Over the last few weeks the world has had to change its communication strategy to get better results. We previously shared the communication tools we are using at TWIO, now it is time to apply a process for using these tools to benefit you, your team and your clients. Now more than ever it is important to know when to listen, when to talk, to know how to learn from others and value their input, and to share a common vision with honesty and excitement.
Two Key Approaches for Every Meeting:
- GOAL - Establish a goal for your meetings. Ask yourself, ‘What am I trying to find out, convey or confirm? What details are missing and what is unclear?’
- PREPARATION - Create an agenda in advance, create meaningful schedules and regular status reports. Align your team members and clients so there is a clear understanding of what the meeting is for. Be sure to communicate the project status and outlook.
With the two items above established we can now break out the different communication types, incorporate our favorite digital tools to execute that communication, and determine when it is best to use that type of communication.
- Text Messages/Emails:
TOOL: Phones, Google Hangouts, MailChimp and Constant Contact
BEST USED: Both text messages and emails are powerful and fast. These messages are best sent when they are not not overly-emotional. They can be viewed as “interrupting” so be mindful of your tone and know the audience you are trying to reach.
- Shared Dashboards, Files, or Written Reports
TOOL: Google Drive, DropBox
BEST USED: When items are informational by nature, The fact that they are “shared” allows for collaboration but the content within these items is typically one way and can act as a track record for a project.
- Phone Calls + Teleconferences
TOOL: Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts
BEST USED: For any communication that may carry emotion. It is important to have clues of facial expressions and body language amongst your team members and clients. In our current situation, face to face is most likely not possible so video teleconferences are the next best thing. Viewing someone allows you to build empathy and engage in open communication. Take a few minutes to check in with the client, allow them to share what is important to them and adapt your agenda if needed.
- Meetings + Presentations
TOOL: LucidChart, PowerPoint
BEST USED: When presenting to groups or teams and stakeholders. You are able to present a large amount of information, all at once, in an organized order. Be mindful of what the listeners want or need to learn. Check in with the individuals included in the meeting beforehand so you can address any concerns or topics during the meeting or presentation.
- Timing of your Communication
TOOL: Google Calendar, Asana
BEST USED: Always. Timing is just as important as the type of communication you are using. Be mindful of people's work loads and calendars. It is typically more beneficial to compile small items and review in one meeting compared to constant one offs. You should always be available to your team and client(s), however, block off designated, uninterrupted time to allow for productivity.