Collaborating with others is a great opportunity to create something you couldn’t do on your own. When you start working with others — whether it’s just one partner or a whole team — it’s important to keep in touch. Communication is crucial to making sure everyone knows what’s expected of them and when they need to accomplish their part of the workload. There are many ways to hold each other accountable without feeling like you’re nagging or micromanaging each other.
Please note: This is a contributed post, but all opinions are my own. View full disclosure policy.
Meet Regularly With Your Team
One of the best ways to stay in touch with your collaborators is to have regular team meetings. This gives everyone a chance to update each other on their progress and discuss any challenges they are facing. It also allows you to provide feedback and direction as needed. Team meetings should be held regularly, such as once a week or once every two weeks.
It’s helpful to establish some kind of routine with meetings, too. You don’t have to plan them fully from beginning to end, but a basic itinerary lets you jump right in without an awkward silence where everyone’s waiting for someone else to begin. It also makes sure you run through everything you need to: progress updates, difficulties that came up, new ideas, reminders of upcoming events, and so on.
If you’re collaborating with a team, it’s also helpful to schedule some one-on-one meetings every now and then. From a leadership standpoint, this is a good opportunity to check on individual progress and discuss challenges that can’t be brought up in a group setting. Even if you and your collaborators hold equal positions on your project, individual meetings can help ease any concerns over one team member’s voice being lost in the crowd.
Organize Team Tasks and Deadlines with Project Management Software
Another great way to stay in touch with your team is to use project management software. This type of software allows you to keep track of everyone’s tasks and progress. It also allows you to communicate with your team members directly through the software. As an added bonus, project management software takes care of nudging people when their deadlines are coming up.
There are many different project management software programs available, so be sure to choose one that will work best for your needs. Take your time to compare what features are most important to you and your collaborators — not to mention which features are included in free basic plans and which you’d have to pay for. Lastly, don’t throw everyone into the deep end when asking them to work with a new program. Dedicate some of your regular meeting times to providing training or schedule independent training sessions.
Send Regular Updates
In addition to having regular team meetings and using project management software, you should also send regular updates to your team. This can be done through email, group chats, your project management tool, or even a simple text message. These updates should include information on the project’s progress as well as any changes or new instructions that need to be conveyed. By sending regular updates, you will ensure that everyone is always up-to-date on the project’s status.
It also helps keep your team motivated to share any positive feedback you’ve gotten on your collaborative work. Not everyone keeps track of comments, social media interactions, and reviews. If there’s good news, share it!
Be Clear on Communication Expectations
During what timeframes will you and your collaborators be responsive? Which forms of communication are you available on? These are important details to be clear on, especially if your team works remotely. Knowing how and when you can be reached reduces frustration and worry about whether questions or concerns will be addressed in time. It’s a sign of respect, for your time and theirs.
Final Thoughts on Collaborative Communication
Overall, there are many different ways to stay in touch with your team. However, some methods are more effective than others. By having regular team meetings, using project management software, sending regular updates, and being clear on how you communicate, you will be able to effectively stay in touch with your team and ensure everyone is on track.