How to communicate clearly, concisely and considerately in Teamwork Projects

Posted by: Katriona O'Mahony /

In this post, we’ll go through the main communication features in Teamwork Projects and how you can use them to improve efficiency, re-prioritize work, and claim back time for your team.


Whenever we talk to customers about the impact Teamwork Projects has had on their business, one of the key things we hear again and again is how much it’s improved their communication.

Because all of their communication can now be done through Teamwork Projects, every instance has more context, traceability, and purpose — allowing them to reduce email volume and leading to a massive gain in efficiency.

As it is, a lot of people spend half their working day just wrangling their email inbox. It’s easy to spend as much time managing your emails as you do actually working, and even easier to get sidetracked by questions or tasks that aren’t necessarily a priority when you do.

With Teamwork Projects, you can flip that script. Instead of letting communication dictate your work — as is so often the case when responding reactively to incoming emails and requests — you can use it to drive results.

By letting your work and list of tasks take priority and communicating around them, you’re making sure you’re always prioritizing what needs to be done and working towards delivering tangible outcomes.

Here’s our best practice guide to the different types of communication features in Teamwork Projects: what they are, when to use them, and how you can use them in tandem to help you to communicate more clearly, concisely, and considerately.

1. Embedded Chat and project channels

Teamwork Projects has a built in instant chat feature, allowing you to easily converse with the rest of your team and organization from anywhere within Teamwork Projects.

This also provides you with the ability to set up project channels. A project channel is a chat channel that you can create directly from a project and it automatically includes every user on the project.

This is ideal when you are starting a project kick-off and you want to get everyone aligned, for sharing updates throughout your progress, and asking for instant feedback in the moment.

Great for:

  • Instant feedback
  • Quick group decision making

Not so great for:

  • Sharing critical project information
  • Asking people to do things (create a task instead!)

2. Project messages

The messages feature is a great way to distribute important project information. Ideally, you would use messages for communication that doesn’t need instant feedback or that doesn’t need a response.

Messages allow users on the project to review any important information that was shared about the project and associated documents or links within.

It’s also a good place to have a more considered discussion, as people can take the time to think through feedback before replying.

Here are some tips for structuring your message:

  • Put some thought into the message title. It should be direct, to the point and make it clear to the readers what the message is about.
  • A thread should be dedicated to one topic only. If someone brings up another discussion it’s best to move this conversation to the appropriate place, otherwise the conversion goes off point and the thread of the message no longer becomes a reliable place of record.
  • Think carefully about who should be included in the message thread. If you’re unsure, we believe in over-communicating rather than under-communicating; if it becomes too much, the person can “mute” themselves by unfollowing.
  • Try numbering your points. This can help to avoid confusion by making it clear who’s talking about what. Any responders can then revert with reference to point 1, point 2, and so on.
  • Keep everything together. If you’re sending documentation for review, save it to the files or links area of the project to ensure everyone has access.
  • Make next steps clear. Be really clear if there is a follow-up action or feedback needed, a looming due date, or any other urgency.

Great for:

  • Sharing important updates with key stakeholders
  • Distributing key project information

Not so great for:

  • Quick feedback or decision making
  • Asking people to do things (create a task instead!)

3. Task comments

Comments on tasks are essential for every day communication, specifically relating to pieces of work. Comments allows you to communicate with context by asking for clarification or requesting more information, or indeed alerting someone that the task has been completed. In this way, you can keep all the communication relating to each individual piece of work together.

Great for:

  • Clarifying task details
  • Giving updates on specific tasks
  • Keeping a record of discussion relating to a specific piece of work

Not so great for:

  • Distributing important project information
  • Getting instant feedback

4. Emoji reactions

Although best known for the element of fun they bring to any form of communication, emojis can also be a big time saver when it comes to writing replies. Your team can use emojis to quickly acknowledge that they’ve read or seen a message, without having to form an unnecessary reply trail.

Great for:

  • Signalling approval or agreement
  • Indicating you’ve read something
  • Showing colleagues you love their work

Not so great for:

  • Contributing information to specific tasks or comments

5. Reply via email

Sometimes, you just can’t avoid your email inbox. For example, you may be dealing with external stakeholders that you haven’t yet added as a collaborator to your Teamwork Projects account.

In this situation, we’ve also made it easy for you to quickly interact with your work in Teamwork Projects without leaving your email inbox (you can read more about how to do this here and here). This is also useful when you’re checking emails on the go via your phone.

Great for:

  • Interacting with tasks and messages on the go

Not so great for:

  • Creating an update to send to key stakeholders
  • Attaching important documentation

How do you use these communication features in Teamwork Projects? Share your use cases and best tips for managing noise in the comments below.

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Katriona O’Mahony
Product marketing manager

4 Comments

David Lark

Great insight. Thanks.

Does this feed hi to all those we have just introduced to TeamWork?

Reply
Katriona O'Mahony

Hi David

Your users will only be able to see the activities associated with the projects they have access to in the activity feed.

I hope that helps!

Thanks,

Katriona

Reply
Bruce Dugan

I see where to create a Channel (project) chat, and while If I open Chat from the menu I see the chats there, is there anyplace on the main Projects dashboard that people will see this?

Reply
Katriona O'Mahony

Hi Bruce,

Native chat in Teamwork Projects will stay open regardless of what screen you navigate to – so for example if you’re working in the Home area or the Dashboard area, you’ll be able to keep your Chat pane open.

Hope this helps but feel free to hit us up with any questions to support@teamwork.com if you have more questions.

Thanks

Katriona

Reply

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