In PR, we are constantly focused on tactics for client communications – taking time to understand how to craft emails, proposals and plans in order to engage and excite the businesses we partner with. During this process, internal team communications can get lost – defaulting to the quickest and easiest ways to communicate, rather than the most effective.
Internal communications are critical to campaigns and overall client success. Understanding how and when to connect with team members improves the efficiency of client work and helps everyone to “break out of the box” of their day-to-day emails and tasks. In the midst of summer where both clients and colleagues are out of the office, it’s important to continue to find ways to set the example for team communications and encourage other members to implement tactics that will boost their day-to-day activities. To get started consider implementing one or more of the following strategies:
Make sure everyone understands the bigger picture
When delegating client tasks, offering specifics on the format of a project or making edits to a pitch, make sure each member of your team understands why they’ve been asked to do things a certain way. Take time to tie their efforts back to the bigger picture for the PR program – addressing how this helps to fulfill a client’s needs and/or build upon a particular campaign. This helps team members to gain a better understanding of the task at hand, minimizing misunderstanding or additional questions. It also gives them a sense of ownership for the project and its tie to the larger program – making them more likely to identify additional opportunities to improve client work.
Create time for team collaboration
It’s one thing to tell team members to collaborate in the midst of their business day and it’s another to schedule time for them to actually do it. Encourage cross-teaming, brainstorming and collaboration on pitches by setting time aside regularly for brainstorming. This helps to get team members into the habit of collaborating with one another in a way that doesn’t add an extra item to their to dos. It will also help to improve efficiency – ensuring they don’t have to recreate the wheel every time they work on a new media campaign.
Help team members find their voice
Instead of letting members of your team ask you a question, encourage them to come to you with a proposed solution or answer to discuss. This changes the dynamics within the relationship between employee and manager and helps them to confidently build their own voice on the team. More importantly, it will improve their communications and comfort in answering questions for clients as well.
Get off of email
Unless the computer is necessary, find time to review projects and media themes in person, rather than over email. Taking time to have face-to-face conversations, team members can be more candid in their discussions and feel more engaged. It can minimize potential misunderstanding with feedback, minimizing the time needed for additional questions.
Don’t be so serious all of the time, encourage your team to be lighthearted and make jokes. This creates more comfortable conversations and helps to encourage creativity when it comes to new media ideas.
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