By Dan Kohler, Senior Consultant at NEOS
How many times have we heard a colleague finish a story with an expectation of laughter, and when none comes, say halfheartedly, “Maybe you just had to be there?” It’s true; there’s something important about being present to truly understand a situation, even with modern communication tools like video chat and instant messaging.
Realistically, however, we know that we can’t always be everywhere, and we rely on these technologies to help us stay connected to projects, decisions, and changes. But these tools are only as good as the businesses using them. Too often, organizations fail to effectively keep everyone up-to-date on decisions and adjustments. The following are best practices designed to help organizations communicate effectively and keep everyone up-to-date on what is going on, no matter what your technology tool-bag offers.
Choose a member of your team to take notes during project meetings and distribute those notes to the whole group. Not every word needs to be documented, but critical changes and decisions should be recorded so that everyone has the most up-to-date information at hand.
Know Your Role
You may be a decision maker, a reporter, an information provider, a subject matter expert, or something else altogether. Know ahead of time what your role is and what will be required of you during and after the meeting; this will allow you to plan how to communicate or create change.
Communicate to the Right People
Make sure that everyone who should be informed is being informed. Often, and to the detriment of project success, key people are left out of the communication circle. If you have been appointed to attend a meeting on behalf of your team or department, make sure that you communicate back to your team or department.
Keep your communication brief but be sure to give enough context that the readers will understand what is going on. If there are action items, make sure these are highlighted, along with any expected time-frames for completion.
Don’t View Information as Power
Avoid hiding information as a way to maintain power. Power and influence come from making change happen. Hiding information to make oneself more essential is a short-lived strategy that is doomed for failure.
Communication is a critical component of success. Implementing the best practices above will help improve the communication failures that are encountered at all levels of business.