In the world of marketing, effective communication can be… challenging.
With the number of projects, assignments, and moving parts that most marketing teams have, it’s easy for communication to go by the wayside. Deadlines creep up, stress levels rise, and the only thing any one team member thinks they can do is work their way out of the hole.
You may also be facing a case of messages getting lost in digital mediums and people not being on the same page. Team communication, now more than ever, is constant and hard. It can be easy to want to just give up and go about your responsibilities alone.
But communication is an extremely important skill for marketing teams to develop and constantly improve on; trust me, it will make everyone’s lives easier.
Here are 7 tips for better communication that will make your work life a lot easier.
1. Embrace Communication and Task Management Tools
As the workplace becomes increasingly digital, paper memos and emails aren’t going to cut it anymore. You need business tools that will enable communication between team members to help supplement those other, more conventional methods.
Task managers like Trello and comprehensive, collaborative tools like G Suite and Office 365 can make it a LOT easier for team members to not only know what others are working on, but help them out as well.
2. Make The Most of Your Meetings
In the fast-paced marketing world so often dictated by tight deadlines, finding a time that your team can meet together and discuss strategy is really important. If everyone on the team can sit down and focus all of their time and energy to getting their duties clarified and their goals aligned, it will make all of your communication about work in the future that much better.
Trying to get everyone on the same page on an individual basis is nearly impossible. If you can find a regular meeting time, and then make sure you stay on schedule, your marketing team will be working better than ever before.
Bonus Tip: have a meeting agenda for every team meeting, and stick to it to help stay on track.
3. Be Brief and Direct
Simply put, say what you need to say. As all good marketers should know, padding your message with too many words weakens what you have to say. To promote better communication, the best thing you can do is make all of your words worthwhile. Whether it’s offering constructive criticism or talking about your ideas for an upcoming project, the best thing you can do is make sure everybody knows exactly what you mean.
Bonus Tip: There’s a difference between direct and rude. Don’t be rude in your pursuit of streamlining communication. People will immediately tune you out if you have a reputation for being disagreeable or passive aggressive. Getting your message across is important, but not at the expense of your relationships with your co-workers.
4. Listening is More Important Than Talking
Don’t you hate it when you’re talking to your team members and they seem like their thoughts are ten miles away? Hate to break it to you, but odds are there are times when you do the same thing to them.
Talking is a lot easier than listening, but listening is way more important for maintaining productive relationships. Not only does it show that you respect the other members of your marketing team, but active listening is the only way you’ll ever come to meaningful compromises and conclusions in a team setting. It’s an essential skill for better communication, especially when your marketing team is full of creative people who want to have their ideas heard.
5. Good Writing Skills are Critical
Now that more and more professional communication is moving online and happening through text in places like Slack, there is little room for error. Your ability to effectively communicate begins and ends with good writing.
This doesn’t mean you have to try to be the next Shakespeare or read an entire book about grammar (as fun as that sounds), but the last thing any of your co-workers want to do is try to make sense of a long, rambling, run-on sentence. Putting more time into correct spelling and proper punctuation when talking to your co-workers may seem a bit pedantic, but it’s the difference between communicating efficiently and not communicating at all. If you ever need an example, just remember this— “Let’s eat Grandma!” and “Let’s eat, Grandma!” mean two VERY different things.
6. Get to Know Each Other
When you’re a part of team, working with a bunch of strangers is the last thing you want to do. You need to have a certain level of comfort within your team, because the way you talk to your friends is WAY different (and more comprehensive) than the way you’d talk to someone you hardly know. Plus, can you imagine a world where you can’t hold friendly conversations with your co-workers?
Have happy hours. Go to lunch together. Learn a little bit about each others’ personal lives. It doesn’t mean you have to be best friends, but if you neglect to build any level of a personal relationship with your co-workers, your team is never going to communicate at the level they need to.
7. Have a Common Goal (And Make Sure Everyone Knows It)
Part of being a team means that everyone on the team plays a role. No one should be doing the exact same thing—that’s a waste of resources. But it is important for everyone to know where their individual role fits in to the bigger picture.
If the team has something that everyone is working toward, a clearly identifiable common goal, your marketing team will have much better communication when it comes to talking about their own individual projects. It keeps everyone on the same page and helps them know how they can support each other better.