Speed of team communication is one of the key things in successful team work. Team members need to be able to share information, ask questions of each other, and even sometimes make decisions with great speed. There’s nothing more frustrating than sending out information and asking for a response from your team members, and then hearing nothing back.
So for each team, working out how you will best communicate with each other is a crucial task. Here’s some ways I’ve found that work, or that don’t.
Face-to-face: This is obviously the ideal method, since it builds trust, people can easily read body language and facial expressions, and it allows for a greater speed of communication and decision making. But what if your team rarely all meets face-to-face? If you’re in the same office five days a week this can work, but if you only all get together weekly, monthly, annually or even bi-annually, you’ll need to find another way.
Email: This is the most obvious fall back for many. And email can be a great way of sharing documents and information. But it also has huge drawbacks. If your team members are not regularly checking their emails then this will quickly become frustrating. Often there’s an age dynamic here too. I’ve been on church leadership teams where most people were aged 35-65, and email was a great way to communicate…
Whatsapp: By contrast, with a couple of other church leadership groups we’ve used Whatsapp to communicate, since the team members were aged 20-35 and seemed to prefer this method. They checked emails less often, but were on their phones all the time.
Facebook group: Again, this can be more appealing to a younger team, and it can allow for sharing more links and info than Whatsapp. But it’s invariably slower, since people will check it less often. I’ve never found it to best means for team communication. But I’m sure some teams use it.
It’s not that any one of these is right or wrong in all situations. They all have their strengths and their drawbacks. The key question is, which one is right for your team. Answer that question well, and you’ll save an awful lot of time and frustration as you work forward into the future.
So in your next team meeting, discuss together what will be the best way for sharing information and making decisions outside of meetings. Speed of team communication is essential for any healthy team.
Mark Williamson works as a director of One Rock. He’s an experienced leadership trainer, author of biographies on John Wesley and William Wilberforce, and is also passionate about praying for London. He enjoys good films, good food, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markonerock.