Helping groups understand how to improve communication skills is an integral part of the work we do at Kidbilly Music. Everyone’s personal style of communicating is different and reflects who they are. But even when there are many different styles within a company or a team, there’s always opportunity to create a culture for better communication to improve quality of work-life, trust and efficiency. Efficiency isn’t a fun sounding word, but as a life long creative given to easily digressing off topic, I can tell you that efficiency in communication can be a real time saver and help you stay focused. It’s as important as quality of life and trust within your working group.
My Top 3 Tips
- Good communicators listen – There’s noting more satisfying than feeling like we’re being heard when we speak. Not just heard in the physical sense, but understood. People who talk a lot aren’t always the best listeners, and people who talk a lot quite often end up in leadership positions. So it’s important for leaders to create an environment in which listening is as valued as speaking. One of the key strategies for learning how to improve communication skills is to communicate by listening. Be a receiver, rather than a broadcaster.
- Good communicators think before they speak – When it is time to speak, thinking before we speak is important. That may be an obvious tip, but it’s quite often a hard skill to cultivate. I led a music team building program for Piedmont Natural Gas last week. At one point early on, I stood in front of the group in silence, letting that silence become just a bit awkward. I then explained I was quietly thinking about the most strategic advice to give the group on how to move forward. I invited everyone to think about thinking quietly, before they offered opinion or advice. This takes a bit of confidence and practice but it’s well worthwhile.
- Create an environment in which it’s safe to express opinions – You can tell I’m big on two way communication as a foundation. Two way communication assumes that it’s safe for all parties to express honest opinions and expect that their opinions will be honored, not quickly dismissed. When we lead our team building through song programs, we stress that during brainstorming (group communication), it’s vital not to react judgmentally to other people’s ideas. This reinforces the concept of thinking before we speak, to make sure what we’re about to say is what we’d really like to say, and not just reactive.
Once You Know How To Improve Communication Skills
Once you begin to understand how to improve communication skills, you need a culture at work that reinforces this understanding until it becomes part of your group behavior. Create guidelines and practice with your colleagues.