Team communication is vital if you want your digital business to thrive. In this episode, I’m revealing 3 hidden ways Slack facilitates seamless communication amongst our team. Plus, how you can use it to boost growth and productivity in yours, too!
On a scale from 1 to 10, how clear is your current team communication?
It’s easy in a digital business for endless email chains and cluttered group chats to leave everyone feeling overwhelmed and unorganized.
That’s why in this week's episode, I’m giving you the hidden gems you need to streamline your communication and increase your productivity within your team.
BY THE TIME YOU FINISH LISTENING, YOU’LL WALK AWAY WITH:
If this episode inspires you, leave a review and share your biggest takeaway with me. And while you've got your phone out, make sure to follow me on Instagram @thecourtneyelmer for more quick tips on how to streamline your business systems and spend more time in your zone of genius.
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Courtney Elmer 0:00
Do endless email threads and cluttered group chats? Have you feeling totally overwhelmed and disorganized? When it comes to internal team communication? If you answered yes, you are going to love today's episode, because I'm going to give you the hidden gems you need to streamline your team communication and increase your productivity within your team. So even if you aren't at a place yet, where you've started growing a team, this episode will still be relevant for you. Because it will save you tons of time and headache down the road. Whenever you do make your first hire, whether that's a VA or contractor or an employee. And by the end of this episode, you will know exactly what to do to get and keep your team communicating clearly with you and with each other, which is so essential to growing a successful business. That's all coming up next. So stay tuned.
Globally ranked among the top shows in business and education, we're known for one thing, helping overworked entrepreneurs like you learn how to run your business like a true visionary leader, because when you get the right systems support, and structure in place, you can spend more time in your zone of genius. So if you're tired of listening to today's business influencers teach this same old worn out marketing strategies that aren't making you any money, it's time to take a look under the hood of your business and fix the engine itself. Because the truth is, you don't have to work as hard as you are right now to scale beyond six figures and create the greater influence income and impact that you deserve. The secret to scaling starts on the back end of your business. This is the System's Made Simple™ Podcast.
Welcome back, you're listening to the System's Made Simple™ Podcast. This is episode 162. I'm your host, Courtney Elmer. And today we're talking about my favorite collaborative teamwork tool slack. Now, one thing you might not know about me is that clear team communication is one of my deepest core values. Anyone who works with me knows this immediately and upfront. From the moment we interview them. If you were literally to read the description of this core value inside of our team onboarding documents, it says we value crystal clear team communication, because we believe that everyone has a voice worth hearing. And we value transparency. Because if you have something to say, say it, if you have an idea to share, share it. We are people of our word. We honor our commitments, we do the right thing. And we always tell the truth, even when it's uncomfortable, or inconvenient.
Now, clear team communication has always been deeply important to me. But just because it's something I value doesn't mean it's something you automatically have to value to. We all have different values. And that's a beautiful thing. However, I think we can both agree that even if you don't consider clear team communication, a core value of yours, it is something that's indispensable when it comes to growing your team. Now back in episode 86, I shared how we use Slack to communicate internally number one, because it's so much easier than email. And number two, because of how much time it saves you in your inbox. And I am all for clearing inbox clutter, ask anyone on my team. So today, I'm going to encourage you to use Slack if you aren't already. And I'm going to expand on that episode where I gave you three simple slack hacks to improve and streamline your team communication and give you some bonus hacks today that you can use to enhance team communication throughout your team.
And I don't know if you've read the book tribes by Seth Godin. But in that book, he says that in order for a community to thrive, there are three things that are necessary number one, team communication from the leader to the members. But number two, also team communication from the members to the leader. And finally, team communications from member to member. So this principle is a really important one to keep in mind. Not only for your client in your student communities, but also internally as you build and expand your team. And this is one reason why here at the effortless life. We love slack because it is the perfect tool to facilitate this three way team communication. Plus there's a free forever plan so there's literally no reason not to use it. So if you're familiar with Slack, then you already know that slack gives you the ability to create channels which you can think of like group threads and they also give you the Em function where you can message team members individually, and we use both features.
So bonus Hack number one is to keep it super simple. Only create channels that are relevant. Less is more here. Because if you create too many group channels, your team can get confused and not know where to post things, especially as things start to overlap. Kind of like my text message inbox, when my family starts creating spin off text threads, you know what I'm talking about, right? Suddenly, I go from a thread with my whole family, and a thread with my sisters, to a thread with Alan and my mom, and then a thread with my mom and my dad, plus a thread with my mom and my sisters, not to mention, if my dad decides to message me and Alan or just me and my sisters. And that's just one side of the family, it gets to be too much way too much. And you're like, where do I post what this is crazy. And so it can get that way in Slack too. And that's why we love to keep our channels, our threads, limited to the broad projects within the company.
