Communicating Successfully To Your Team Is One Of The Biggest Challenges That All Leaders Face.
In this week’s blog I’m going to talk you through the top tips to communicate successfully and quickly to your team.
To start off with, we need to think about Why We’re Communicating.
Why are we even sending this message to our team? Too many times we overload our teams with so much information that they’re not quite sure what’s important and what’s not. So we need to actually stop and ask ourselves before we communicate anything, “Why am I communicating this and why is this important to my team?”
The next thing we need to be looking at before we even start communicating anything to our teams is How Will They Best Receive The Information?
So many leaders actually think about how would I like to deliver this information? What’s the easiest way for me? What’s the quickest way for me? The problem with that is that with any communication, it’s all two way. If we actually only think about us and it’s an easy trap to fall into, especially with the pace of retail and leadership and business. If we only think about how we want to communicate something, we’re missing 50% of the story. It’s really, really important that we actually think about how will our team want to receive this information? Collecting everyone in a meeting and talking about the information may not be the best way that your team receives information.
If your team aren’t auditory, if they don’t love to sit and talk about things, there may be a whole section of your team that you miss. So how do you work this out? You actually look at what has been successful in the past and what has not been. If handing your team a really detailed process flow has been truly successful then we need to make a note of that because we know that works. Our people want the detail. If that hasn’t worked, we have to look at how we deliver it. Short, sharp intervals. If having a whole team meeting where everyone discuss it has worked, then we need to integrate that. But if it hasn’t, we need to work out other ways.
Sending information and communicating really important messages via email is one of the ways that we actually can miss a lot of people because of a few things. Yes, we have a record of it when we have email, but what we miss is the fact that everyone gets so many emails a day. Think about even your personal email. How many emails do you get there a day? We actually start to very quickly filter what we say is important. So if we really want to make sure that our team sees our information and what we’re trying to communicate as important, we need to show that in the way we communicate it to our people.
So we need to think about how are we going to actually communicate that to our team. I know some leaders think that this is going to take lots of time, but actually it doesn’t take that long to go, “Okay, well what type of forms of communication do my team like to get information from? Do they like getting together and going, “Here’s the highlights and here’s some documentation with it.”
The other key thing. Don’t Just Do One Form Of Communication.
I see so many times in large organizations and small organizations that we actually send an email blast. “Here’s some really important stuff”, and we never followed up with the conversation. Because here’s the thing. We’re actually filtering information constantly because of the amount of information, billions of pieces of information coming to us every second. We can’t actually process that.
Our brain very quickly goes, “Important, not important”, and filters. So we must be really mindful that sending an email with no other follow up actually for our team lowers it on the list? Our team actually go, “Okay, well that’s just an FYI. It’s not something I desperately need to know”. Send it via email for sure, but make sure there’s some other form of communication as well. Make sure we’re having discussions, make sure we’re having a meeting, but we need to actually plan how that happens. So it’s not, “Oh, I’m visiting my team or I’ve got a moment to talk to my team, so then I’ll talk about it.” We need to plan how are we going to deliver this, and the more we do it like anything, the easier this gets.
We also need to be Outcome Focused.
What do you want your team to achieve when you’ve actually delivered this? What’s the goal of you delivering this information to your team? If I don’t know what my goal is, I need to then go back to why am I communicating it. Because if I’m not clear on that, that also limits the amount that my people can actually successfully understand from me. I have to be really, really clear.
Another golden rule that I utilize and I show all my clients is One Sentence.
Can you tell me in one sentence what this is all about? Especially for retailers, we need to be able to be really clear and concise about the why this is even important. So if you’re going to communicate something to your team, even a complex process, we should be able to work out in one sentence, able to explain in one sentence why we’re communicating this. So if it’s a change to our ordering, our one sentence might be that we’re updating our ordering system and this is important information.
So many times, especially analysts, (I don’t mean actual job title analysts, but people who communicate like an analyst, in high detail) when they try to explain something, when they have so many sentences, using so many words, the message again can be lost. So when we’re communicating something, make sure that even when you’re at the planning stage of how you’re going to communicate, you have that one sentence. Have it somewhere, put it on a Post-it note, have it somewhere to actually draw you back to the purpose. Because sometimes, especially in retail, we can get too bogged down in the details and forget the reason why we exist. So if we want to communicate successfully, we need to be able to pull it back to that key one sentence of why we’re communicating it.
Now once we get to that point, then we need to start thinking about How Do We Actually Plan The Execution Of Our Communication.
If I know I want to send an email, I want to have maybe a team meeting, I want to maybe do a Skype call or a phone conference, I need to plan how I’m going to not only do those but when. Time is very important. So if we haven’t worked out when we will be doing all of these things because with the pace of life we can actually forget to do them or we’ve sent the email out because we normally, a lot of times in business, we draft the email, we make sure that’s perfect, we send it out and it’s two or three weeks before we actually then get to our team and have the conversation. So we need to plan the timeliness of when we’re actually having the conversations as well. We need to be doing that follow up quite quickly after we’ve sent that communication out.
Now the other part is thinking about What Else Do Your Team Need.
The more you know your people, the better, the more successful you can actually communicate to them. What else were your team need? So you may know that someone in your team will need something they can print and something they can hold to understand the communication better, so give them that. You may know that there’s someone in your team that will actually need a five minute conversation with you just to clarify. You may know that your team will have questions to clarify. Build that into your communication. Ultimately, when you’re communicating a message, if you want this to be understood and actioned as a priority with your people, you must tailor it to them. But that does not mean that these takes you hours to do.
The better you know your team, the more you can actually quickly and successfully and seamlessly build in small things that will actually be tailored to them, along with the message that you want to communicate to them.
Remember the first step in successfully communicating to a team is knowing your people. The more you know how they want to be communicated to, the better you can communicate to them.
Here’s a quick recap. Plan your communication. Know your outcome. What do you want your people to achieve? Have the one sentence. Plan how are you going to execute and know your people.
If you would like support to improve the effectiveness your team check out our 2Hr or Full Day Communication Workshops where we help you and your team understand AND be able to communicate to each other quickly and effectively! Book your session here
Flying Colours Leadership, helping you successfully communicate with your team.