Committee trouble: 5 ways to ace your team communication skills

Are you having committee issues? Do you find it tough to communicate in larger groups and work within a team? Look no further. We’ve come up with some great ways to make your team communication simpler and more effective.

Build team spirit

Yes, we know how it sounds – clichéd and old fashioned. However, this is invaluable when working in a team. It’s true when you create and maintain an environment where everyone feels invested in the team, your level of communication will soar. It’s the difference between your team feeling like nothing that they say will affect a project’s outcome and knowing that their input will directly add to the success of a team.

How do you do this? Get personal. When you are working alongside you committee or team, it is super easy to see them as this one-dimensional person with no social life. And we all know everyone has a social life so get to know them outside of committee meetings or work days – this way, you’ll make a more personal connection. Another great way is to incorporate team building strategies which address this social side – you’ll be killing two birds with one stone. For example, your committee needs to come up with a new creative strategy: drag everyone to Bill’s and only talk about it after lunch – talk about things other than work over lunch.

Be transparent – and communicate your intentions

This is so important – everyone should know what the others are doing. To do this, everyone needs to have clearly defined roles. They should understand how they fit into the overall plan as well as knowing where their role ends and the other person’s begins.

As Alan Palmer writes in Talk Lean, research shows that a team will always be more relaxed if the leader of a meeting clearly states what outcomes he or she personally wants. Do you want your team to get along better because you’ve been facing some issues lately? Don’t be afraid to say so.

Transparency doesn’t just involve setting roles –all members should be aware of anything going on that could influence them within the team project. For example, if you’re looking for sponsorship but you don’t think your marketing people need to know – they do. They will need to know because it could affect the way in which they need to market and project the committee. They might also have great ideas or connections which could benefit you and the team as a whole.

Create a communicative environment

Every person in your team should be able to give and receive feedback – and they shouldn’t be shy to do so. You set the tone by explicitly asking for feedback and others’ opinions. One single individual never has all the answers; more often than not, being open and having a team that communicates their ideas well is incredibly important to do the best work. It also fosters an element of respect for every team member, showing that they as well as their ideas are valued.

Use everyone’s time wisely

We all know that everyone is really busy all the time – that’s just the way it is, so don’t waste time. At the start of your work together, consider setting up a regular time each week for a meeting. When you do have meetings, make sure to have an agenda that everyone is aware of, so you can prepare for a proper discussion about everything you need to cover. Keep the meetings short and precise – don’t prolong them for the sake of it – and set timings for every point on the agenda.

After this, maybe you could use an online tool – we use Asana – to give out tasks and set deadlines so that everyone can see not only what they have to do, but the tasks of the committee as a whole. This way, the overview is clear and easy, and you’re not wasting any time.

Have a good time

We saved the most important until last. Remember to have fun together – working in a group shouldn’t be difficult or a burden. Do your best to maintain lightness and clarity so that the environment is light and fun. Teams are proven to be more productive if they listen to upbeat music while they work, so bring out your best playlist. You could also schedule termly drinks or dinners just to unwind and spend time together without even thinking about work.

Anna-Juliette Hamilton

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