Team Communication: Importance, Methods, Benefits, and Challenges

1349 Words Jun 16th, 2008 6 Pages
Team Communication: Importance, Methods, Benefits, and Challenges
In order for a team to communicate effectively, the members should understand why effective communication is important; decide which methods to use; know the benefits they will reap; and how to overcome the challenges that will arise, because when communications fail many problems can arise such as, failure to meet goals, and unnecessary conflict.
Parker (2003) says that, “open communication is an absolute requirement for successful…teamwork” (p. 117). A team is communicating successfully when all team members are expressing their thoughts, ideas, and opinions and each member is listening and being open to what others have to say, whether in agreement or disagreement of
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Methods
By deciding guidelines during the developing stages, such as, what methods and frequency with which a team will communicate the team is implementing norms (Heathfield, n.d.). Heathfield (n.d., para.3) defines team norms as “… a set of rules or guidelines that a team establishes to shape the interaction of team members with each other and with employees who are external to the team.”
According to Otter and Emmitt (2007), two main styles of communicating are; synchronous, occurring at the same time and same place or at the same time but different place, and asynchronous, occurring at different time and different place or occasionally different time and same place.
Synchronous communications, occurring at the same time and place, include face-to-face team meetings and informal discussions (Otter & Emmitt, 2007). Synchronous communications, occurring at the same time but a different place, include video conferencing, audio conferencing, telephone, electronic whiteboards, and instant messengers or chat (Otter & Emmitt, 2007 & Parker, 2003).
Asynchronous communications, occurring at different times and different places, include postal mail, voice mail, e-mail, calendars, and project websites. (Otter & Emmitt, 2007 & Parker, 2003). Asynchronous communications, occurring at different times but the same place, include bulletin or memo boards (Otter & Emmitt, 2007).
Otter and Emmitt (2007) say that, “effective…teams use a balanced
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