and make any changes that will help them in their role, too.

You’re there to listen to them and to help. So the action here for you is to be clear on what you want and to think, fail and take away from the conversation. Finally, how this could be a coffee break in a cafe near the office, or you can walk and talk on the way to a coffee shop and back again to create a relaxed environment, to open up a little bit and have this one to 1 in a relaxing way.

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