Friday COACHWORX Business Tip: Tips for Better Communication

If the average person sat down and made a list of all the things they need to do at work and at home, and all the conversations they need to have to get those things done, they would probably explode. But as a business owner or manager, you are expected to juggle ten times as many things as the average person, which usually means delegating certain responsibilities to others – which also usually mean communicating and ranking those responsibilities in a clear way that you know was both received and understood.

The fact is, people can only hold so many things inside their heads at any one time and are constantly barraged with emails, texts, messages, phone calls, verbal commands, notes, and other prompts. Even if they could do all of the things they’ve been asked to do, there’s no way to keep track of all of them unless you have an above average memory.

The secret to effective communication is to streamline it. Pick one method for communication, as well as maintaining a calendar and to-do list, and make sure everyone on your team is using the same method. You might ask someone to do something another way, but unless it’s written down on a shared platform and you know the person has seen it, then the reality is that it may not get done. Also, your employees need a way to let you know when tasks are complete – because chances are you’ll forget that you even assigned the work until the moment arrives when you need it.

Here are some of the conditions for effective communication:

  1. It must be universal (everybody on your team can use it) and mobile
  2. It must include two elements – effective two-way and group communication through text and/or voice, and the ability to maintain a to-do list
  3. It should have the ability to create separate teams (e.g. Everyone, Install Team, Sales Team) to make sure that people aren’t getting flooded with information that has no relevance to them
  4. It should work with other apps to communicate with others outside your business – such as the ability to click phone numbers to make calls or click on email addresses to send outside messages

There is no shortage of communication or task management tools, but there are very few tools that do both things well. For example, Slack is an amazing communications tool but it doesn’t include a task manager – although you can definitely add one by investing in a third-party app. Trello is a great task manager but doesn’t have a communications tool. Google’s free “G Suite” of applications can also work together, but managing a team means jumping between Gmail to Hangouts to Calendar to Drive. I also really like Microsoft Teams for managing information and you can plug in almost any task manager or communications tool you want, but again it’s a solution that combines services rather than integrating everything you need into one single product.

There are paid project management and communication tools like Basecamp ($99/month) but that’s a lot to pay when you can do most of those things for free.

The best free tool that does both things relatively well is probably Asana, which is free for up to 15 users and $9.99/month per team member for the pro version. There are both team conversations as well as the ability to have conversations within specific projects.

This video does a pretty good job summarizing some of the features and benefits of this platform:

 

The one thing is Asana is missing is a built-in voice or conference calling mechanism to communicate with team members, although you can open any team contact and get their information or get a plug-in to handle that. The mobile app will make sure team members will get notifications about new messages and upcoming deadlines.

Keep in mind that Asana isn’t a customer relations management solution or a scheduling solution for customers – it’s purely an internal system for communications and project management.

There are a few alternatives out there you may also want to consider, but Asana is one of the few that can do it all. The fact that you can try it and use it for free – and can even try the pro version for 30 days, makes it a good starting point.

Teams that communicate and plan well are more successful in the long run. Communicating over 10 different mediums at the same time is just not good communication.

 

 

 

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