3 Communication Principles for Better Collaboration
November 12, 2019
Image from https://nam.edu/perspectives-2011-patient-clinician-communication-basic-principles-and-expectations/
A Slack survey of over six thousand workers found that no matter what country or industry one belonged to, “ease of communication” was cited as the top reason for good team collaboration.
While many of us may think of collaboration as a value to cultivate rather than a skill to develop, the fact it is teachable means sustained collaboration can be achieved if leaders and employees open themselves to learning the right communication techniques and principles.
If you’ve followed our blog, these communication principles are not new. They come up again and again because of how central they are to how we relate to and work with others.
1. Listen, don’t talk
It goes without saying that strong collaborative relationships are built on one forgotten skill: listening. So often we’re caught up with making our point or lodging a rebuttal, that we forget to truly take in others’ ideas. At the root here are often two self-deceptions— the belief that our ideas are better than others’, or the fear that by accepting others’ ideas, we’ll lose credibility on our team.
2. Embrace silence
Embracing silence takes mindfulness and discipline. Silence is not simply not talking—it’s self-detachment and listening with undivided attention. To embrace silence, learn to put your agenda aside; practice listening for understanding and accuracy; and focus on the content of what the speaker is saying, not necessarily their persuasiveness or delivery.
3. Practice empathy
One of the prerequisites for strong team collaboration is training your employees to be empathetic. That means coming into collaborative exercise with a belief that every person capable, creative, and fully invested. Communicating empathy can come in several ways. For one, abstain from quick or overly harsh assessment of someone’s ideas. Instead, tune in to their emotional state, and try to understand how they want to be understood. In general, teams that focus on empathy perform better than those where everyone wants to get their opinion out.