5 Amazing Team Communication Hacks

5 Amazing Team Communication Hacks

Team Communication Hacks
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Team communication is one of the biggest contributors to overall team productivity when done right, or reversely, one of the most serious inhibitors when done wrong. In fact, a Mckinsey study found that workplace connectivity can increase overall employee productivity by up to 25%. This shows that whether your team will function as a productive unit largely depends on how well team members communicate between each other. This sounds like a relatively simple process, but in practice it can be tricky, often complicated by team structures, organizational culture, a lack of team alignment, and a lack of a clear system of communication.

Luckily there are good practices in each of the above categories that can put you on the right path to improved communication, and thus a better functioning and more productive team. While there’s no one ‘silver bullet’ when it comes to team communication, the right combination of different best practices can begin the process of improving team communication. In this regard, below you will find 5 hacks for better team communication. Try them out and adjust them to your individual needs, and you’ll certainly see benefits.

Focus on team culture

Communication styles and functionality largely stem from team culture. Teams that value employee contributions and encourage team members to freely speak their minds often find that communication naturally flows between team members without strict structures or procedures. In contrast, in teams with strict hierarchies and unspoken rules of not ‘speaking out of turn,’ communication can be dampened, if not outright halted. By focusing on the right team values, such as collaboration, continuous learning, and mutual respect, and truly living those values, you can build a culture of open communication.

Structure your team to meet your needs

While culture is an important underlying aspect to team communication and collaboration, if at times difficult to define and quantify, team structure can also go a long way to improving team communication. Whether you’re arranged in sub teams based on shared work streams, or temporary working groups for specific projects, ensuring that team members have the chance to continuously interact with colleagues with whom they share responsibilities can help catalyze communication and collaboration. This structure should also be present in your choice of team communication tool. Private team communication networks are a great option in this regard, allowing you to integrate your team structure into your IM network, thus further encouraging team communication and collaboration.

Get everyone onboard

Implementing any changes to team communication without taking the time to ensure that all team members are on board can easily become counterproductive. Unless all team members are aligned on the need for structural or cultural changes within the team, the likelihood of these changes leading to the desired result is greatly reduced. Ultimately, the goal is for these changes to be meaningful and embraced by all team members, and this can only happen when team members have a shared understanding of 1) the need for these changes, and 2) the desired result these changes are aiming for. By taking the time to align on these points you will go a long way to guaranteeing your ultimate outcome.

Create the appropriate communications structure

Who shares with whom, and in what frequency, is a crucial question for any team looking to improve their communication. While there’s no one size fits all approach to communication structures, and even within a team structures need to be revisited, your team should at the very least aim for clear owners of every meeting event (team meetings, one on ones, etc.). These owners’ have the responsibility to make a case as to the frequency and focus of the event. This owner should also solicit periodic feedback from team members as to the structure and efficacy of the events. This more fluid approach will allow your team to continuously improve your communications structures.

Feedback, feedback, feedback

Your best source of information as to how your team communication approach is going, and what needs to be improved, lies directly within your team. No one approach will work forever, as the modern workplace is dynamic with new team members and projects, technological developments, and changing market trends. By continuously seeking out feedback from your team members as to the efficacy of team communications, you can ensure that you are well positioned to adapt to these changes. This is also a great way to demonstrate the value of open communication within your team!

In conclusion

Improving your team communication is one of the best ways to increase team productivity and overall satisfaction. This goal starts with developing a team culture of openness, respect and shared understanding of the importance of collaboration, and is solidified with team structures and communication tools. While there’s no one approach to this issue, and some of these hacks will work better for certain teams, this holistic view will go a long way to creating a team that values the importance of open communication, and thus reaps the numerous benefits that it leads to.

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44 Lyrics For When You Need An Instagram Caption

Your caption is just as important as the filter.
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Choosing the caption for your Instagram can be almost as challenging as deciding on a filter. So, if you’re ready to post that Insta, but don’t know what to say, here are 44 lyrics for when you need an Instagram caption.

1. “Be young, be dope, be proud.” - Lana Del Rey, "American"

2. “I can’t really see another squad tryna cross us.” - Drake, "No Tellin’"

3. “Darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.” - Taylor Swift, "Blank Space"

4. “I’m throwin' shade like it’s sunny.” - Nicki Minaj, "Want Some More"

5. “I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn't exist.” - Sia, "Chandelier"

6. “Find me where the wild things are.” - Alessia Cara, "Wild Things"

7. “If I was you, I'd wanna be me too.” - Meghan Trainor, "Me Too"

8. “Sweet like candy to my soul, sweet you rock and sweet you roll.” - Dave Matthews Band, "Crash Into Me"

9. “I swear this life is like the sweetest thing I’ve ever known.” - Drake, "Over"

10. “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder.” - Lee Ann Womack, "I Hope You Dance"

11. “But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing’s changed at all? - Bastille, "Pompeii"

12. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” - John Lennon, "Imagine"

13. “You can’t choose what stays and what fades away.” - Florence + The Machine, "No Light, No Light"

14. “She acts like summer and walks like rain.” - Train, "Drops of Jupiter

15. “She’s a good girl, loves her mama. Loves Jesus, and America too.” - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "Free Fallin’"

