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Why it matters

Rapid communication is the key to good coordination and optimum team performance. One sure way of promoting it is to instill trust. It is advisable to combine face-to-face meetings with virtual sessions, the latter being accessible to almost all organizations, virtually anywhere in the world. Careful thought needs to be given to the most appropriate means of regular internal and external communication. Just as important, if not more so, is maintaining close contact with customers. In this respect, the new information and communications technologies (NICTs), and in particular social media, offer interesting prospects.

Some ideas for developing this dimension with your team

Things to do

  • Apply an "open door" policy , letting the whole team know that they can come to you with questions, ideas or problems. This will build trust. This will encourage the early reporting of any malfunctions, enabling your team to react more quickly, since they won't have to wait until the next meeting to make a decision.
  • Organize communication training. A potentially very effective measure. Make sure it goes beyond basic skills. Depending on the circumstances, you could also offer teams the opportunity to develop their presentation skills, for example.
  • Use the communication methods that suit you best. When projects involve working together from a distance, videoconferencing is the obvious choice. Everyone can easily follow the progress of the project. On the other hand, for interactive workshops involving brainstorming or process mapping sessions, for example, physical meetings are still recommended.
  • Use a collaborative platform to improve internal coordination. Most of them use the cloud. And for good reason. Transparency, seamless follow-up, better overview: the benefits are worth considering. What's more, the use of a unified, streamlined digital solution considerably reduces the volume of e-mails.
  • Go digital and leverage social media. Leverage the know-how of millennials for the benefit of the whole group. For example, you can launch reverse mentoring initiatives, in which younger colleagues advise older ones. This is a particularly interesting option when it comes to digital communication tools.

What to avoid

  • Lack of transparency. If you give the impression that you're hiding something, you risk undermining the trust you've built up with your team. Of course, some information must be treated as confidential (think of sensitive data...). But for the rest, you need to be open and genuine, inviting people to reciprocate. This is the best way to cultivate good relations with all your stakeholders.
  • Lagging behind in communication technologies. Teams that lag behind in this area sometimes suffer from sub-optimal access to up-to-date information, resulting in reduced efficiency and, above all, slowdowns. It can also lead them to make decisions that are not the most opportune. Today, most project management software offers a mobile application.
  • Use too many communication platforms. A scattering of platforms is likely to generate confusion and disorder. For productive communication, limit the number of platforms you use. Choose them carefully, determining when and why you will use them. Finally, make sure they actually enable your teams to work together more effectively.
  • Don't set guidelines. If your communication is too abundant or your intentions are not perceptible, you run the risk of "much ado about nothing". The style of communication that suits one person may not be to the liking of another. So establish clear guidelines for the team, to determine what is acceptable and reasonably required in terms of response times, working hours and use of NICTs, for example.
  • Team disconnection. Overuse of digital tools can stifle dialogue and communication. Set aside time and space to allow your team to engage in real relational and transactional communication.

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