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Communication Skills

We communicate with other people almost every day of our lives — whether it's face to face, verbally, or in written form. Communication is simultaneously our greatest asset towards cooperation, and our biggest stumbling block to working effectively together. Often, by focusing on some core principles of effective communication, teams are able to work together more productively.

Primary Goals can provide the training, exercises, and modeling necessary to increase the communication skills within your organization or team.

Within the field of Information Technology, one often finds highly skilled, technically competent individuals who still lack expertise in communication. When these individuals get promoted to lead or management positions, those problems are only compounded.

As an extreme example, one could look at the Tower of Babel as a project that failed because of a lack of effective communication between enormous numbers of skilled craftsmen.

The construction of the tower of Babel, by Hendrick III van Cleve
The Construction of the Tower of Babel,
by Hendrick III van Cleve

Interpersonal Gaps

Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for effective communication. Instead, it involves applying a moderate number of basic skills consistently, including the ability to recognize and close the gap between any message that one intends to deliver, and the actual message that was received (i.e.: The Interpersonal Gap). There is more to this than merely asking for a paraphrase of what was heard, though that is indeed part of it.

Interpersonal Gap

 

Feedback

Equally important to effective communication is an ability to give and receive feedback, and to foster an environment where feedback becomes the norm. Despite what most of us were taught in grade school, the sandwich method of feedback is generally not effective with adults.

The key to effective feedback is to develop an ability to differentiate between behavioral descriptions of what we see or experience, and the evaluations or judgments that we have about that behavior. Giving feedback based on behaviors is "clean," whereas feedback based on judgments (and we all have them) tends to get messy and uncomfortable.

Primary Goals can help foster an environment where feedback becomes easier by facilitating a series of exercises that show how critically important feedback really is and how to deliver it well. Increasing this skill within your organization becomes a tremendous asset for ongoing performance improvements, and can also help with staff retention issues.