Posted: Jul 07 2016

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"Communication is the key"...

How many times have you heard that phrase used? In business, relationships, marketing - just about every aspect of our lives depends on communication, and this life slogan applies to all of them.

Cheesy though it may seem, communication really is the key. This is especially the case in the workplace when personal and external pressures, unplanned hiccups and a whole host of other things can lead to a sometimes-tense environment and unnecessarily short tempers.

Whether your office suffers from one or two personal grudges, or team-wide conflict, you need to nip it in the bud. This is something businesses spend a lot of time working on during our corporate team building events, and we have seen first-hand the difference calm communication can make to teams in even the most high-pressure roles and industries.

Check out just a couple of our tips for keeping calm and communicating at work.

Internal Communication

If you don't understand where you're coming from, with a clear objective and clear direction, how on earth do you expect your peers to understand?

Make sure you know yourself at work; your strengths, your weaknesses, your professional narrative (where did you start, where are you now, where are you going and how?). Also, make a conscious effort to keep your conversations and requests brief, concise and clear.

Everyone at work knows time is precious, and as long as you appreciate that (i.e. avoid being as clear as mud and taking too much of their time, only to confuse them further), you shouldn't have any issues communicating and collaborating with your team.

Bonus: you won't get yourself all muddled up either!

In-Team Communication

Your team are those you will work closest with. You will often find that you spend more time with your team at work than you do with your friends and family at home. They are who you need to depend on in the workplace, and similarly, they also depend on you.

It isn't just about getting the job done. It is about driving individuals, teams, companies and industries forward. But you can't do that if you are always bickering or crossing wires.

So how do you communicate with your team? Be patient and listen. Once you have taken in what others have said, ensure you understand (maybe a brief verbal recap - or a follow up bullet pointed email if you've had a meeting) and if you don't understand, ask questions.

By admitting that you didn't quite get it the first time and putting pride aside for the sake of progress, you will find your team experiences less in the way of clashes, tempers and hot-headed moments. That can only be good for your work colleagues and the business overall.

Inter-Department Communication

Be realistic before you get frustrated with other teams and individuals following a cross-department request. No matter how big or small the company you're at is, no one will know what every person on every team does.

Explain your role, ask about theirs, try and come to an understanding of how each of you (and your departments) complements each other - and try to pre-empt any potential obstacles. This level of mutual respect and understanding will make work life and inter-departmental communication a breeze.

For bonus points, work towards cementing personal relationships across departments. Keeping each other in the loop on the job is one thing, but organising a team event and inviting other teams will boost the sense of camaraderie office-wide.

One last tip for all office communication. Bury hatchets, by all means, but don't bury the problems that caused them. Unresolved conflict can fester and intensify if left unchecked. It is always better to address an issue and work out a way to deal with it once and for all.

You don't have to make it a sombre affair. Enjoying a fun but constructive day out (or in!) with your team can work wonders to air out and clear up any misunderstandings, bringing the team closer together in the long term.

Work life is so much more enjoyable when you work as part of a team that is respectful of each other and working towards a common goal. If your team needs a nudge in the right direction, please give us a call here at Team Challenge Company.

So remember, rule number one for life, love and the office: Keep Calm and Communicate.

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