Effective communication is essential to leading a team successfully. From a business perspective, effective communication may very well be the difference between obtaining or retaining clients and customers – or not. What about non-profits? Yup, communication is key here as well. Communication is important everywhere – business, non-profits, family, grocery store – everywhere. Communicating effectively to your team is just as important (more important?) as communicating with your clients, customers, and volunteers.
What is effective communication?
Effective communication is different from person to person and team to team, and really depends on the stage the team of people are in. Tuckman’s stages of group development of forming, storming, norming, and performing, increase the ease of effective communication over time. Teams in the forming stage need to communicate clearly, more frequently, and perhaps in more detail to ensure the message is understood. As the team grows together closer to the performing stage, each member learns how the other communicates, including body language, written, and oral communication, making communication easier and quicker.
At some point, teams may not even need to communicate as they are so in tune with each other that they know what the other is thinking or will do before it even happens. Military special operations units such as the Army Special Forces or Navy SEALS are a great example of this. A simple look, hand gesture, or mutual understanding of what to do in certain situations increases the ease of communication (of course these guys have trained for years together to get to this point).
But you don’t need to be a Navy SEAL to communicate effectively.
How do we communicate effectively?
Communicating effectively requires an understanding of what is being said. To ensure understanding, the communicator needs to confirm that what was said was actually heard. This can be done by validating what was said. There are many ways to do so, but these 3 are quite effective:
Next week I will discuss how this can help your team, grow your clients, and delight them with effective communication.