Posted on January 22, 2021 by Delyth Morgan-Coghlan (Del)
In this blog we look at the challenges of team communication and ways in which team building can help develop those skills.
Probably the most frequent reason that misunderstandings happen in the workplace is due to lack of communication. It might be for a number of reasons - time pressures, lack of understanding, forgetfulness or even incompetence - but whatever those reasons are, it’s well documented that if the communication is right then teams are way more capable of achieving their goals and working effectively together.
A 2009 report by Watson Wyatt revealed that companies who communicate effectively had almost a 50% higher return to shareholders over a five year period so it’s worth investing in getting it right.
But there’s a lot more to communication than just saying the right thing at the right time in the right way. In the first instance teams must have openness, trust, aligned vision and understanding, little or no ego and courage. Communication can literally fall o deaf ears is the foundations are not in place. Call it selective hearing, ignorance or belligerence, these are typical behaviours of people who are not aligned and don’t yet trust each other.
So what can you do to train your teams in better communication? There are classroom activities, formal training programmes to focus on key communication workplace tools and styles but let’s not leave good communication to the internal comms team. This is about everyone communicating effectively across the organisation.
1. Face to face encounters. How often are your staff actually talking to each other face to face? In this day and age you’re more likely to be sending a message via txt, social media or heaven forbid, the old fashioned email! And most people know how badly things can be communicated and mis-interpreted on these channels. So make it a face to face between people and departments. It could be as simple as a morning tea, or part of a company briefing where the first 15 minutes is set aside for conversation. You can do this informally, i.e. let people mingle and talk to whoever they want. Or you can make it a fun, formal aspect of the get together where you challenge everyone in the room to say hello to at least 2 people that they don’t know, find out their name and what they do for the business. You’ll be amazed how many people who work for the same company don’t know each other at all so it’s worth it to see the difference it makes to the company over time.
2. Portraits. If you’re getting together with a small-ish group and want to make the getting to know each other fun and quick, try the portraits challenge. You can download it for free as an intractable from our site. It takes no more than 15 minutes and by the time you’ve finished, not only will people know each other a little better but they’ll find out new things about people they thought they already knew, which deepens the understanding between people within the company.
3. One of our favourite communication activities at Let Me Out is Fling It Darling! It’s a team challenge where four people work together to try and fling the ball, using a towel over a net and where the team or teams on the opposite side try and catch it and fling it back. It has way more than just communication in it, but communication is key. You can’t effectively move at the same time without communication and while most teams are useless at it when they start, you’ll soon see how good they can get after just a few minutes of communicating as a group.
People and companies that are bad at communication don’t always have to be that way. Communication is something that you can get better at with just a little bit of regular effort and attention.
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place"
If you want a team building challenge to help you get thing goings or to help your company take it to another level, we’re here to help at Let Me Out!
Contact us at any time to talk through your brief and see what we can do.