Whether you’re chatting on Slack or speaking face-to-face, every workplace interaction involves communication. And in a fast-paced eCommerce photo studio, doing it effectively is doubly critical if you want things running smoothly - and to deadline.
This blog post is a part of The Studio Manager Series.
Welcome to post number two in our Studio Manager series - where we guide you through some of the best practices we’ve come across in our work with studio managers and eCommerce photo studios.
In our last piece, we looked at how to build a strong, cohesive team for your photo studio. Now, it’s time to make sure that your team can communicate effectively! Read on for some smart communication techniques – and stay tuned for more exercises and best practices in the near future.
Why is Communication Important in a Studio Team?
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from speaking with photo studio managers around the world, it’s that effective team communication is critical to successful studio operations. It’s the glue that holds teams together and drives projects forward.
With clear studio communication, individuals understand their roles, expectations, and how their work contributes to the bigger picture. This results in higher levels of motivation, better decision-making, and stronger relationships between team members. Not to mention truly feeling like a part of the organization, rather than just a worker that happens to be in it.
You might have heard some of these tips before, but here's a refresher to help you embrace everything that is needed to create a stellar eCommerce photo studio.
How to Improve Communication Skills On Set
Defining roles and responsibilities is a necessity. It’s important to ensure that everyone on the team knows their roles, responsibilities, and who they should be communicating with regularly. This clarity helps prevent misunderstandings and ensures everyone is on the same page. Having it in writing could be a game-changer for many photo studios (just be wary of the dreaded phrase, “That’s not my job.”)
Use tools that streamline communication, such as project management and workflow software, video conferencing tools, and messaging platforms. These tools help keep everyone updated and provide a centralized space for information sharing. Remember that there’s a big difference between having these tools and using them.
Create a solid workflow that establishes protocols and standards for studio communication. These guidelines can include response time expectations, preferred channels for different types of team communication, and instructions on how to escalate issues. Again, having a standard will help everyone in the studio. Best scenario? Everyone is so on top of things that referring back to the guidelines isn’t necessary.
We asked Photo Studio Manager Morgan Talbot what his thoughts were on getting the best work, at the lowest price, as fast as possible from his studio. He said, “I focus on the relationships and communication, to be honest. Having the conversations with my team and asking them how we can accomplish those goals. I find if everyone is on the same page and there is respect and trust the rest falls into place.”
This all goes back to our last piece, how including regular check-ins and meetings with teams will improve communication and keep the doors open, allowing the team to share progress, updates, challenges, and ask questions. As much as possible, make sure that these meetings go both ways, allowing you to share information with your team and for them to share back.
And again, the open-door policy. Encourage a culture of open communication by being approachable and available for questions or concerns. This ensures that team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, ideas, and potential issues. A team that can share, even when it’s about a problem, will weather many more storms than those who battle alone.
Building Trust Through Good Team Communication
Communication builds trust and trust builds solid studios. Trust is a critical component of effective collaboration and they work hand in hand. Below are 3 exercises that can help your eCommerce photo studio build a solid trust foundation.
- Be transparent (as possible): Share information openly, including successes and challenges. While it may be hard to know exactly what needs to be shared, the more you can, the more your team will feel connected and trust you and the organization.
- Listen actively: For some of us, we’ll need to practice this one. Show that you value others' input by listening to their ideas and concerns without judgment. This fosters an environment where team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions, which also builds trust.
- Provide constructive feedback: The important word here is, “constructive.” Offer feedback that helps team members grow and improve, while also recognizing their strengths and achievements. Show your employees that they are an important part of the organization and their success is important to you.
This may feel out of place, but hear us out. Recognizing and celebrating successes is an essential aspect of effective team communication. It boosts morale, strengthens relationships, and reinforces a culture of collaboration. This can be done in a million different ways, but we’ve got a few for you to start the journey.
Simply share team and individual accomplishments during meetings and through internal photo studio communication channels. In larger eCommerce studios, there are times when some teams don’t know what other teams are doing, so sharing the accomplishments of the teams not only helps praise what the teams are doing but generally helps to improve communication.
Acknowledge hard work and achievements. Make sure that you’re not only sharing what’s being done, but telling the teams, both publicly and privately, that their work is appreciated. Knowing which employees like public versus private validation is something you can ask and learn over time.
And finally, encourage peer recognition. Whether it’s in person, through social posts, or in meetings, create opportunities for team members to recognize and appreciate each other's contributions. Nothing supports a strong internal work culture like a team that praises each other. On top of raising morale, it creates a supportive environment for the team.
Effective studio team communication is crucial for establishing clear channels for internal and external collaboration. By defining roles and responsibilities, utilizing appropriate tools, creating studio communication guidelines, and building trust, teams can work together more efficiently and effectively.
Make sure to remember that celebrating success is an essential aspect of communication and does wonders for fostering a positive and collaborative culture.
Want more tips for fostering a strong eCommerce photo studio team? Stay tuned for our next post, where we’ll dive deeper into best practices for successful teamwork.
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