It’s standard operation for most businesses: Information flying around the office like bullets in a war zone. The same question gets asked again and again and, for some reason, the answer keeps changing. There are project updates, client follow ups, lunches to plan, and some relatively inappropriate jokes to keep up with.
With all the information pumped out at such a constant and fast pace, it’s nearly impossible to be sure of what was actually said, and by whom. This may fairly harmless until it occurs during a crucial moment on a very important project. Potential confusion increases exponentially with every point where there is room for differing interpretations.
Email threads and split group texts are certainly the biggest offenders when it comes to supporting this chaotic communication system. They force their users to make an extra effort to relay conversations to those who weren’t initially included. Yet, even though these systems are seemingly universally loathed, we still continue to rely heavily on these systems that enable and encourage these unhelpful tactics. But I didn’t write this just to vent my email angst (though that would be totally acceptable), I wrote to tell you that there’s a better way!
You can actually go to the source of the information.
It really is that easy. Document conversations, meetings, and tasks and give everyone access to them. This will require a bit of extra effort to get acclimated to this system, but is nothing compared to the time and effort it will save you later on. Imagine a world where you don’t have to continually repeat yourself in multiple conversations. You could simply direct team members to previous, relevant discussions and allow them to read or listen to your response, giving them the information that they need without wasting your time or causing confusion.
Imagine a world where you don’t have to continually repeat yourself in multiple conversations.
Now, how does one effectively document conversations?
You could always post memos up on the community bulletin board and allow people to write tiny responses in the margins, but that seems a little cumbersome.
Ideally, you’d have a way to archive entire conversations. A tool that automatically stores all messages in a searchable history. There are plenty of chat apps that do this and a simple search will return more results than you need.
Beyond that, you’ll want a way to summarize conversations and meetings that have ended. This is not a feature that is typically included in chat apps, so you’ll have to devote a bit of time to manually taking minutes during meetings and summarizing conversations. This is a standard practice for most offices, but the variation is making these easily accessible to all team members (unless it’s private information, of course). Offering key takeaways to employees who don’t have the time to read over entire topics is extremely beneficial in tandem with a fully recorded conversation. This way, team members will be able to take understand the outcome of the conversation from a simple summary and still be access specifics by searching the discussion history.
Offering key takeaways to employees who don’t have the time to read over entire topics is extremely beneficial
Consider actualizing these tactics and take note of the benefits. Communicate effectively. Spend more time achieving your goals and less time repeating yourself.