We live in the age of communication on a massive scale. Yet, sometimes we forget there are at least two parties in communication. In order to communicate well, it’s important that the ‘others’ understand us, that we speak their language. It seems obvious but how well do we really communicate within our own IT departments?
How can ICT managers and CIOs better communicate with their staff and how can they help their staff to communicate better? Bob Kantor recently provided some interesting tips on CIO.com in a blog. Why does it even matter? I guess it’s difficult to overestimate the efficiency and productivity improvements when we communicate – and collaborate – well. Collaboration is a capability and so is communication.
Many IT departments run into challenges due to their lack of communication skills. Even so, the ability to maintain effective communication is possible. Keeping this in mind, all IT department managers will greatly benefit from not only improving their own communication methods, but their employees’ as well. It is important to remember that becoming a great communicator does not happen overnight, especially for those who have no communication abilities; however, by following some of Bob’s tips, IT managers can greatly improve their departments’ communication abilities in no time at all.
Identifying the audience
Anytime IT departments take part in a presentation, it is beneficial to identify the audience. Is the presentation going to be given to a manager, another project team, or a client? The details outlined in the presentation will greatly differ if they are being given to a department head rather than to a client. By clearly identifying the audience, IT departments can quickly choose what type of information needs to be communicated as well as what pieces of content do not need to be spoken about.
Properly organise information and content
One of the main reasons IT departments often endure communication difficulties is that the messages the workers send and receive to and from one another are not well-organised. This does not necessarily mean that emails, for instance, are full of bad content and writing. Instead, it simply means they aren’t organised in a manner in which they are easy to comprehend. Workers are not able to effectively process the information in the emails or other carriers in the way it was meant to be interpreted. Anytime a person is writing an email, it is wise to make an outline followed by filling in the outline. In doing so, emails become much better organised and are easier to interpret. The same goes for other ways of communicating and collaborating. Email is of course not the only communication vehicle. On the contrary, we are moving towards a less email-intensive communication, even if the zero email company is not here yet.
Social collaboration tools can enhance productivity in a significant way as you can discover here. However, here too the context and organisation of the messages are key.
Provide links to background information
The more background information IT teams have, the more likely they will be to correctly understand what is being communicated to them. While providing background info may not always seem appropriate in every occasion, there should always be a way in which IT teams can obtain it. Anytime information is being relayed, whether on the Internet, through a word document, PowerPoint presentation, or however, it is important to provide links or contact numbers that can be used to obtain more background information that relates to the project or content being discussed. IT departments can use these links and contact numbers to gain a better understanding of the content being delivered to them. Not only can they gain a better understanding, but they can also use the links and numbers for references on future projects.
You can read all Bob’s tips here. How well does your IT staff communicate? And how do you use technology to improve collaboration, in which communication plays a crucial role? Let us know in the BT Let’s Talk LinkedIn Group or in the comment section.
Read all about collaboration technologies here.