Social media tools can help bridge the distances between our work spaces and facilitate working together. Actions such as shares, likes, comments contribute to a virtual water cooler effect that can help informal communications. Recent research has shown that informal communication increases team performance.
How we communicate turns out to be the most important predictor of team success, and as important as all other factors combined, including intelligence, personality, skill, and content of discussions. The old adage that it’s not what you say, but how you say it, turns out to be mathematically correct says the director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program. More…
The research finds that great teams:
- Communicate frequently. In a typical project team a dozen or so communication exchanges per working hour may turn out to be optimum; but more or less than that and team performance can decline.
- Talk and listen in equal measure, equally among members. Lower performing teams have dominant members, teams within teams, and members who talk or listen but don’t do both.
- Engage in frequent informal communication. The best teams spend about half their time communicating outside of formal meetings or as “asides” during team meetings, and increasing opportunities for informal communication tends to increase team performance.
- Explore for ideas and information outside the group. The best teams periodically connect with many different outside sources and bring what they learn back to the team.