Companies waste a disturbing amount of time and brain power by participating in communication processes which are ineffectual and unproductive. Altassian revealed that the average worker checks their email 36 times an hour and that it takes approximately 16 minutes to refocus after each check, loosing you 10 IQ points per day (the equivalent of a missed night’s sleep). They also uncovered that a shocking 31 hours a month on average are lost to unproductive meetings! So how do you stop work being so unproductive? The answer is working on communication. Once you admit the processes used to enable smooth communication are broken you can start rebuilding them. Here are 4 revolutionary team-building games designed to improve communication inside and outside of your organization.
Whether it is fear of speaking up in front of your superiors, lacking clarity in your thoughts or not wanting to voice an unpopular opinion: your inability to speak your mind during the time of the meeting is probably costing your company a lot in time and money. A recent Harvard Business Review article advised meeting leaders to establish each meeting with the rule ‘Silence denotes agreement’. And that is to stop the frustrating experience of thinking an idea is agreed upon during a meeting only to have a series of employees expressing their concerns or dissent individually after the meeting. This late response costs companies time, money and morale as much needed change is caught up in individual meetings and disgruntled emails.
Speak up speak out: providing the tools to speak your mind
For some, speaking up is second nature, but for others the idea of filling that silence with a half-formed criticism is quite scary, particularly if he or she feels subordinate to others in the meeting. So how do you start? Speak Up Speak Out is a unique and valuable communication exercise, which encourages teams to stand by their points of view and express them in a non-confrontational way. It is great practice to perform this activity with your team starting off with issues not connected to your company to gain practice in the art of speaking your mind. Often in meetings the proposal/concept has just been presented not allowing you to have a fully formed thought on the matter, a good way to buy time is to incorporate a few go-to phrases before expressing your thought:
- ‘May I express my thoughts on this matter?’
- ‘I have a few concerns about this’
- ‘Can we come back to this issue at the end of the meeting I have some concerns but I need a bit of time to gather my thoughts’
Business communication is different to general communication. To ensure that no misunderstanding exists you must be very concise and efficient with your words. Unfortunately a lot of us are specialists in waffling on or avoiding saying what we mean due to fear of sounding impolite or being wrong. Effective Communication draws out the actual meaning of communication and how to use it as a tool to improve your performance and the performance of your company. It involves personality assessments so individuals can identify what their preferred method of communication is and what their filters to effective communication are. The training course even analyzes your tolerance for disagreement and how this could be hindering your communication skills.
The idea of performing a business negotiation makes most people nervous, which is understandable as there is a lot riding on them and there is emphasis on ‘winning’. The key to any negotiation is preparation and practice – hence why the training and development course Negotiation Skills is so vital. This course helps people practice the essential elements of negotiation, developing an effective plan for the negotiation, drawing out information from the other party, minimizing conflicts and deadlocks, establishing common ground in the face of hostility and maximizing closure opportunities.
Good communicators adapt to the other person’s flow seamlessly and effortlessly, even better communicators emit such a strong, warm energy that others adapt to their flow. Judy App’s author of the Art of Conversation describes these conversationalists as radiators as they leave their conversation partner feeling energised and happy from the interaction. Body language is as important to good communication as speech. When two people are in a good flow you will notice that their body language matches, if one is leaning in so is the other, if one is energetically speaking with their hands so is the other. This can even work in over-the-phone communication. If you are struggling to end a phone conversation the physical act of standing up will bring a change in your energy and make closing the conversation easier. There is no better way to learn matching another’s rhythm than with music. Revel Music, an energizing corporate event sees teams of hundreds make complex rhythms with drums and other percussion instruments. Revel music teaches the skill of getting into flow whilst being incredibly fun and invigorating.
Exercises in the workplace to promote open communication
Communication is a process that you should always be optimizing. Sometimes the technologies that promise to help, end up hindering your in-office communication. You need to have strict parameters on these technologies in order to make your team more productive. But most importantly you should constantly work on your own team’s internal communication to make for a more efficient, honest and powerful team. If you would like to discover what other team building events we have targeting communication, contact us for more information.