Oprah Winfrey once said, “Great communication begins with connection. What makes us different from one another is so much less important than what makes us alike—we all long for acceptance and significance. When we recognize those needs in ourselves, we can better understand them in others, and that’s when we can set aside our judgments and just hear.” Communication amongst teams is successful in organizations not necessarily when everyone agrees on every topic, but when the dialogue continues in spite of disagreements. The team members must recognize they are working toward a common goal and that everyone should have the opportunity to be heard. Teams can be successful and have disagreements so long as communication continues. It’s when the communication breaks down and stops that even the smallest of issues can bring down a team. Below are some common team communication struggles and how Best Corporate Events can help.
Sharing your ideas with your team is a vulnerable thing to do, that is hard for people to do. It comes with the inherent risk that our ideas will be rejected or looked down upon. Even so, teamwork and communication are all about creating an environment where everyone’s ideas and opinions are valued and heard. Like Oprah said in the quote above, “all of us long for acceptance and significance.” When people feel they are not accepted and that their contribution is not significant or valued, they will get defensive and shut down. They will lash out trying to force their opinion by silencing others, or they silence themselves and refuse to communicate to avoid judgment by others.
Best Corporate Events’ “Total Recall” team building communication activity helps teams improve their skills in communication by setting clear role expectations. In this activity, teams of 5 attempt to recreate a small structure that only one of them can see by using clear, concise communication. Each team member has a defined role and must communicate clearly, asking clarifying questions of one another to complete the structure. This activity can significantly increase a team’s ability to communicate clearly and work through defensiveness.
Not Communicating Confidently
With communication and teamwork, it’s often not what you say, but how you say it that matters. A solid, sincere idea can be discounted if it’s communicated without confidence. An idea doesn’t necessarily have to be fully formed nor does the presenter have to have all of the information before he or she can communicate that idea confidently. The one expressing the idea does, however, need to feel confident that the team accepts he or she and that his or her contribution is valuable.
Teams who are struggling to present their ideas clearly and confidently or just want to improve their presentation skills should consider taking Best Corporate Events’ “Presentation Skills Training.” This training will enable team members with the skills to present their ideas clearly and powerfully.
Diverse teams can provide for greater innovation and perspective, but they can also provide for greater conflict as different personalities collide. Members of a team don’t have to be best friends, but they do need to be able to get along and work together. While different personalities can cause individuals to struggle to understand others’ points of view, they can also be a great asset to a team as each personality type comes with its strengths and inherent talents. All personality types can work together if they have a common goal and strive to understand each others’ point of view.
Knowing what type of personality each team member has can help the team better understand each others’ tendencies and strengths and thus work together better. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test can be a great way of doing this. Doing the MBTI test with your team though without the help of a professional who understands the meanings of the results can result in team members profiling one another or feeling like they’ve being given a label. A professional from Best Corporate Events will guide your team through the test and help each team member see the strengths that he or she brings to the team and realize the increased understanding that can come to a team as they understand each others’ personality preferences.
Communication and teamwork ultimately come down to recognizing that everyone is united in wanting the team to be successful. The willingness to communicate is all that is needed for successful team communication. After that, developing greater communication skills will increase the speed at which that successful communication happens. Communicating clearly, listening without getting defensive, speaking with confidence, and understanding the strengths and characteristics of all personality types can help a team reach its potential and achieve the synergy that’s only possible in a true team.