Effective team communication series: How to maintain flow and still get answers to your questions

Communication is very important, and one of the 7 core elements to successful, friction-free collaboration

We nowadays have many ways to contact and communicate with people at work, from immediately walking put to their desk, or calling them, to video, audio conferencing, to text and chat messages and the list keeps on growing. With all that however comes the responsibility to use the right method at the right time. When we talk to new client onboarding on Thanexa about what they used to do in the past, they'll usually mention how their people were used to sending chat messages to one another all day long about many different things one after the other in a long list. This has the effect of interrupting people and pushing them out of their flow state (if they managed to ever get into it in the first place). As an aside, most knowledge workers never get to a flow state more than a couple of times per week at most.
So what is the solution? A combination of two things:

  1. good, well-thought-out etiquette for communication; and
  2. the right tools at hand that make this easy and as effortless as possible. 

Here is how we do it at Thanexa

We obviously use Thanexa, which gives us access to chat messages (we call them comments), live presence (to know if a person is there and working or away on not logged in at all, without needing to interrupt them), audio and video conferencing you can initiate with 1 click and much more.
We also have per project notes and action items and so on, so the work is always grouped by theme or topic without doing any more on our part. As a result, we are able to maintain a list for one another, of things we want to bring up, talk about, ask and so on. We do this by putting things into a note, or by putting them straight into the project stream in a comment we usually tag as #agenda, so for example the one I’m looking at right now is called #agenda_Nick and it is a bullet list of things I would like to talk to Nick about when we “see” each other next.

Even though he and I are in the same time zone and city, we are not in the same office (and that was true even before the pandemic restrictions came into effect). So for non-urgent things, I can just jot them down there and they are ready to discuss. I happen to know he also has a similar list about me. I know because his list, like mine, is inaccessible to me, so I can see what he wants to talk to me about, and when I have time, I can proactively take a look at it, and maybe reply to some of those items for him, right there and then.

On the other hand, for more pressing things, we can @mention one another and ask a quick question, or for even more immediate answers we can just jump in the virtual conference room with the 1 click call button from inside the relevant project.
If I have things I’d like to discuss with the project team for a particular project I’m working on, I can similarly keep an agenda item in the project itself that again everyone can see and act on. Or I can set up a couple of actions for individuals, or tag a number of items from the previous discussions in the project with a tag. We have one called #chat_about and that way next time we have a project meeting we can quickly filter for those and have a quick, effective and meaningful conversation and move the ball forward.

It is quite easy really to both keep on top of things and communicates effectively when you pair the right tool with the right process, we hope this gives you a good sense of how we are doing it and would love to hear what you do. If you’d like to try out Thanexa for yourself for free you can click below to request a VIP invite.

Communicate Effectively With The Right Tool

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