Our ability to link communication and collaboration continues to set us apart from the countless other species that exist and enables us to evolve as much as we do.
These two terms are interconnected, however, there is a clear difference between the two. The act of exchanging information through modes like speaking, writing, or listening can be termed as communication. In contrast, collaboration is the act of exchanging and gathering information to achieve a specific result.
For example, the ability to relay information about where a lion was last spotted, who could throw a spear the farthest, and which band could be trusted allowed our ancestors to establish networks and work together enabling them to collaborate.
It is clear from this that communication is a crucial skill we need to make a collaboration a success.
Examples of Communication and Collaboration
Examples of communication include having face-to-face conversations, talking on the phone, sending and receiving emails, messaging, sharing documents and video and audio files, and reading.
Forming a group to work on a project, working alongside your lab members to write a research paper are some examples of collaboration.
A famous example and arguably one of the humans’ greatest collaborations is the Human Genome Project (HGP).
This project enabled the collaboration of researchers, companies, and funding agencies across the globe which would never be possible without sharing information and working together.
Effective communication leads to successful collaborations that can open us up to new opportunities and enables us to unlock milestones that would not be possible alone.
That said and done, how do we achieve such great heights?
How to be an Effective Communicator
An effective communicator will possess certain characteristics that will decide the outcome of a collaboration. As an effective communicator you will be able to ensure smooth workflow, fulfill leadership roles and establish a comfortable and productive environment.
5 Skills You Can Develop to Sharpen Your Communication Skills
You have to understand the decisions you make and the reasons behind them. Take the backseat for a moment to observe your actions and think about how you will relay them. You can be assertive without being aggressive.
Building positive relationships requires you to be empathic. Listen to what others have to say without being judgemental or jumping to conclusions.
Being aware of social interactions will make you more attentive to social cues and behaviors. This will help you understand your colleagues.
Sometimes things might not go your way and this is where you have to take a step back. When communicating, opinions and perspectives will clash. Remember to be tolerant of any shortcomings and avoid invalidating others.
Being honest with your feelings will help you develop compassion and make it easier to embrace new possibilities. It will make it easier for you to understand your personal emotions and those around you.
How to Connect Communication to Collaboration
Reports state that over 80% of unproductivity in the workplace is due to the lack of communication and ineffective collaborations. Thus, efficient collaboration, as stated by many businesses, has become the key to successfully overcoming this problem.
With the help of these points, you can improve the use of communication to achieve an effective collaborative work environment.
Better Tools for Circulation of Files
While working in a team, each member has to continuously make changes to a document, and more often than not, multiple copies get circulated. This creates confusion and can get frustrating and overwhelming.
For instance, in Newspaper companies, several versions of one article get passed around among the team members, which undergo multiple rounds of editing. It would be counterproductive if the same piece with different variations is passed around to all the team member.
Using tools like Dropbox can solve this problem as it allows storage of files in one cloud and updates any changes made by team members.
The hassle of sharing multiple files is avoided, and it saves a ton of time off everyone’s schedule.
Convenient Communication Channels for Effective Collaboration
Currently, Email is the primary platform for sharing and circulating company files and updates but due to the staggering amount of promotional and spam messages that one receives, scouring for direct files becomes time-consuming, hindering productivity.
To avoid this, people can opt for alternative channels that provide these features without distractions like ‘Slack.’
This tool can automatically filter out excess and unnecessary information and allows important messages to be seen.
Product manufacturers generally have to brainstorm ideas about coming up with modifications to current products or novel products, and these platforms provide an excellent medium to source their content.
Videoconferences for Better Inclusivity
A collaborative team can consist of multiple members who cannot access the workplace to be physically present. The reasons could range from non-flexible work hours to the inability to travel due to distance or health predicaments.
For example, in jobs requiring their employees to travel to far-off places, often like Journalists or Photographers, coming in to work at one specific location can prove complicated.
Video conferencing comes in handy to access these workers and keep them in the loop for better participation and attaining maximum contribution from their end.
Hot-desking and Spatial Designing
It is beneficial for workers to interact with people outside of their workplace and departments. It helps with the fluidity and flexibility of the workplace and proves to be cost-effective for the company.
These locations can be libraries, cafes, hotels, or their homes.
Spatial designing in the workplace is also a pivotal component of productivity. Establishing a layout that encourages various departments to interact with each other can lead to and increase in creativity and boost workplace interactions.
For example, writers, bloggers, and people in similar professions can utilize their surroundings and interact with people to incorporate them into their work and draw inspiration.
Communication and Collaborative Tools
Collaborative tools keep track of tasks and projects and make tracking progress more effortless, and as a result, makes communication easier.
These are essential features that all tools offer; however when you factor in security, user interface quality, device compatibility, and costs, choosing the right tool becomes harder. 5 Tools to Execute Effective Collaboration
It is a popular collaborative and communicative tool that offers automatic cloud backup. This productivity app allows users to manage projects, share video and audio, and has integrated chat features.
A great alternative to Brief is Slack, a similar team communication tool with a broad user base.
The perfect tool to carry out team projects with an easy user interface. This project management app allows users to assign and organize tasks in the form of cards, is fully automated, and allows integration into other apps .
A team communication app that allows users to access audio and video features, schedule meetings and deadlines, and assign tasks. It allows real-time editing on MS Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.
It is a collaboration tool that offers high end-security using end-to-end encryption. This is a valuable tool for large organizations that require increased security. It features HD audio and video calls, secure file storage, and sharing.
Widely known for its features that allow users to easily manage and streamline tasks. It allows managers to identify tasks and projects at risk of not meeting deadlines and provides status updates on projects, making communication easier for everyone involved. The highlighted feature of app integration that works on all OS makes it an attractive platform.
An alternative to Asana is ClickUp, that is relatively complicated but has great discounts.
To evolve into the social beings that we are, communication has become second nature. To be effective at it you have to improve on certain characteristics which will set you apart in social and workplace settings.
With the technology that we have today, tools exist that allow us to work closely with others and make it easier to collaborate and achieve results.
In the end, the ability to communicate and collaborate is what ensures our constant evolution.