In our fast-paced modern work culture, adaptability is paramount. It has proven to be one of the most important pillars that supports a business and leads it towards growth.
Developing effective communication procedures is equally important for a company, being a key factor that directly influences a company’s adaptability.
Successful employee and inter-departmental communication is what transforms a business into a well-oiled machine and makes it run as smoothly as possible.
There are situations when tasks need to be delegated between smaller teams for projects. In these cases, effective group communication is essential in order to keep track of the project’s status and meet deadlines.
It’s imperative to communicate effectively nowadays.
For example, did you know that according to the latest workplace communication statistics, 97% of employees say communication impacts their task efficiency on a daily basis?
This has probably left managers wondering what can be done to facilitate group communication and collaboration to improve overall productivity.
Fortunately, this complete guide on group communication is packed with helpful tips.
1. What is group communication?
Group communication is the act of exchanging information between three or more people.
Be it within small or large teams, in a business environment, group communication is the ultimate driver for innovative ideas that can turn into fantastic opportunities.
Group communication is the core of every company as it has the power to solve issues and conflicts. Moreover, it is the crux of brainstorming sessions, meetings, and any other type of business initiative undertaken for a company’s welfare.
2. Why is group communication important within the workplace?
As with any situation that implies an assembly, but especially within the workplace, group communication has many advantages.
If we were to narrow down the top three most significant benefits of group communication, the shortlist would be:
- transparency regarding goals and expectations;
- improved conflict management;
- feedback facilitation.
To communicate effectively, group members should be honest and open to different perspectives. Equally, diplomacy is always necessary.
Teammates that frequently and effectively communicate are more likely to develop trust, ultimately sparking closer relationships between group members.
Relationships based on trust lead to more fruitful outcomes – like fewer conflicts, for example, and long-term stability.
3. Barriers to effective group communication
Depending on the group’s size, potential cultural differences, or the setting in which it takes place, different barriers can block constructive group communication.
When working towards improving group communication in the workplace, consider the most common communication challenges and think of actionable ways to overcome them.
- Poor internet connection: this communication barrier is particularly pertinent to remote work. A poor internet connection causes call interruptions and delayed messages. It is probably the most frequent communication challenge of today’s workplace and unfortunately the most unpredictable to control.
- Perceptual barriers: each group member’s unique perspective and understanding of the world impacts how messages are perceived and acted upon. An introvert, for example, might dread client communication tasks more than an extrovert.
- Emotional barriers: group member’s emotional states also significantly influence group communication. Various emotions can affect how team members formulate their arguments and how they interpret their colleague’s messages. Feelings of anger, distrust, and so on can alter the group communication dynamic.
- Interpersonal barriers: group communication is also affected by people’s personal perceptions of themselves. Let’s go back to a previous example; it goes without saying that an extrovert is likely to communicate quite differently to an introvert.
- Cultural barriers: among the most common cultural barriers leading to miscommunication are assumptions and stereotypes. As the number of multicultural teams increases, we need to improve cross-cultural communication. If overlooked, these cultural barriers can even raise internal communication crises within businesses.
- Language barriers: the reason language barriers is a different category than cultural barriers is that it not only refers to translation misunderstandings. Language barriers can occur when all group members speak the same language. Technical terminology or industry-specific jargon, for example, can also cause confusion and misunderstandings.
4. Types of group communication
Nowadays almost all workplace communication is technology-mediated, with most employees working remotely worldwide because of the COVID19 pandemic.
However, depending on the topics discussed in a meeting, different settings may be more effective for productive group communication.
- Virtual group communication
Since the COVID19 pandemic, the modern work environment is all about virtual communication. Depending on the team’s needs, they can use messages, audio, or video calls for effective team communication in real-time.
In an attempt to facilitate group communication during the pandemic, companies put a series of technological resources at their employees’ disposal.
For many companies, finding the right communication tool to encourage effective group communication, especially for larger teams, raised challenges. That’s because the pandemic demanded tremendous adaptability.
- Non-virtual group communication
Remote work is awesome – we all know that. However, there are still situations when face-to-face interactions are preferable and necessary in order to get the most out of group communication.
Integrating a new hire into a team can be a good example of such a case.
A new employee’s acclimation may be easier if the whole group gathers and works within the same physical workplace initially. That could be due to the immediate assistance available thanks to having colleagues in close proximity.
Similarly, team cohesion is built on experiences shared together.
