Working on a team helps a person do more than they could have done alone – well, when things go right. A team needs to know how to share ideas and communicate relevant information about its work to be better than going at it alone.
Without effective communication and information-sharing, your team will likely run into questions, misunderstandings, and other obstacles that put everyone behind. With effective communication and information-sharing, your team is in line to go better than any one person could. Below are some tips and tricks on how to share information with team members the right way.
How to share information with team members
There are all kinds of information-sharing tools and methods, but another organization’s approach might not suit your team. But how will you know when the way that you’re sharing information is working well? Below are seven steps that power every great strategy for sharing information effectively.
- Define how you communicate
- Be transparent
- Communicate in ways that work for your team
- Make communication a circle, not a line
- Keep all information accessible
- Ask for feedback
- Know when (and when not) to use certain channels
1Define how you communicate
Long gone are the days when team members only communicated by speaking in person. Virtual communication platforms have changed everything, especially as fully remote teams have become more common. Not that face-to-face communication is sitting there all old-fashioned and outdated – in-person teams use digital communication tools too.
The point is: No two methods of sharing information are mutually exclusive. It’s all about using any available techniques and tools to set a constant stream of knowledge-sharing among your team. That starts with defining which types of information get sent through which channels.
As an example, below are a few communication methods and the types of information teams most often use to share them.
- Instant messaging (Slack, Google Chat, etc.). IM platforms are good for quick project updates and easy-to-answer questions.
- Email. You can use email to send your whole team all the same updates at once.
- Company wiki. A newer way for employees to share information, company wikis can be a great place to run down your procedures, protocol, and more.
- Google Docs (and Google Docs alternatives). You and your team can use these tools to collaboratively build on any type of important information in real-time.
- Stand-up meetings. You can hold stand-up meetings daily for status reports on projects and tasks.
- Team meetings. At your team meetings, you can share all sorts of information and knowledge to help everyone overcome all their obstacles together.
- All-hands meetings. These special meetings gather everyone at your organization so you can share as much information of any kind with as many people as possible.
Foster effective communication
Foster effective communication with a meeting agenda that the whole team can collaborate on. Plus, use templates to cater to specific conversations. Try a tool like Fellow today!
Creating an environment where information-sharing happens naturally means that everyone – especially you – should always be transparent. After all, your team members will often follow the examples that you set. If you can’t be clear and upfront, why would they? And without being clear and upfront, it’s that much harder to share information.
Regularly sharing important information instead builds trust and makes team members more likely to communicate clearly in the future. Additionally, transparency can show that your organization cares about your team’s thoughts, opinions, and feelings. And that’s a great way to help employees feel more engaged with their work.
3Communicate in ways that work for your team
A team member’s age can determine their favorite communication. Older team members might prefer phone calls, whereas younger team members might prefer IMs. Depending on how many team members fall into a certain age group, your entire team could lean a certain way. If they do, use that channel for major updates. This simple information-sharing practice helps keep as many eyes on the information as possible.
4Make communication a circle, not a line
Effective communication strategies should touch on every level of your organization. They should make it so that what one person says reaches another, and then reaches another, until it comes back to them like a boomerang. When it returns, it should be full of new information that the new person can use to do their very best. Think of it as a feedback loop. When done right, it can lead to great cross-functional collaboration between different departments.
5Keep all information accessible
Holding meetings and sharing information in your team’s most-used communication channels helps get everyone on the same page. At the same time, there’s always a chance someone will miss the memo. And if they do, they might spend the limited hours of their workday trying to catch up. That’s not great for their productivity. You can prevent it if you make all your information easily accessible.
Making important information easy to find and access for future reference helps keep everyone up-to-date even if they miss a meeting here or there. A great example of effective knowledge management like this would be taking meeting notes and saving them on your online file storage platform. Another example might be to send a recap email to team members who miss meetings.
6Ask for feedback
Even if you go through all your information-sharing methods with a fine-toothed comb, little things can still go unnoticed. Whether it’s gaps in the knowledge your team can access or hidden inefficiencies in the information-sharing process, your approach likely isn’t perfect. But finding these problems before putting your approach together can be challenging – so you should do it after instead. That means asking your team for feedback on how your information-sharing methods are working for them.
Your team members are the people who need information the most. As a result, they’ll have lots to say about how to share information with them the right way. Hearing from them can be easy too: During meetings, you can set aside time in your meeting agenda for all team members to give you tips. Outside meetings, you can use a feedback tool to ask for thoughts and concerns and get them anonymously.
Try this free feedback meeting agenda template during your next meeting to gather specific, concrete, and functional feedback:
7Know when (and when not) to use certain channels
To best share information through all the channels you have available, you should think about when you should and shouldn’t use them. Below are some examples
- Text. Here, “text” means two things. There’s texting your team to share information, which you probably shouldn’t do outside business hours. Then, there’s written information, which is great for everyone. The question becomes how you share written information. Older team members might want printed hard copies, but younger team members can probably do with a doc they can find online.
- Making a video. Social media has made short, informative videos super popular, and you can go this route within your organization too. Visual information on new products or tools can be a great way to get your team’s undivided attention on what you want to share. In most cases, though, smaller updates don’t fit the format. There’s no reason to put all that effort into creating a video when a quick IM would work just fine.
- Phone call – Phone calls are great for in-depth explanations that would get way too complex in writing. They’re also great if you’re concerned about coming off the wrong way. Communication is more than the words we say – it’s how we say them, and a lot of those subtleties are lost in email. Phone calls add tone of voice back into the mix. They can also work well for team meetings if you use a conference-calling service.
- Images and infographics. Chances are some people on your team learn better through images and some learn better through words. Stock images and infographics can give you both. You can couple eye-catching images with numbers and facts to get your team’s attention and give them a full view of everything they should know. It’ll all be right there on the page. You can even change background of a photo to customize your deliverables, or give them art effects.
Make poor information-sharing methods a thing of the past
An organization that shares information like a well-oiled machine has the best chance of doing great work. In this well-oiled machine, communication and information are the oil, so you should always be sure your employees are happy with both. A great way to get everyone talking and on the same page is through team meetings.
You can use Fellow to productively and effectively share information at meetings. Fellow’s professional meeting software allows you to collaboratively create agendas, take meeting notes in real-time, and ask for team feedback. No matter the communication and information-sharing strategies you use, Fellow can help you hold the conversation.