Effective Team Member Communication

There are three elements to effective team member communication:

  1. Willingness to talk and share information and effectively presenting your point of view. This involves several factors: personal styles (extraversion and introversion), trust that the information will not be used in a negative way, lack of politics or belief that information is power that would inhibit sharing information, and effort on the part of the speaker to de-personalize issues that would otherwise create defensiveness. Extraverted and introverted people need to recognize their style differences and how it will affect communications. Introverted people will need to have their viewpoints drawn out.
  2. Active listening. Guidelines for active listening are:
    • Ask other’s opinions about a subject before you present yours
    • Be prepared; think things out before speaking
    • Address one issue at a time
    • Use a positive or neutral tone of voice
    • Focus on the issue, not the person
    • Avoid blanket, know-it-all statements, loaded words and hyperbole
    • Keep your cool and don’t lose your temper.
    • Show an interest in the other person’s views and feelings
    • Don’t hide your feelings, but keep your emotions under control
    • Present concrete specifics instead of overriding generalizations
    • Back up your opinions with a few important key points
    • Portray what seems like an individual problem as a mutual concern
    • Avoid a hidden agenda and the potential to politicize an issue
    • Find the areas of agreement as the basis for collaboration.
  3. Understanding. Because the receiver thought he or she heard the message, it does not insure that the message was correctly received. Often, it is important to check that the message was properly received in order to a.) verify its accuracy and b.) to confirm to the speaker that you in fact received and understood the message.