Better Team Communication

Haribo Sour Mix

A few weeks ago, PapercutPM wrote about soft skills, and asked how you hold your teams together.  In fact, he asked for answers as tweets.  I answered: “Haribo Sour Mix!”

You can follow me @MikeClayton01

I’d never tasted them before this one project, but when a new team member joined, they became a bit of a feature – from time to time, one of us would buy a bag.  Now they are a distinct weakness of mine.

Are sweets the whole story?

Certainly not.  But they can be useful.  In a large project office, it is useful for the project manager to speak with everyone from time to time.  So we use a range of techniques.  We:

  • Make a point of seeking everyone out from time to time
  • Hold team meetings
  • Create huddles
  • Visit the water cooler and coffee machine
    (I absolutely draw the line at stepping out for a smoke.  Some don’t)
  • Wander round

But there’s one thing that sweets can do

All of that requires energy and effort.  Here’s another thing I discovered: put a bowl of sweets on your desk.  You need to be disciplined and not eat them, for two reasons:

  1. They’ll ruin your teeth if you eat too many
  2. They are not for you!

They are for everyone else.  And when they cotton on, they’ll look for all sorts of excuses for stopping by your desk to dip in, so they’ll talk to you.  Some may even be bold enough to not use an excuse and that’s fine too: you can talk to them.

The point is this – use whatever idea you’ve got to encourage an informal flow of communication with your team – whatever the change process you are facilitating or project you are managing.

The “so what?”

Make your desk the source of valuable resources.  Offer a service to all and sundry by investing in one of these:

… come to think of it, you may need an extra table.


One thought on “Better Team Communication

  1. Pawel Brodzinski

    Every trick which improves communication is good. I like to find out some kind of game we play in the office. Currently it is office basketball (with small sponge balls). Everyone has a series of 10 shots once a day.

    This makes a short break for everyone since there’s some mess but on the other hand it is great starting point for discussions. We make quite a lot design decisions during our office basketball sessions.

    Besides that it is fun and sponge balls are great as stress balls too.


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