The Who, What, Where, Why, When, and How’s of Communication
When we talk about improving communication between teams, we have to go back to the basics. It might seem almost too simple, but defining the "who, what, where, why, when, and how’s" of communication within your organization is key to building the right culture.
Here is how we help define these for organizations:
Everyone receives a potentially overwhelming amount of information every day. If you are going to make sure your leadership and teams are on the same page, you have to know your audience. Whether you are sending an email, text message, making a phone call, hosting a meeting, or video conferencing, knowing who you are talking to will help you determine what information is most relevant to them.
"When you think about the audience, you're thinking about am I communicating company-wide? Am I communicating with my leadership? Am I communicating with my team? Am I communicating externally?"-Tracy Eames, Podcast: How to Foster Culture and Accelerate Growth with Communication.
You and your leaders must understand the audience whenever they are communicating.
What is the content you are communicating? Delivering the right message to the right audience will strengthen your organization's communication. If you are sharing a successful project update, for example, here is how the who and what may go together:
- Do not necessarily send the same email to the entire company.
- Send a specific message to each team.
- Remind leaders and teams of the project's goals.
- Specifically, mention how each team contributed to the project. How did marketing contribute to the project's success? How did management lead their teams to accomplish goals?
- Emphasize how necessary each person is in order to achieve each goal.
Knowing how to package the content of your message specifically for each audience and making sure the relevant information is delivered is invaluable to improving communication in your organization.
Do your teams understand "the why" of your organization? Are they working together to achieve common goals? Reminding leaders and teams of the shared purposes for all their hard work is vital to accelerating growth.
"And so, when we think about accelerating growth, if we can help our team or our leadership, understand why we might be thinking something or why we might be advocating for a certain position or why we might be making a particular goal, it's going to help engage them in the process."-Tracy Eames, Podcast: How to Foster Culture and Accelerate Growth with Communication.
If you want your teams engaged in the process of improving collaboration and innovation to accelerate growth, you need them to know "the why" as well as you do.
Where are we investing our time and resources? Another way to ask this question is, "Should this be a meeting or an email?" Some communication could be handled in an email, while others might be best handled with an in-person touch-base. It is important to work with your leaders and teams to determine where information will be available.
Timing is everything. With so many people working remotely, finding the right times for team meetings and updates are more difficult than ever. It is a good idea to gauge your people for what days and times work best for collaboration and creativity. Furthermore, it is vital to determine when it’s best to share certain types of updates. Are you communicating a win, can it be communicated immediately? Do you want to share with your leaders first, to help organize a celebration or recognition, and then your teams? When is it best to evaluate performance and encourage improvements? Determining when and where to deliver information will help build your culture and accelerate growth.
How will people hear or read the information you are conveying? Giving your people options on how to receive communication improves accessibility and shows them that their input and feedback is valuable. You might just ask team members how they want to receive updates. Some might prefer email, while others may enjoy an audio or video message. Providing multiple means by which people can access relevant information gives your teams the best opportunity to be on the same page.
This article, of course, just scratches the surface about communication and building culture to accelerate growth. If you would like more information about how TEAMES & CO helps companies grow, we would love to answer your questions. Contact us for more information about our consulting and team-building services and resources.
Want to learn more? Read our article, Your Team Must Know You’re Invested in Them for even more helpful information.