As producers, effective and clear communication is the master key to success. Miscommunication can be incredibly expensive and toxic, particularly when we're on a tight schedule coordinating large teams towards uncertain outcomes.
The larger the project, the more significant the negative ripple effects.
1. Communication with clients
There's a simple rule here, clients should always have visibility on:
- What are you building: Define the product or project clearly to avoid ambiguity. Continue to let them know which phase you are currently in.
- When will it be ready: Provide a realistic timeline to manage their expectations, be transparent if there are delays.
- What is expected of them: outline their responsibilities and delivery dates to create accountability and clarity.
Make sure this information is always readily accessible to them, ideally via a permanent link rather than emails which will be lost in the noise.
Keep the client informed, offering regular updates, and don’t shy away from sharing challenges as well as successes. Being open about the challenges you're facing fosters an open dialogue, it invites them to be a part of the team and to understand why you are facing delays, it builds rapport that can help you in the long-term.
Genuinely understanding what a client wants requires active listening. Respond thoughtfully to their needs, demonstrating that they're more than just another account.
2. Communication with internal teams
Clearly Defined Roles and Responsibilities
Make sure that every team member knows their role to avoid confusion and promote smooth workflow.
Open Channels for Feedback
Facilitate an environment where everyone feels free to express thoughts, fostering a cohesive and innovative dynamic.
Regular Meetings and Updates
Touch base regularly to align everyone and tackle potential issues before they escalate.
Group channels, not DMs
Every message sent via DM is information lost in a silo that the rest of the remote team will not have access to, it creates potential for misalignment and error.
3. Asynchronous communications
It's time to embrace working remotely, not just locally apart. Instead of replicating in-person meetings on Zoom, let's lean into asynchronous communication to make everyone's lives easier. This section is heavily inspired by Basecamp's book Rework, which I recommend reading.
REWORK — the New York Times bestselling book about business
The perfect playbook for anyone who’s ever dreamed of doing it on their own. Entrepreneurs, small-business owners, and artists who don’t want to starve will all find valuable guidance in these pages.
A few reasons to find ways to increase asynchronous communication in your productions:
1. Increased focus and reduced distractions
Asynchronous communication allows teams to control when they receive and respond to messages or feedback. This leads to increased focus and less distractions, which means more quality work.
2. Reflective and thoughtful responses
Spontaneous thoughts in rushed circumstances might not always be worth sharing. When we give our thoughts time the truly valuable insights start to emerge. Async creates opportunity for insightful exchange, which leads to better decision-making.
3. Documentation and progress monitoring
Asynchronous communication requires documentation, making it simpler to track progress and reference past conversations. This proves more valuable on larger projects when we might have many different specialists coming at different phases.
4. Greater adaptability and anxiety mitigation
Embracing asynchronous communication provides flexibility, the team can communicate at the hours where they've allotted time for it. This alleviates stress and anxiety, creating a healthier work atmosphere with more positive work.
5. Reducing miscommunication
Communication can be easily distorted, particularly in verbal exchanges. Each additional relay of information adds noise and reduces fidelity to the original intent. Written communication is permanent and transparent, it reaches the intended recipients directly.
4. Tools for Async
Team calendars shouldn't dictate our communications. Tools like Loom have made async simpler than ever. Whether for internal collaboration or client communication, async levels the playing field, helping everyone work smarter, not harder.
Loom: Async Video Messaging for Work
Record your screen, share your thoughts, and get things done faster with async video.
Try using Loom to brief your teams or give feedback, encourage the use of asynchronous comms to reduce the number meetings clogging your team's calendar. Set your focus hours and change the default meeting size for internal meetups to 15 minutes instead of 30.