How We Communicate

Last edited 89 days ago by Janelle Engle
Poor communication kills remote companies. Co:Create wins if we communicate well.
The goal of this documentation to give an overview of the how, where, why and when we communicate and the tools we use to help facilitate that communication .
We are always looking for ways to improve upon this doc so please share any suggestions you have for something that you think we could be doing better.
Our Tools and How We Use Them - Summary
If the conversation is....
Short and asynchronous
A simple update
A time sensitive message/request
(@ the individual)
Asking someone to do a Task
Relates to a Task
Involves complex ideas, synchronously
Is a meeting that needs to be saved or share later
Involves complex ideas to be saved
Involves outside parties
There are no rows in this table
Async Communication
We are an async communication first company.
Async communication is communication that does not happen in real time. It allows remote team to get work done more efficiently by prioritizing heads down work rather than filling up the day with meetings.
In most cases, we work async when possible but there are a few things to consider when evaluating what should be done asynchronously vs. synchronously.
Simple vs. complex: How difficult is it to explain? Can you provide clarity easily without a discussion?
Low-stakes vs. high-stakes decisions: How important are these decisions? Who will they impact?
Few vs. many people involved: Who needs to be involved? Is it a cross-functional task?
Time-sensitive: Is this urgent? Is it a bottleneck for other tasks?
We use several tools to help aid in this overall mission of saving our team time and stress whenever possible and making it easy to determine the best way to communicate.
How We Communicate
Strong Verbs. Short Sentences. Right Place. Right time.
🤝 Learn Your Teammates Preferences
Successful communication is not easy to define because we acknowledge we all come from different backgrounds and have different needs when it comes to communication. That is why one of the most important communication docs is the How to Work with Me Manuals.
When communicating directly with a co worker take time to get to know their work style first by filling out the how to work with me manual and reading the rest of our teams.
📚 Apply Co:Create Principles
However, there are a few principles that we try to apply no matter what.
Before communicating using any of our tools at Co:Create, here’s a few things that should be top of mind whether you’re posting on Slack, starting a new doc in Coda or adding a task in Asana:
Actually Communicate. We foster a culture of autonomous work. To do that successfully, we must collaborate, give, and get feedback from each other early and often.
If it’s important, document it. You might notice Co:Create has a ton of documentation and that is not by accident. Writing helps everyone - including people who can reference later, or future employees who join years from now. Documentation doesn’t necessarily end at Coda docs either, a Loom video can easily document an important meeting that needs to be referenced later.
Never expect or require someone to get back to you immediately unless it’s time sensitive. Our goal is to allow team members to focus on their work and get into a state of flow. In cases of time sensitivity, slack the individual (and if in a group channel, @ the individual directly so they can easily see their direct messages or mentions without having to review all other channels.”
We care personally, and challenge directly. This one of our company values and is highlighted in all the communicating we do. Challenging each other is a sign of respect and all ideas are open to feedback and constructive construction. (Yes, that includes this doc!)
Communications stay attached to the thing we’re discussing. If talking about a To Do, talk about it on the Asana task, not on a separate slack channel. If we’re discussing a specific task, we use threads to discuss it below the message itself. If we’re talking about a specific document, we discuss it in the comments attached to the document, etc. This provides the full story in one reliable place.
Allow room and time for feedback. Be explicit with what you need feedback on, from whom and by when. Be thoughtful to provide individuals time to review given other tasks at hand. Conversely, we share openly so that others can comment, even when you do directly ask their opinion.
Focused time is the most important time. It’s okay to mute your notifications, ignore the unread messages and do some heads down work. Research shows that it takes around 30 minutes to refocus after you've gotten distracted. If someone’s not available it should signal that they’re working, not taking a break.
Think before you hit send. A golden rule since the early days of email but it’s important to keep in mind if your words can be misinterpreted, they will be understood in the way that does the most harm. With that in mind also try to read everything as someone having the best intention as possible.
Transparency and visibility are key. Communicate openly as much as possible in places everyone can access. We get all our thoughts and ideas out publicly, rather than in DMs later so we can all learn from them.
Share it all! The good, the bad, the ugly. From the smallest annoying glitch to the grandest futuristic innovative idea, we encourage everyone to share everything. This applies across all departments from new product bugs to better team bonding ideas. Share your ideas early, loudly and often!

Ways We Communicate
By referring to , you can see all the specific tools we use to help support in async communication. It’s important to not just have the tools but also be using them to our best abilities.

This entire guide was inspired by .

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