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Month: October 2015

Replacing But…

The purpose of this team communication exercise is for participants to learn how easily the word “but” can interfere with constructive feedback by creating defensiveness, even when they mean well. They will also learn to replace “but” with “and.”

Use this practice when:

  • Feedback is not being received very well.
  • Individuals feel like others are not listening with open minds.
  • You don’t have prep time and/or materials for anything more elaborate.

Here’s how:

  • Have participants pair up.
  • Each participant has 30 seconds to think of something she likes about the other’s outfit and one way the outfit could be improved.
  • The first participant tells the other what she likes first, then says, “but. . .” and finishes the sentence with how it could be even better.
  • The other participant then does the same to the first participant.
  • Now have each participant repeat what she just said, replacing ”but” with “and.”

For example:

  • “I like that tie, but it would bring out your blue eyes better if it was red.”
  • “I like that tie, and it would bring out your blue eyes better if it was red.”
  • “That is a nice dress, but you would look even more professional if you had earrings, too.”
  • “That is a nice dress, and you would look even more professional if you had earrings, too.

Ask these questions:

  • How did it feel to hear “but?” (Annoying, defensive, insincere, etc.) How did it feel to hear “and?” (Helped, respected, supported, etc.)
  • What does “but” usually mean? (Disregard what you just heard, because here is the real truth.)
  • Why do we say “but” so often when giving suggestions or feedback?
  • What implications does this have for us back on the job?

Tips for success:

  • Share an example to give participants a sense of how the statements should sound.
  • Make sure all pairs have finished their “but” statements before giving the cue to make the “and” statements.
  • Point out that the word “but” usually negates everything that precedes it.

Try these variations:

  • The more personal the feedback, the better. If the group is uncomfortable giving feedback on each other’s outfits though, select something else, such as the coffee in the lunchroom, a movie they have both seen, and so forth.
  • After the meeting, ask for feedback on the meeting without the “but.” (I liked that we had an agenda, and next time I hope we can stick to it better.)
  • If the group is comfortable giving feedback to each other already, have them do it on their recent job performance rather than their outfit.
  • Add an element of fun to this activity by starting with participants making something creatively (with clay, markers, balloons, building blocks, etc.), and then give the feedback to each other about the creation rather than their outfits.

 

Source: Miller, Brian. Quick Team-Building Activities for Busy Managers. New York: AMACOM, 2004. Print.

Cultivating characteristics of a successful team, in an office atmosphere that encourages productive, satisfactory work can be challenging for any entrepreneur.

Everyone has different ways they work and different strengths and weaknesses. It’s hard to find a suitable one-size-fits-all approach that works for everybody. It takes great leadership to build great teams. You need leaders who are not afraid to course-correct, make difficult decisions and establish standards of performance that are constantly being met – and improving at all times.

Whether in the workplace, professional sports, or your local community, team building requires a keen understanding of people and their strengths. What gets your team excited to work with others? It requires the management of egos and their constant demands for attention and recognition – not always warranted.

Developing a successful, high-performance team is both an art and a science, and the leader who can consistently accomplish this are invaluable.

Here are three essential traits for a successful team:

  1. Listener

listen_33014

For communication, this is the cream of the crop! Giving someone your full attention gives the speaker a sense of worth and support for their values, experiences, feelings or ideas. Powerful bonds are formed this way.

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway

  1. Inspirational & Motivational to Others

Be a true visionary! Don’t be focused on temporary setbacks, see the big picture. Drive for success, painting a clear picture of your goals and be able to effectively communicate them with your team.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

  1. High Integrity and Honesty

integrity

Never compromise your values by cheating. Lead by example, walk the walk of your talk. Be willing to respectfully listen, discuss and speak up, even when issues are challenging or unpopular. Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” –  C.S. Lewis

Communication and active listening will never go out of style!

Here’s an excellent team icebreaker that will boost essential traits that successful companies and teams reflect!

Me, Myself and I

Purpose:

  • Participants see how often their communication is centered on themselves.

Use this when:

  • Individuals need to improve their communication skills to focus less on self and more on others.
  • Individuals need to focus on listening skills.
  • Individuals need to practice creativity (around communication techniques).
  • You don’t have prep time and/or materials for anything more elaborate.

No materials are necessary for this activity

Here’s how:

  1. Have the participants pair up.
  2. One partner begins speaking for 3 minutes nonstop. He must continue talking, no pauses.
  3. He may speak about any topic or several topics.
  4. He may never use the word “I.”
  5. The listening partner may not speak at all, not even to ask questions or say “uh-huh.”
  6. After his 3 minutes, reverse roles, and repeat.

Ask these questions:

  • Which role was easier for you, the speaker or the listener? Why?
  • How did you feel listening without being able to ask questions or contribute your own thoughts? (Left out, less connected, more focused on the speaker, etc.)
  • How did you feel speaking without being able to check in with your listener? (Worried that he was not understanding or did not care, uncomfortable with the attention on me, enjoying the attention and focus, etc.)
  • How difficult or easy was it to keep talking nonstop? Why?
  • What creative ways did you find to talk about yourself without using “I?”
  • How can we phrase our communications to focus better on the other person.
  • What implications does this have for us back on the job?

Tips for success:

  • Be prepared to demonstrate a portion of a 20-minute monologue without using “I” if the group demands it. Have the group try to catch you using an “I.”
  • Give a 30-second warning before the play ends.

Try these variations:

  • Add a get-to-know-you element by having them determine who is the first speaker and listener by who is oldest, who lives furthest from your location, who has the next birthday, the cutest pet, is most physically fit, and so forth.
  • Extend the speaking time to 5 minutes to make it more difficult.
  • Add competitiveness by allowing the listeners to gain two points for each time the speaker says “I” and one point when they pause more than 5 seconds. Be prepared with small prizes for the winner(s). During the debrief, ask how the competitiveness impacted the activity.

 

Source: Miller, Brian. Quick Team-Building Activities for Busy Managers. New York: AMACOM, 2004. Print.

 

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    Programs can be delivered anywhere in North America.

    We have been working on improving our website. If you experience any difficulties with our forms, please let us know at sales@bestcorporateevents.com.

      If you have immediate questions, please contact us at:

      Phone: 800.849.8326
      Email: Sales@BestCorporateEvents.com

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