The cost of poor communication in organizations is very high – mismanaged projects, missed deadlines, interpersonal conflict over miscommunications, low employee morale. It’s important to instill an organizational culture that values and encourages clear communication, and that begins with communication skills training for all employees. Teaching people at all levels to speak, write and listen with clarity, without distractions, and with respect is key to great organizational communication. Below are some communication skills training exercises you can use to get you started.
Communication Skills Training Exercise: There’s a Time and Place
Choosing the right timing and approach for your message is an important component of any communication. The wrong approach, method or timing can bury the message and intended result in noise and misunderstanding. Choosing the right time and place can make all the difference between failure and success. This activity helps learners take a moment and think about their communication – to make sure how and when their message is delivered matches what is being conveyed. When the topic is important, they’ll learn to put in extra time and effort to communicate effectively.
Communication skills video recommendation: Communication Counts: Speaking and Listening for Results
The exercise above is excerpted from the workshop that accompanies the Communication Counts video training program, which explores 6 keys to effective communication and shows how each of them can affect the success of an organization.
Communication Skills Training Exercise: Who’s Listening?
In this activity, learners are asked to think about the best and worst listeners they know, reflect on what behaviors contribute these designations, and then honestly rate their own listening abilities. Going through this process helps employees recognize the consequences of good or bad listening, as they reflect on how their job performance and the overall environment at work is affected by working with the good listener versus the bad listener they identified.
Sometimes it seems as if we don’t have choices, but usually we do. We can choose to focus our attention, to reduce distraction, and stop for a few minutes to sit down and listen. The benefit of one person’s ability to be an effective listener carries far beyond individual conversations.
Communication skills video recommendation: Nobody’s Listening
Listening with the intent to understand is important for communication among employees. This humorous program shows what happens when a busy boss doesn’t slow down long enough to hear what his employees are trying to tell him. Fortunately, he gets a “do-over,” and things improve.
Communication Skills Training Exercise: Deep Breaths
In today’s increasingly diverse workplaces, disagreements are to be expected and even, perhaps, encouraged, as diverse opinions and perspectives are a definite organizational advantage. Discussions that include disagreement require a bit of extra care. If not respectfully managed, these conversations can easily create tensions that become unproductive and have effects long past the initial conversation.
In this activity, participants are asked to record a few words or phrases they can say to themselves — and to the others involved — when they feel a conversation heating up and moving in an unpleasant and unproductive direction.
Communication skills video recommendation: The Respectful Communicator: The Part You Play
This program teaches people to confirm their understanding, care about the way they come across, communicate with decency, and value the input of others.