16. “Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones.” - Coldplay, "Fix You"

17. “Say you’ll remember me.” - Taylor Swift, "Wildest Dreams"

18. I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart.” - Sia, "Elastic Heart"

19. “Give me the beat boys and free my soul.” - Uncle Kracker, "Drift Away"

20. “One of these days the clocks will stop, and time won’t mean a thing.” - Foo Fighters, "These Days"

21. “Sunshine mixed with a little hurricane.” - Brad Paisley, Perfect Storm

22. “You are the piece of me I wish I didn’t need.” Zedd feat. The Foxes, "Clarity"

23. “Her mind is Tiffany twisted, she’s got the Mercedes bends.” - The Eagles, "Hotel California"

24. “Life imitates art.” - Lana Del Rey, "Gods And Monsters"

25. “Nobody said it was easy, no one said it would be this hard.” - Coldplay, "The Scientist"

26. “You’re gonna keep my soul, it was yours to have long ago.” - State Radio, "Keepsake"

27. “Celebrate we will ‘cause life is short but sweet for certain.” - Dave Matthews Band, "Two Step"

28. “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” - Florence + The Machine, "Shake it Out"

29. “There are many things I’d like to say to you but I don’t know how.” - Oasis, "Wonderwall"

30. “You say you want a revolution, well you know we all wanna change the world.” - The Beatles, "Revolution"

31. “God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.” Billy Currington, "People Are Crazy"

32. “Well my heart is gold, and my hands are cold.” - Halsey, "Gasoline"

33. “I don’t want to be heard, I want to be listened to.” - Twenty One Pilots, "Forest"

34. “Where you invest your love, you invest your life.” - Mumford and Sons, "Awake My Soul"

35. “I think I need a sunrise, I’m tired of the sunset.” - Augustana, "Boston"

36. “All of these lines across my face tell you the story of who I am.” - Brandi Carlile, "The Story"

37. ‘Ready or not, here I come. Where you at? The night is young.” - Bridgit Mendler, "Ready or Not"

38. “In the land of Gods and Monsters, I was an angel.” - Lana Del Rey, "Gods And Monsters"

39. “Turns out not where, but who you’re with that really matters.” - Dave Matthews Band, "Best Of What’s Around"

40. “Know yourself, know your worth.” - Drake, "0 to 100"

41. “I’m little but I’m coming for the crown.” - Lorde, "Still Sane"

42. “Didn’t they tell you I was a savage?” - Rihanna, "Needed Me"

43. “Hands in the air like we don’t care.” - Miley Cyrus, "We Can’t Stop"

44. “I’ma keep running because a winner don’t quit on themselves.” - Beyonce, "Freedom"

Cover Image Credit: https://pixabay.com

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Becoming a better photographer: b&w composition

A guide on how and when to use Black and White composition

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Color in photography can elevate it from mediocre to professional. It can draw in viewers, set a tone of a photo, accentuate the form of a subject, and display the skill of a photographer. We see the world in color. Color photography and film, upon their inception, were heralded as vast improvements, and "black and white" can connote a limited, prejudiced worldview.

Given all of this, why would anyone choose to seemingly reduce a photo to something less, something without color?

Despite all the seeming drawbacks of B&W; photography, it does have advantages, although these can be situational.

PROS

Sharpness, contrast, exposure, clarity can be pushed further than they could be with color photographs without looking misplaced or odd.

Helps to compensate for when a photo doesn't have much color, or if boosting the saturation would make it look unnatural.

Shapes and lines are much easier to follow.

Simplifies a composition, giving a viewer fewer things to distract them from what you want them to see.

CONS

No color means that the composition should be a source of any emotions/feelings that color would normally convey.

Things that are similarly exposed but different colors may become indistinguishable from one another.




This photograph was actually slightly overexposed, but by using B&W;, extremes can be used effectively to balance it out. The texture of the wood grain and rope are much easier to see and don't look out of place because there isn't any color to distract from their roughness.



The lack of color in the picture originally is what prompted me to switch to B&W;, but it still is a good example of how a lack of color can highlight lines and shape. The separation between light and shadow becomes sharp and distinct.



Black and white can sometimes reveal the true potential of a photo. The sandy color of the cobblestones didn't mix well with the overcast day and brown, muddy water, but by removing the color and boosting the sharpness and contrast, the texture of the cobblestones pops out, and you look more at how they're stacked and how the reflection shows small ripples in the water. Details that would be overlooked otherwise. If you're editing a photo, and it just doesn't seem right, try switching it into B&W.;




Bad examples can oftentimes be more informative than good ones, and mistakes give you an opportunity to reflect and improve. This photo relies on color for its depth, and without color, it becomes flat and busy. Nothing other than color highlights the roses, so without it, they blend into the leaves. For this example, all I did was desaturate the original. It's entirely possible that through more intensive editing, a good black and white photo could be created from the original.





These examples are two separate edits of the same original photo, and in my opinion, are both acceptable. In the first, the colors blend and combine in an interesting way, and although it does lessen your attention on the fare, that's not necessarily a bad thing if you didn't want him to be the complete and utter subject of the photo. In the second, the outline around the man is darker, so he stands out more against a flatter cab window and side.

Cover Image Credit:

Finn Baroidan

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