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Communicate Better – 10 Tips for the Team to Work Effectively

Tips to communicate better with the team. How to improve team communication.
How do you communicate better? Tips to help break down barriers and improve communication with team members. Poor communication can be fixed!

Have you ever been working with team members and you just were not on the same page? The importance of workplace communication and barriers to it becomes very apparent. How did you handle the gap in your communication? Did you have ready and immediate ideas to try to help with the communication? If like me, you could have used some ideas to help get to a more positive connection.

Ideas to help with how to communicate effectively with the team. As well as to remove barriers to workplace and business communication and help move forward. These ideas will help improve software quality by improving communication with the team.

So how can we gain communication skills?

The following are easy and tangible tips to help promote effective communication in the workplace. Improving communication on the team is almost universally agreed upon as a top issue. Consistently rated among top soft skills that employers look for. So leverage these tips to be a more respectful, positive, and engaged communicator.

The following tips will grow your communication with team members. Effective communication skills will help to deliver value and turn you into a true communicator. These ideas will help smooth out the bumps in your team’s communication road!

Remember the shared purpose

You have team goals you are trying to achieve. You are working as a team to achieve those goals. Achieve the goals through the combined effort and teamwork. Additionally, by being on the team, you want the same things as the team members. Above all, you all want success for the team, company, and stakeholders. Remembering that helps team members to coalesce around the work. This item is key for building a good Agile team process and self-organization. It really is one of the most fundamental underlying items of how to communicate more effectively with team members. In the end, it is ok to disagree, but you have the same goals and are all working towards them.

The team is stronger, more experienced, more knowledgeable and more capable than any single person

As valuable as great individuals are, a team can simply do more. The team will know more and the team can deliver more. A single person is limited to 1 mind, and 1 mindset. A team can have multiple to many of these. The best part is they can interact and learn and grow by being on the team. Diversity of ideas, approaches, and experience only strengthen the ideas of the team. Remembering that need for diverse perspectives goes a long ways towards improving team communication.

Remember you can both learn from each other to communicate better

No person knows everything. In reality, most of us are a ways away from knowing everything. Therefore, the team concept becomes even more important. You can learn from your team members, as they can learn from you. Both becoming better along the way. Practice and promote more active listening, so that you can all communicate effectively. Keeping in mind the two-way street that exists, that 2 people can both learn from each other, goes a long way to furthering interpersonal communication. Asking questions, especially open-ended questions of your colleague, will help build shared understanding. A communication style where you ask questions will build shared understanding.

A team can do more heavy lifting and do it more easily than 1 person

A single person has limitations that are much lower than a team. However, the team can do more heavy lifting, both literally and figuratively. In terms of problem-solving and intellectual work, a team can be even more valuable. In other words, the team’s combined ability to do intellectual work is far greater than a single person.

Communicate clearly and effectively

To communicate with team members, communicate clearly. Don’t hide your meaning or intent. Keep things simple. Communicating with team members is about sharing information and understanding. Elaborate communication will cause you to miss the point. Find the point and communicate it without excess. Be careful to not be too blunt. Try to avoid jargon, as it’s not as clear. The middle ground between a forceful, blunt statement and overly verbose styles is best.

Unclear and non-concise info is often a cause of misunderstanding. Finding the middle ground, for conveying information clearly, is more art than science. Constructive communication has just the right amount of details. Finding the middle ground of what and how you communicate is one of the single best ways to increase your verbal communication skills. Work on it and master it and you will be communicating effectively.

Communicate with some empathy

Have some understanding for the team members perspective. Where are they coming from and why do they feel that way? Understanding this helps you to have a greater perspective. In addition, it makes you a more understanding and a better team member. Remember to take cues from what others are saying to have more understanding of where they are coming from. Things like their facial expressions, tone of voice, and body-language. Use eye-contact and face-to-face communication to show that empathy. Considering these more will increase your perspective, which leads to greater communication skill.

Listen to combine ideas and communicate better

As a team member, you need to listen to other team member ideas. By being open to other ideas, you will find ideas better than yours. Even better still, you will find ideas that complement yours. The sum total of the ideas together is better than either idea individually. If not listening to team members, you will not find the ideas that complement yours. Again, the active listening concept is key. Listeners will understand more. Pay-attention to improve your listening!

Not listening is often one of the top barriers to effective communication. Listen to understand, so that together you can build up even further. Paying attention is required to build understanding. Don’t listen just to respond or contradict. Listening skills are critical. We can all be a better listener, just make it a priority.

Embrace varied job skillsets and diversity

If you embrace diversity and add diversity to the team, you will add team members you wouldn’t have otherwise. This brings more tools and perspective to the team. Which in turn adds to the skills and capabilities of the team. If all the team members were the same, you would have a similar experience. You primarily gain skills through experience. Diversifying the teams brings different perspectives and experience. Thus, also brings the team new skills. Combining the new skills and information for the team leads to a greater potential for the team. Which, you can’t do without the ability to communicate.

Share reasoning and context

Share reasoning and context, to help build understanding. As part of any good conversation, sharing the driving forces behind decisions and goals is so important. At a minimum, sharing that information will help understand why you determined something. Sharing may help others and they may even arrive at the same decision. Though, without context, they might not be able to arrive at the same decision. This will greatly help improve communication, as the extra details can derail good sharing of information. Sharing context will help stay on track.

Build up from the common ground

Even when not in agreement, remember the baseline that you do agree on. There are basic building blocks for the team to use to reach consensus. Things like the team and company goals, or baseline process, standards, and team norms. Leverage those to find common ground and to convey ideas. Build up in piecemeal to reach consensus. The ability to communicate with others needs that common ground to succeed.

Building trust and rapport with team members takes time. It starts from common ground, and just expands from there. Leverage that common ground and remember to start there. It will avoid misunderstanding.

In the end communication takes effort, but it’s worth it

Remember these communication tips to help interact with your team members. It is a team for a reason, and you are a part of that team. Practice positive interactions and use the ideas above. Be respectful to each other, so that you can freely share ideas and learn. This is part of really good communication skills. It will help you to be a really good team member as well.

Additional reading and ebooks to help communicate better

Everyone can struggle to connect with team members from time to time. Tips for any team to communicate better. These ideas will help you blow past hurdles and be a dynamic Agile development team! Helping the team to more effectively communicate. These ideas are how to improve communication.

Building the trust on an Agile software and product team helps tremendously with communication.

Feedback processes in Agile software development rely on communication. Check out The Feedback Loop – Get the Info You Need To Build in Quality, for more information on feedback, leveraging communication tips to get there.

Additionally, certain roles on the Agile team can help to promote these communication ideas. The Agile Business Analyst is one of them. This role can help grow the communication skills of the entire team, as a facilitator and leader for the team.