Team communication is often defined as the information and opinions that are shared in a group consisting of more than three members. The challenge often lies in conveying the same message across to everyone in the group. It is a very crucial feature for a team to function effectively and dynamically. Healthy team communication will eliminate many misunderstandings and frustrations which may otherwise arise within the team.
A functioning team, which possesses effective communication methods tends to be highly efficient and goal orientated. On contrast, a team that lacks effective communication skills can lack direction and encounters chaos in its functioning.
A good communication system also improves the confidence levels among the members and facilitates easy feedback mechanisms. Most of all effective team communication keeps the team members on track and enables them to work towards the same goal. Understanding the components and barriers of communication, as well as feedback are essential elements of effective team communication. Almost all aspects of team communication involve feedback – giving and receiving information about team-related issues.
Team Communication through feedback
Feedback is somebody’s opinion about something or somebody. It can be verbal and nonverbal (think of the raised eye brow for example!).
The process of seeking and receiving feedback is one of the most impactful ways for learning, measuring performance and achieving excellence. By seeking feedback we can check our own perception against the perception of others. It’s like a reality check.
Think of the world of performance: How does an actor achieve perfection in his role? By asking for and receiving feedback from the director. He may need a few takes to get it right, but by listening to and acting upon the feedback he can adjust his performance accordingly.
Feedback does not need to be uncomfortable if it is done cleanly and with good intent. Most of us don’t live in a feedback culture and we might have to ask for it specifically. Here are a few guidelines to get it right:
When giving feedback, it must be…
- Specific and include examples
- Done with positive intent
- Judgement free
- Factual, not emotional
When receiving feedback:
- Seek understanding and clarity.
- Don’t justify or blame.
- Say thank you.
DESC: A feedback model:
Describe what happened by giving examples.
Express how it made you feel.
Solutions: What I need you to do is…
Consequences of not doing it.
When we communicate with each other it is always subjective. As much as we can try to be objective, our personal experiences will influence the way we experience and interpret events. We are masters at sifting, deleting, distorting and generalising information.
This can be useful is some ways. Politicians are great at using artfully vague language by generalising. If you keep your speech as general as possible, you tend to encounter a more agreeable audience. The more specific you make your description, the less people will have encountered exactly the same experience and therefore they are more likely to disagree. Try it!
The same way we filter and store information in different ways, we also have preferences with regards to receiving information. Some people prefer to visually take in new information. If you have team members with this preference, you need to include pictures and graphics to demonstrate your point.
Other people prefer auditory information. Explaining to them or giving them a written piece of work will best get their attention and understanding.
Lastly, you might have some team members with a kinaesthetic preference for understanding the world. To get their approval, you will have to focus on, how it will feel to work in the team/on the project etc.
If you listen carefully to the language your team members are using, you can often have a good guess, what their preference might be. These are a few examples:
- Visual Language
- Auditory Language
- Kinaesthetic Language
- This looks great
- That sounds good
- That feels like the right thing to do
- I want to see more
- I want to hear more
- I want to get a feel for it
- What’s on the horizon?
- That rings a bell
- We’ve got to grasp it
- Let’s inspect that
- We need to amplify the point
- I’m touched by that
- I will illustrate my point
- Let’s make a noise about this
- We will handle it
If you want somebody to understand information quickly, make sure you present it in their preferred way using their language, not yours!
Team Communication with rapport
How can we gain rapport with another person?
How can we create a relationship of trust, understanding and responsiveness?
And how can we refine and improve this natural ability?
How do you know, when two people are in rapport?
Communication seems to flow when two people are in rapport and you may notice that they tend to match and mirror each other in posture, gesture and eye contact.
By matching and mirroring body language, breathing and voice (tonality, speed, volume, rhythm) you can quickly gain rapport.
- Health warning: Do it SENSITIVELY and WITH RESPECT!
Rapport allows you to build a bridge between yourself and the other person: you have some point of understanding and contact. With that established, you can start to change your behaviour and they are likely to follow. That way you will lead.
MATCH > PACE > LEAD = Rapport
P.S… also try mismatching: The most elegant way to end a conversation!
This was the best training event I have ever been on in 25 years of being with the bank.
Contact BTFI or email us at email@example.com if you would like to build an extraordinary team with building a team. As well as team communication we offer team motivation, leadership training and cultural change events. Richard Tyler can support your team events as a Business Speaker, Motivational Speaker and Facilitator.