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Communicating with your team

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This page shares tips to help you communicate effectively with your team.

An effective team will have productive meetings and communicate effectively – with each other, with the rest of the organisation, and externally.

To achieve this, you should:

  • plan communication effectively
  • use the right communication channels for your goals and audiences – and use these consistently
  • create systems that allow effective communication within and between teams
  • ensure you understand when you must inform and consult staff.

Planning communications

The first step when planning communications is to have a clear goal. This could be to:

  • exchange information (report, update, inform or find out)
  • solve a problem or find a solution
  • make a decision
  • plan
  • evaluate
  • supervise
  • consult
  • review performance.

Next, you’ll need to define your audience. At each organisational or team milestone, assess whether you need to communicate information to certain individuals, specific teams or groups, or a wider audience.

Then consider how you want to communicate your goal to your audience.

  • Ask yourself whether your chosen channel is the best way to achieve your goal. Could another channel be more effective?
  • Ensure everyone who needs to can access the information. For example, if you decide to send an email, will everyone in your team receive it? Or would a face-to-face meeting work better?
  • If you need to use a range of channels, use them consistently. This will help your team understand where to access different types of information.
  • Share regular updates in a timely way. Try to avoid communicating at the last minute.
  • Create opportunities for employees and volunteers to feed in their views.
  • Review your communication channels regularly. Are your messages getting through? Could different channels work better?

Communication channels

There are a range of ways to communicate with teams – virtually and face to face.

These include:

  • email
  • chat and video conferencing software (eg Microsoft Teams or Google Meet)
  • phone
  • staff/group meetings
  • one-to-one meetings
  • team briefings
  • focus groups
  • consultation groups
  • staff forums
  • intranet
  • internal newsletters
  • presentations
  • letters
  • noticeboards.

When choosing your communication channel, think about your goal and your audience. When your message is important, it’s a good idea to deliver it using more than one channel.

For example, you could share an update in a staff meeting and then follow it up with an email. This would allow your message to reach a wider audience. If you use video conferencing software, you could also post in the relevant 'channel' or 'chat'. Online meetings are now standard practice for many of us, but sometimes it's best to meet face to face. An in-person meeting can work best if you're looking to:

  • build trust
  • develop strong working relationships
  • generate ideas
  • stay focused.

The CIPD website has more information on:

Communicating in meetings

If you decide to hold a meeting (with an individual or a group), be clear about what you want to achieve. A clear agenda, circulated in advance, will help with this.

It's also helpful to decide in advance:

  • who will chair the meeting
  • who will take notes of any important discussions, decisions made and actions.

At the end of a meeting, it can be useful to review how it went. You could do this on your own or set aside 10 minutes to do this with the group.

If you do this alone, you could ask yourself:

  • Did I get my message across effectively?
  • How well did I listen to what was being said?
  • What did I learn that I didn’t know before?
  • How could the meeting have gone better?
  • What do I need to do now?
  • What will I do next time?

After the meeting, remember to share any actions or notes with the group. This will act as a reminder for the attendees and help update anyone who couldn’t attend.

Creating communication systems

Good communication systems can also help you communicate effectively with your team.

Team meetings

For example, you may decide to hold meetings with your team once a month. Whatever frequency you choose, try to schedule them in advance and give them a regular structure.

It can be helpful to set up a template agenda and rotate the chair each meeting. You could also start each meeting with a ‘check in’.

Your ‘check in’ could be as simple as asking everyone to pick a word that describes how they’re feeling today. Or to share their priorities for the week with the rest of the group.

Planners and reference documents

It can also be a good idea to formalise any systems that will help your team run more efficiently. For example, you could set up a shared planner to manage team tasks or create a team induction pack for new starters.

Communicating outside your team

It’s also important to create systems that help your team communicate information to other teams, key stakeholders or agencies. This might involve regular project group meetings, or scheduled email updates, for example.

Understanding when you must inform or consult staff

Occasionally, you may find you’re legally obliged to communicate something to your team.

The Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) Act 2004 applies to organisations with 50 or more staff. It requires employers to inform and consult employees in certain circumstances.

The Acas website has more information about the ICE regulations.

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 01 August 2023

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