September 26, 2012 Last updated September 18th, 2018 2,304 Reads share

Communication: 3 Tips to Make Your SME Buzz With Productivity

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Sandy Pentland of MIT and his team discovered that great teams are built on communication. This seems to be common sense so how does the business owner create the environment that fosters good communication leading to high productivity?

The Communication Buzz Factor

Some small businesses just seem to buzz. When you interact with them, people seem to genuinely like their workplace and what they are doing. Innovation seems to flow.

They effortlessly attract customers and they are often found on those lists of “Best Places To Work.” There is something the organisation does as a whole that glues them together as a team.

Communication lines are networks

According to research done by Alex “Sandy” Pentland of  MIT’s Human Dynamics Lab, there are teams that simply function with excellence. He explained his post, “The New Science of Building Great Teams,” that he and his team asked people to wear badges and analysed the data such as tone of voice, body language, whom they talked to and frequency of communication.

  • They discovered that how each team communicated was the key to their success.
  • They found that teams that communicated beyond the formal channels (e.g. bosses sending the messages or meetings) were more effective.  Since communication can be shared in any direction, it is more likely for ideas to be explored and put into action.
  • For this communication to work, there has to be a “charismatic connector.” As the business owner acts as one of the nodes in a network, other people become nodes as well.

Related: What’s the Importance of the 3 C’s in Business – Communications, Coaching and Counseling?

Tips for developing the Buzz Factor

# 1. Spend time speaking with everyone in your organisation.

Whether you have a small or medium-size business, making time to speak with everyone so you model the importance of internal networking. This prevents silo thinking and may even nurture friendships across disciplines.

# 2. Use staff breakfasts, lunches or tea breaks as opportunities to just chat.

A client of mine has lunch brought in once a week and everyone gathers in the conference room. This has been a great place to hear what is going on in people’s lives and has informed his response when he is providing accountability. Eventually when projects get mentioned, there is a spontaneous exchange of ideas and advice.

# 3. Stay out of the way so your team and/or staff can bounce ideas off of each other.

Sometimes the boss inhibits creativity and conversation and you have enough to do without being part of every conversation in the office. Allowing gathering points (i.e. water coolers, break rooms, the copier, certain desks, etc.) or use of an intranet are useful tools for these informal conversations.

Related: Fascinating Team Building Tactics That Can Help Your Business Grow

Create your own Buzz Factor

The Buzz Factor is more than a rich environment for creativity and innovation. It’s even more than trying to use the latest management craze.  Making sure that people have time to communicate formally and informally fosters a sense of community and belonging.

You, the business owner, can be the charismatic connector with something very simple…a conversation. This is something humans do well. The Buzz Factor is simply networking – chatting, meeting, collaborating – leading to better productivity.

Related: How Collaboration Creates Growth For Your SME

What tips would you add so small business owners develop the Buzz Factor? How could the Buzz Factor be used in a struggling business?

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Elli St.George Godfrey

Elli St.George Godfrey

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