The stronger a team’s communication skills are, the better the outcome: studies have found that highly effective communicators are 32% more likely to meet the goals of a major project. This makes it crucial that we learn how to convey tricky but important messages in good time, with clarity, respect and patience.
In this two-hour session, we will:
• Consider barriers to good communication at work
• Learn how to “tune in” to the signals we are giving others and the way others may see us
• Practise listening better and asking the right questions
• Learn how biases can impede communication and how to spot potential communication pitfalls in advance
Communication is the skill of exchanging information effectively and making sure that this information is correctly understood by every involved party including oneself.
What characterises mastery of this skill?
Good communicators check in regularly to see if the other person has understood them. They are aware that they may carry assumptions that the other person doesn't, and vice versa. They try to be assertive. In offices where people communicate well they are direct about problems without an aggressive tone. Good communicators actively listen by asking reassuring questions, seeking eye contact, using nonverbal communication, waiting for their counterpart to finish speaking. At the end of a meeting, they might briefly sum it up in their own words just to be sure that they understood correctly. Their choice of words is conscious, polite and non-judgemental.
What characterises a lack of this skill?
Employees with a lack of communication skills often end up in misunderstandings or conflicts which could have easily been avoided. During conversations, they might not be able to divide their attention equally and struggle to find the balance between speaking and listening. Very quickly they assume to have understood their colleague’s or manager’s point and therefore tend to interrupt others while they are still talking. Because they tend to assume that communication works just fine, they often forget to ask reassuring questions. They also might find it difficult to distinguish between different levels of communication (e.g. emotion vs. information). Explicit discussions about communication styles might happen very rarely with employees lacking this skill.
"It was a reminder to listen, acknowledge and value others"
"I learned to think about the importance of timing and vulnerability"
"I was surprised at how much of a difference it makes to fully tune in and empathise"