A few weeks ago, Mitch and I attended a seminar focused on communication within a team. The main speaker was Laura Boyd, the founder and CEO of Leadership Delta. To begin, Laura had all of us participate in an exercise that tested our individual perceptions of a story she told. Then, with the people next to us, she had us go through statements about the story and see if our answers changed. From a short exercise, we found that everyone perceives information differently, making it challenging to work as a group at times.
The next portion of her presentation focused on the definition of perception and the key learnings for understanding perception when working as a team. The main takeaways to remember when working with others is that people don’t see things the same way, different conclusions are drawn, and perceptions other than your own can still be right.
Laura also discussed the importance of face-to-face discussions vs. phone/email/text and the differences between one-way and two-way communication, which involves one of the hardest skills; to be actively listening. Listening is defined as the ability to accurately perceive a message conveyed by another person. To show the group or individual that you are listening, you should become actively involved in the conversation, avoid the temptation to evaluate, search for meaning in their message, and confirm your understandings with them. Those steps allow you to create a safe place for someone to feel comfortable when approaching you about any situation.
Here at City Wide, we utilize every form of communication every day. From internal communication within our own departments, ownership, department to department, and to the people doing the work out in the field.
Overall, being an effective communicator and active listener is crucial when working as a team or group. Although a lot of the information presented was familiar, these info sessions can provide a great opportunity to look in the mirror and make a focused effort to improve on some key items.