Besides more formal group gatherings, such as business meetings, slightly less formal ones are more likely to create stronger bonds between group members.
Lunches shared together, or regular team buildings are very important activities that can facilitate positive group communication within the workplace.
- Verbal and non-verbal group communication
To communicate effectively, team members should be considerate of both verbal and non-verbal cues.
In all environments, leading by example and showing mutual respect to every member’s gender, religion, nationality, and so on, is the foundation of effective communication.
As for non-verbal communication cues, these can reveal a lot about a group’s overall communication and dynamics.
Body language, for example, heavily influences how communication is received and perceived by a group. Therefore, keep this in mind when engaging with your team. Try to use open body language which will encourage receptiveness and a positive atmosphere.
5. Channels for group communication
To be transparent from the beginning: there is not one single or specific channel for effective group communication. Each group communication platform should be chosen based on the company and team’s needs.
Some of the most popular group communication channels these days are (besides in-person communication) conference calls and team chats.
Conference calls are a great group communication channel since they allow team members to exchange ideas and express concerns in real time and (virtually) face to face. It is a time-effective channel for group communication as all pressing topics can be discussed and solved immediately.
Team chats, however, may prove more effective for discussing information that group members may need to revisit frequently.
In addition, a great advantage of messages is that they are not that time-sensitive.
Therefore, team messages can be used to share less important updates, allowing employees to focus on more pressing tasks when necessary.
Tip: when choosing a communication tool for your team, ensure it enables as many features as possible!
6. Examples of effective group communication
Some group communication examples – that are likely to increase team collaboration in the long run would be
- team buildings,
- training sessions, or seminars, and different workshops.
Team buildings are usually more focused on enhancing interpersonal relationships through fun and non-work related exercises.
Recreational activities like board games or other problem-solving quests can allow group members to get to know each other better.
Being together in a relaxed atmosphere, where they can talk about their passions and more personal matters, may encourage team members to open up more. Ultimately, this can contribute to forging deeper bonds between them, facilitating effective group communication in the workplace.
Furthermore, training sessions make excellent occasions for boosting group communication.
Different workshops are not only knowledge-sharing opportunities but also some of the best platforms for employees to highlight issues they’re facing.
Learning and a relaxed environment are excellent catalysts for effective group communication.
7. Tips to enhance group communication
Luckily, group communication within the workplace can be improved through a series of easy-to-implement and economical ways.
To help employees develop stronger group communication skills, managers must focus on implementing a couple of incentives needed for effective group communication:
- cultivating transparent communication;
- lead by example;
- using the right communication channels;
- asses communication styles of team members;
- establish individual roles.
Encourage open discussions
A company aiming to foster efficient group communication should regularly gather its teams. Openly discussing important aspects relating to their work and position within the organization is key.
This is especially important before taking on new projects or making important business decisions.
Group members feel more empowered to express their ideas and opinions with other participants when communication is encouraged.
Open discussions within the workplace and two-way communication heavily contribute to increased workforce engagement and retention.
Employees’ opinions should always matter as, in the end, employees are the most important resource any company has. A business that neglects this aspect is likely to face long term instability.
Foster teamwork and collaboration
Teamwork is a crucial factor determining whether a team’s goals are fulfilled. The member’s ability to collaborate effectively to accomplish an objective is vital while working in a group environment.
Extremely cohesive teams are more likely to interact productively and find prompt, effective solutions to problems, feeling more inclined to help one another with various tasks.
Therefore, building a culture of cooperation is essential if you want each member to be driven to contribute to the team’s success!
Provide effective communication training
Training sessions regarding different aspects of communication can have a huge impact on group communication.
From better emotion management to improving cross-cultural communication skills, the sky’s the limit for these seminars’ themes and results.
Well-planned team buildings, group communication activities, and workshops are usually some of the most successful ways of deepening team cohesion.
If you need some inspiration, here’s an idea for a group communication workshop.
Gather your team together and formulate a couple of questions that team members have to answer using Dixit cards.
For example, you could present the question “what’s the biggest challenge within the team at the moment”. Each member picks a card which represents their answer, and has to explain their choice. The group takes turns explaining what the card symbolizes in relation to the question asked.
Effective group communication is the foundation of employee productivity and engagement within the workplace.
To foster successful group communication between workers, a company has to provide the right tools and encourage it through hands-on initiatives.
Focusing on a powerful organizational communication structure will likely pave the way for exceptional company development.