So the way our company is structured, we have three departments, we have growth, we have fulfillment, and we have operations. Now these three departments mirror the four systems that I'm always teaching you about here on the show. And those four systems are leads and sales, which fall into the growth category, fulfillment, which falls into the deliverability category. And operations, which is just operations, it's all the day to day stuff. So we mirror our channels that way, as well. And so right now we have a private thread for our leadership team. We have a thread for the podcast, we have a thread for the coaches in our program, right. So we've got growth, we've got fulfillment, a thread for Kajabi, which is our operations, that's where anything and everything related to Kajabi goes we use it for a lot of different things. And that's it. And most of what we talk about in groups fits into one of those buckets, its growth, its fulfillment or its operations. And then we use the DM thread team communication from leader to member, member to leader and member to member whether that's me, whether it's a team members direct report, whether it's members communicating with each other, it keeps the team communication flowing. So that's bonus hack.
Number one, keep it simple. Bonus Hack number two is don't use the voice message feature. I promise you will thank me later. It's a really cool feature that slack offers it functions kind of like Voxer, or kind of like the voice memo in your text messages. But I strongly encourage you not to use it, you might think that it would enhance team communication, but it actually does the opposite. Why? Because it's not searchable. One of the beautiful things about Slack is that you can easily and quickly search for a topic across threads and channels, which makes it so much easier to find relevant conversations versus searching email thread after email thread in your inbox. Have you ever got lost on one of those rabbit holes? I know I have. But the voice feature as cool as it is, isn't searchable. So if you voice message your people back and forth, there's a good chance that at some point, you're going to say something that you want to refer to later. And you won't be able to because you can't search the voice messages.
And my team knows that I prefer everything typed out. Especially for that reason, the searchability. So we type back and forth and it's really easy. It's just like instant messaging back in the old days. Remember that? Did you have a screen name? Oh my gosh, if I tell you what my screen name was, you're going to laugh? I don't think I should tell you. Okay, okay. I'll tell you snuggle mouse underscore 88 I am so embarrassed saying that. What the heck? Like I don't even know where that came from. What what what is it snuggle bows? Who came up? What is I don't even know what that is. Okay, embarrassing moment for the day. We're gonna move on now because my face is turning bright red on my screen name. Oh, what was I when I had that account? 12 years old, 14 years old. I wish I knew what was going through my 12 year old brain like what the heck. Okay, moving on. So bonus hack. Number three is to integrate your other applications with Slack. So one thing I love and that we've started doing more of in Slack lately, is using the integration feature. We've integrated zoom, which allows us to start meetings right from slack, no need to go switch to another app that saves time. We've integrated our project management tool, we use clickup, which allows us to create tasks from right there in Slack, no need to go switch to another app and type it out. It saves a ton of time.
Courtney Elmer 9:45
But my favorite integration is actually the simplest is Google Calendar. And the reason is because it syncs all of my meetings and my out of office time so that my team can see when I'm available and when I'm not And this helps me as a leader hold boundaries when it comes to my creative work time, which can be so hard to do. And my downtime. I only work Monday through Thursday. So on my Google Calendar, my out of office is always on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And because it's integrated with Slack, Slack knows that I'm out of office. And so it will put a big X emoji right next to my name. So that if my team happens to message me on one of these days, which they're welcome to do, they'll see that and they'll be reminded, Oh, that's right. Courtney is out of office, she'll be back on Monday, she'll get back to me them. So it's a very simple hack. But it can help you visually see when your team is available that way, if you message a team member, and it says, oh, in a meeting, you know, okay, they're in a meeting, no need to message them again, make sure that they got this right, especially if it's something urgent, you know, that thing can just be in your head, and you're like, Okay, until they confirmed that they got this thing, it's going to be unresolved in my head, I need to check that box in my brain.
I've been there so many times, believe me, I know, take it from one who knows. But you can see out there in the meeting, okay, no big deal, they get back to me in a couple of hours. Right. And it's just a very simple thing. But it goes a long way to help with team communication, particularly if you're running a remote team, which we are here at the effortless life, because people are in different time zones. We have team members who live on the other side of the world, one of our team members who was a new hire, she's just on board with us recently. She lives in India. And so she's sleeping when we're awake, we're awake when she's sleeping. There's a couple of windows during the day where we can communicate in real time. But the beauty is we know when she's online and offline. And same goes for all of our team, especially for you as the leader, because it helps you further protect your time. So these are three simple bonus hacks inside of slack that you can implement today to streamline team communication throughout your team. But I've got a little bonus bonus for you. And this is just a personal tip for me to you from one leader to another. Don't check your slack. First thing when you sit down at your desk, don't do it. This is a discipline that you will have to develop. But just like if you were to sit down and check your email, first thing, next thing you know, two hours have gone by, you've got no real work done, your brain is already experiencing decision fatigue, you're less likely to be focused, and your productivity just goes through the floor. Same with Slack, save the first part of your day for your most important work.
