The root of many problems lies in poor communication. It can lead to failures, issues of consistency, dispute, deadlines missed, and opportunities lost. That’s why helping people develop their communication skills can often pay off.
One way to handle this is to take advantage of successful team-building exercises. Not only can these improve the communication skills of people, but they can also help them build trust and develop good relationships with each other.
Remember, we live in a society powered by knowledge, where communication dictates how quickly we learn.
Cooperation and teamwork drive how we work together beautifully, and how we work together can decide our competitive advantage. On the human level, our social networks play a huge part in our work satisfaction and well-being.
We can brush it off as too soft and fluffy, or we can accept contact as one of the keys to an emotionally smart workplace.
However, because the way we get along is so central to corporate progress and human flourishing, the latter is concentrated in many more businesses.
What are Communication Exercises and Games?
Communication is usually seen as a’ soft’ skill— because it’s not easily quantifiable. It is subjective as compared with gains, losses, and even risk unless it is either horrible or completely absent.
Communication exercises and games are interactional practices aimed at developing how we respond to each other, including how we communicate and get along with each other.
These can be one-on-one exercises or team exercises, but the aim is the same: these help us develop our interpersonal skills and strengthen our relationship ability.
Tips for Enhancing Communication Skills
For some more reinforcement of what we described earlier as primary communication skills, we can also look at the business literature.
To break these down into tips, here are four fairly broad ways we can improve our communication skills to enhance our productivity and well-being.
Work on Your Emotional Perception
Emotional awareness is a key component of the emotional intelligence system of Mayer, which Salovey, and includes the ability to read non-verbal signs of others as well as their possible moods.
At the individual level, we can use this EQ ability intentionally to gauge how others feel.
Nonverbal conduct is important and the way we talk. Different studies differ on just how much of our intended message (and credibility) is non-verbal, but it is, without doubt, significant.
When the words we speak convey one meaning, and our body conveys another, we risk misunderstanding and potentially put our intended impact at risk.
To improve our influencing skills and the consistency of our working relationships with others, it helps to practice being mindful of your nonverbal behaviors.
Give Others a Chance to Engage
Communication is, at the very least, a two-way street. And as more than one collaborative researcher in intelligence has found out, teams are more than the sum of their parts.
When we come together as human beings, we need an opportunity to communicate almost as much as we need our individual’ smarts’ because it’s all about social sensitivity— emotional awareness.
Speaking is essentially a form of content delivery, and unless we listen, it is not communication. Active listening means communicating with our colleagues and bringing empathy to the table to improve the quality of our conversation.
Sometimes referred to in tandem with’ reflective interrogation,’ it includes’ restating a paraphrased version of the message of the speaker, asking questions where necessary and maintaining moderate to high nonverbal participation in the conversation.’
It allows us to build more transparency, to make information more effectively, and to improve our relationships in the workplace through empathic engagement.
Activities to Improve Communication Between Employees at the Workplace
Since communication is so multifaceted, we’ve included a selection of different forms of interaction. These interpersonal, as well as team communication games, cover topics such as misinterpreting information, being mindful of our assumptions, and involving others.
This practice on Chinese Whispers is a slight twist in that it uses a complicated set of instructions rather than just a single sentence. And here, instead of a whole chain of people, we have one connection.
Otherwise, the principle is the same— information gets misinterpreted due to noise, but to mitigate this chance, we should improve our verbal communication and listening abilities.
Next, select a game that contains enough instructions to memorize the details. Select one person (a speaker) with 2 + coworkers to whom you will clarify the instructions. They must pass on the details to the rest of their team.
Here is an exercise on clarifying the pivotal role. It goes without saying when it comes to tasks and goals that consistency helps one escape tons of unwanted stuff.
And clarification plays a bigger role when it comes to our positions more broadly; in essence, under the Work Demands-Resources model, it is a psychological tool.
Succinctly, uncertainty is leading to tension, and transparency is empowering— something that’s easy to overlook, and this game reminds us.
Any number of colleagues will take part in this very simple game of mime. For people to act out, you’ll need a list of topics, and then invite players to break up into two classes.
They’ll take turns in these pairs being a mime and being an applicant. The mime reads the card, then makes an attempt to act out what’s on it. While the inquirer can ask questions, the mime may rely on their answers only.
Let’s Face It
It is an exercise from The Big Book of Games for Conflict Resolution is about self-consciousness. How much of a part does it play, and how does it affect our communication?
For this game, there is no limit to group size, which only needs enough pens and paper for everyone. It doesn’t take too long, either, and can be played in as little as ten to twenty minutes— perfect for breaking the day.
Start with groups of between four and ten players; somebody will need to participate as a facilitator in each of these. The facilitator keeps the game on track, and afterward gets the discussion going.
Every player writes emotion feelings on a small piece of paper, folds it, and passes it on to the facilitator for voluntary work.
They take from him or her piece that someone else has written and attempt to convey that feeling to the rest of their group— using their facial expressions only. The other participants are trying to guess this emotion, and this should lead to a debate on the position of expressions.
Active Listening Games along with Exercises for the Workplace
Through listening actively, we will strengthen our comprehension of the experiences of other people. Practicing it with others during our interactions helps us to affirm their emotions and potentially avoid the burden of misunderstandings.
Exercises that improve our active listening skills help us communicate better, where possible, through empathy, body language, and non-judgment.
Active listening games can have a positive impact on our relationships by motivating us to pursue specific techniques, and these find support in the scientific literature as well.
This large group exercise works better when you have a subject already for discussion.
During inclusive planning sessions, it is used a lot where diverse opinions are important, but the size of the team can hamper rather than encourage good communication. Everyone has a handout for this exercise that sums up the goals of the discussion.
There are two circles of chairs in place, one inside the other. Participants sitting in the middle are’ talkers,’ while those in the outer ring are’ watchers,’ and before the exercise, these positions should be assigned.
Equipped with their handouts, the speakers start engaging with the subject. They use the targets as a dialogue guide, while the watchers listen attentively and make notes.
The watchers and talkers turn groups after fifteen minutes of discussion— those who were listening before now sit for a fifteen-minute conversation in the inner circle. It can be on a pre-selected subject or another.
Here’s another exercise for speakers and listeners, which can be performed in pairs. This can be done multiple times in a larger group of participants as the player’s pair of different partners in conversation.
And team members should, of course, take turns to be listeners and talkers in every pair.
The speaker describes their three-minute dream vacation, explaining what they want most about it but without stating where it should be. The listener pays close attention to the overt and implicit information as they speak, using only non-verbal signals to indicate that they are listening.
After the 3-minute holiday, the listener sums up the key points of the dream vacation of their conversation partner— like a vacation sales pitch. The group explores how well the audience heard the speaker after they’ve’ pitched’ the perfect holiday spot in a period of a few minutes.
They explain how they could develop their active listening conversation, and then switch positions.
A variation on this team coaching exercise may include asking the listener to make notes during the explanation of the speaker, showing them only after they give the’ sales pitch’ as a point of discussion.