Graphic designers and other creative professionals tend to be imaginative and open-minded. Managers tend to be analytical and organized. These differences can also result in different communication styles — and lead to communication breakdowns. Uniting your creative team is not some daunting, impossible task, though; instead, it’s achievable via a few simple practices you can add into your team’s daily routine. To boost communication within your design team, follow the three T’s to improving communication: Talking, Transparency, and Tools.
Talking: Daily Check-Ins
Implementing daily standups in your team’s routine is a great way to improve communication. You may be thinking you don’t need another meeting-that-could-have-been-an-email to add to the list, but a quick check-in with your team is beneficial to all. A daily 15 minute meeting is all your creative team needs to address what work was completed yesterday, what your team members have on the agenda for today, and any questions you can answer or roadblocks you can solve for them. This is especially important for remote teams as a way to keep in consistent contact with teammates even when you’re geographically apart from one another. These check-ins will promote more collaboration and communication among your team, and make sure that everyone is on the same page about projects and goals.
Transparency: Share the Full Scope
When everyone can see the big picture, better work is produced. However, team members often get settled in their own roles and responsibilities, and don’t always know all of the moving parts to a project. When leading a design team, sharing the full scope of what is going on with your client or project is beneficial for the creative work your team produces. When creatives understand goals in regards to things like budget, style, and ROI, they can direct their creative work to better fit your client’s wishes. Transparency also leads your employees to trust you more. The more open your communication with your team, the more credible you seem to them. If there is confidential information you are unable to share with your team, try to give them the “why” — this will demonstrate your respect for your team, and build their confidence in you.
Tools: Software That Can Help
There’s nothing wrong with getting a little help — that’s what productivity tools exist for! Project management software and communication applications can give your creative team the communication boost you need to promote clearer expectations and collaboration. The best part? Many of the apps are completely free to use (or at least offer a free version). A few applications that can help are highlighted below.
CROOW is a collaboration tool for remote teams designed for creatives, by creatives. It has many features to help lead a design team in a seamless project flow, including task tracking, project approvals, and asset sharing. CROOW is a one-stop shop for managing a creative team.
Despite the name, Slack is not for slackers. Slack is an application with messaging features that allows team members to quickly and efficiently contact one another — no call or email necessary. With file sharing, app integrations, and team-specific communication channels, Slack is a great tool to encourage collaboration among your design team.
Zoom took the world by storm in 2020 when the Coronavirus pandemic hit. With its video conferencing features and free memberships, Zoom has improved communication among remote teams by allowing continued face-to-face interactions, and can encourage that for your creative team, too.
Implementing these best practices will help unite your creative team and push you to a higher level of communication and understanding. Talking, transparency, and tools will help your team to better collaborate and produce high quality work in an efficient manner, all while building rapport and maintaining connection.