Today, when I sat down to prepare this episode, I sat down, I didn't even open my slack. I didn't open my email, I sat down and I opened my Google Docs. So I could write the outline for this episode. And I will go after I finished recording this and then check in with my team. So as a leader, you have to remain disciplined and prioritize your productive time that's up to you. No one can prioritize that for you. Now, there are a couple of downsides to slack that I will also caution you here about because like anything, even though its aim to increase productivity, it can actually become a procrastination tool without realizing it, and decrease your productivity. One of the challenges about running a remote team is that we don't work in an office. So there's no opportunity for us to chit chat in the hallway or over a cup of coffee, right grab a break in the break room.
camaraderie and friendships are really important here, within our culture, at the EffortLESS Life®, especially when you live in different time zones, and you're in all parts of the world, you're working different hours, those relationships are really important. And slack helps us to communicate effectively despite those challenges, like different hours, different time zones, different geographical locations, which is amazing. But it can also become a distraction, especially if you are someone who is prone to checking your inbox or your messages often. And a lot of times we develop this tendency as leaders as humans, really, because of how our brains are wired. Why is it that when you get a notification in your text messages, or you get a notification on social media, you feel like you immediately have to go and check it. It's all because of dopamine. That's it. It's a biological response. It feels good to get that notification. We check that notification, we get that hit of dopamine, and then we want to do it again. And again. And again. This is also why I have all of my notifications turned off. For all of my social media apps. I also don't keep many social media apps on my phone. And same for slack.
All of my notifications are turned off because otherwise it can become a distraction. So my advice Do you hear if you use Slack, same goes for your social Same goes for your email, turn off your notifications so that you can be in control of when you choose to check your messages. And one of the important lessons that at one point or another you'll have to learn as a leader is that you have to become comfortable with not always being available to your team. And to communicate to them that your time is valuable, and you are going to use it accordingly that you choose to use it accordingly. Not always being available is actually a good thing. Because if you're not online and empowers your team to figure things out on their own, or to push further than maybe they would, if they were able to come to you ask a question, get an answer really quickly, right and keep going. So back in the day, when I first started growing my team, I made the mistake of setting no boundaries around my slack, no boundaries around my notifications, and no boundaries around my time. And my son was really young at the time, and I can remember, he was home with me during the day, he didn't have school, he wasn't in daycare. And I remember feeling like I needed to be glued to my slack. Because if a team member messaged me, I wanted to be able to respond quickly so that they could keep moving because I wasn't working at the moment, right, so they could keep moving forward.
And things could keep progressing. And things wouldn't stall. And that's good in theory. But I remember so many times, feeling so frustrated. Because my son needed me. My team member needed me, I couldn't be in two places at one time, I couldn't give my full focus and attention to my son, and because of my son and his needs, nor can I give my full focus and attention to my team member who had needs as well coordinate. What about this? What about this? Right? They had questions. And it was very difficult. I felt like I was between a rock and a hard place. And I felt really guilty oftentimes to on both ends of that spectrum, because I couldn't give my full availability to my son, nor could I be fully available to my team. And as I grew, and as I learned, I realized, first I needed to put better boundaries in place around my time, I needed to do a better job of setting expectations for my team as to when I would be available. And when I wouldn't, I needed to let my team try and fail. I need to not be there to save them and hold their hand, but rather to empower them to learn and to grow. Because I firmly believe and I've believed this from the beginning. And I believe it even more. So now. The right people can handle the job. The right people, though, at least the ones we're looking for here at the effortless life will take the initiative to figure it out on their own.
And so this actually gives me an opportunity to test them to see how well they take initiative to see how well they take responsibility. And the reality is, the more you grow, or should I say the bigger your team is, the more slowly you will move. This is just the nature of things. In fact, another one of our core values says slow is smooth, and smooth is fast, which of course we borrowed from the Navy SEALs. But it is okay to tell your team, I am logging off now to focus on this task or that task. I'll be back at this time. Just because you have a 24/7 messaging app doesn't mean you have to be on it. 24/7 All right. So there you have it. A few simple tips to help you improve your team communication, save you time save you headache, save you frustration, in a way that is respectful of everyone's time. And that can keep things flowing smoothly. So this episode was helpful to you, I would love it if you would share this with a friend. Because this helps more people not only find the show, but more importantly get the resources they need to grow their business to. Now speaking of saving you time, especially as it relates to your inbox. Coming up next week, I'm going to show you how we manage our inboxes here at the effortless life. This is a very simple system that we have used for years. And it helps you hold boundaries around your inbox and set the expectations for people emailing you so that they know when to expect a reply from you so that they don't keep bumping things up to the top of your inbox. If you know you know. All right, so I will see you back here next Tuesday.
Courtney Elmer 19:44
Until then, go live your EffortLESS Life®
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