Guide To Improving Team Communication in the Workplace

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 11, 2022 | Published December 12, 2019

Updated August 11, 2022

Published December 12, 2019

Effective team communication is important for building and maintaining relationships at work. When you communicate clearly, openly and regularly with your coworkers, you can ensure that everyone knows what your current team goals are and how to achieve them.

In this article, we review what team communication is and offer tips for improving team communication in the workplace.

What is team communication?

Team communication is the verbal and written interaction you have with coworkers. It can include meetings, one-on-one conversations or correspondence such as email. Effective team communication is a crucial practice in the workplace. It can help encourage all team members to contribute to projects and share their ideas, which may lead to higher levels of collaboration and productivity in the workplace.

Effective methods of team communication

Team communication can come in many different forms, and certain types of communication may work better for different situations. For example, an email might be more effective than a meeting if you simply want to notify your team that a deadline has changed. Some of the most common forms of team communication include:

Open meetings

An open meeting allows everyone on the team to share their ideas and give their opinions on a particular project or process. This is typically the most direct way to communicate with your team members.

Emails

Communication via email is fast and often preferable when you want to share small updates that don’t require a meeting to discuss. It also provides you with a permanent record for future reference.

One-on-one meetings

Some meetings are more effective when conducted as a direct conversation. For example, if a leader has to give constructive criticism, they may opt for a one-on-one meeting to allow for a more private environment.

Conversations at work

Simply holding regular conversations in the workplace can help you strengthen your relationships with coworkers and encourage productive communication. By creating a receptive environment, you can let your team know they can come to you to ask for help or share any concerns.

Training sessions

Training sessions can help ensure everyone on the team understands their job duties and goals and offers a place for employees to ask questions. Regular training can improve your entire team’s productivity level.

Related: 10 Communication Skills for Career Success

Communication Types

Image description

Types of Communication

  1. Verbal

  • Use a strong, confident speaking voice.

  • Use active listening.

  • Avoid filler words.

  • Avoid industry jargon when appropriate.

  1. Nonverbal

  • Notice how your emotions feel physically.

  • Be intentional about your nonverbal communications.

  • Mimic nonverbal communications you find effective.

  1. Visual

  • Ask others before including visuals.

  • Consider your audience.

  • Only use visuals if they add value.

  • Make them clear and easy to understand.

  1. Written

  • Strive for simplicity.

  • Don’t rely on tone.

  • Take time to review your written communications.

  • Keep a file of writing you find effective or enjoyable.

Tips for improving communication with team members

With regular communication, you can encourage your coworkers to work more closely together and foster stronger teamwork skills. Here are some ways to build effective communication among your team:

  • Encourage an open environment

  • Use two-way feedback

  • Clarify roles and responsibilities

  • Facilitate team-building exercises

  • Use nonverbal gestures, posture and facial expressions

  • Use an appropriate tone

Encourage an open environment

An open and welcoming environment invites team members to come to the leader and encourages honesty and transparency. Some advantages include accessibility, open flow of communication, rapid access to information and a culture of close working relationships.

Related: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples

Use two-way feedback

If you have advice or instructions for someone on your team, you may have more success if you go to that person and discuss the matter directly. The ability to give constructive, detailed feedback on current projects is crucial when it comes to improving team communication. For example, encourage a team member who has accomplished a goal. If you provide verbal feedback, consider following it with written feedback, as this gives a record of what needs to be done and encourages your coworker to respond.

Also, encourage others to provide feedback on your work and actions. This should let you know whether you are communicating clearly with your team members and identify where you can improve your communication.

Clarify roles and responsibilities

It will be easier for both you and your team members to complete tasks when everyone understands what their role involves. Clarifying roles and responsibilities helps the team function efficiently and it can make it easier for your team members to ask for guidance if they are unsure of what to do.

Facilitate team-building exercises

Do fun things to build team spirit. This can include traditional activities—such as role-playing or completing an obstacle course—or it might consist of informal ones such as playing word or board games. Team-building exercises not only build morale but also encourage clear communication, create an environment in which everyone feels invested in the outcome, build a strong sense of accountability and encourage the team to work harder to accomplish their goals.

Related: Six Ideas for Team-Building Activities

Use nonverbal communication

Nonverbal communication can be just as important as what you say to your team. If you can, make sure your posture, gestures and expressions match your message, especially if you are trying to encourage or guide others on your team. For example, sit up straight, make eye contact, nod your head and smile.

You can also use your hands to reinforce your message. Hand gestures show you understand what you are talking about and project confidence. Keep your gestures crisp and easy to understand. A small physical gesture can provide a large amount of support for your statements.

Related: Nonverbal Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

Use an appropriate tone

How you say something can have an impact on how strongly your team members embrace your message. Use a confident and friendly tone of voice when talking to your team to help them feel like a valued coworker.

Being articulate when communicating with your team members can also help you ensure that they fully understand what you are telling them. Use clear and easy-to-understand language and make sure the message you are sending is the message they are receiving.

You can also use this practice to your advantage when giving presentations. Good presentations show that you believe in what you are saying, which can help encourage your team members to follow your ideas.

Explore more articles