Effective Communication Is an Essential Element of Effective Teamwork

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As more companies become bicoastal and even international, the working team has evolved to fill many roles. The advent of email and conference calls has had both positive and negative affects on the ability of teams to work efficiently. Using instant messaging programs can narrow the seemingly insurmountable gap between team members working together across town or across continents. Clear communication within that team is an integral component to overcoming the loss of nonverbal communication within virtual teams just as clear communication joined with nonverbal communication and inflection are indispensable within face-to-face teams. Well defined goals, trust, and clear conversation are vital aspects of team communication, without which teams can become ineffective.

Every team has a goal. Sporting teams want to win an event, debate teams want to prove a point, and work teams need to finish a project within a deadline. While the final goal is essentially the primary objective of a team, checkpoints and team meetings are often required to make sure the team is on track to reaching its goal. When a football team’s coach calls a time-out, this is often used as an opportunity for the team to regroup and make decisions on their next play. This parallels conference calls and scheduled meetings in the work environment. A team that clearly defines short-term goals necessary to meet its objective is better prepared than a team working without these specific goals. Pat Perry (2006) describes teamwork as a Viking ship, (which require the collective efforts of many workers), without a well coordinated effort maintained by clear communication, the ship would move in circles, never reaching its port of call. Perry describes how many people working as individuals towards a common goal are ultimately ineffective without the communication and direction given to them to work together as a team (2006). Cullen Scott (2007) stated when referencing a Microsoft survey, “unclear...
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