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Is Communication Training Worth the Investment?

by Patrick Bosworth

Why Communication is Important

Organizations understanding that each team member has a different communication pattern and that each of these communication patterns is “good” and is primed for success.

You can’t conduct business without words. That’s not a miraculous discovery–we’ve known communication is important to business for centuries. We know that when we communicate better within an organization we have improved conflict resolution, better interpersonal relationships, and more engagement with clients or customers. We know that it leads to more effective delegation and happier employees, and that it increases trust and confidence between employees and leaders.

But does that manifest into measurable business impact? More and more studies are showing that effective communication and communication-related skills contribute to some of an organization’s most important KPIs, including profitability, productivity, and client engagement.

If your team doesn’t consider communication a priority, you may be missing out on more than just “feel goods.”

After decades of experience interacting with thousands of teams in hundreds of industries, consulting with some of the best leadership development minds in the industry, pouring over thousands of pages of research and studies related to organizational psychology and leadership, and years of corporate experience in a multitude of industries, we’ve experienced first-hand the impact that team communication training can have as a transformational tool within an organization.

In fact, effective communication and its application in skills such as motivating employees to take action, driving outcomes, and building relationships with trust and transparency, can contribute to as much as a 22% increase in productivity, a 48% increase in profitability, and a 19% decrease in employee turnover.

What’s the problem?

What’s slowing down your progress or causing contention in your workplace?

  • Do your leaders feel like they get let down when they delegate important assignments?
  • Do your employees prefer working individually instead of in teams?
  • Do you sometimes feel shut down by higher-ups, or like they’d rather run a dictatorship than listen to contributing ideas?
  • Are there people in your company that you or others avoid because they are “strong” personalities or “too chatty?”
  • Do you get frustrated when employee reports or leadership direction is too anecdotal/qualitative as opposed to numbers-driven/quantitative (or vice versa)?

The problem likely isn’t a lack of effective delegation or a need for team building workshops or stricter report guidelines.

Symptoms like these are typically due to a lack of understanding team members’ personal communication patterns, and using that information to communication more consciously and effectively within the organization.

What are personal communication patterns and why do they matter?

Most of us have taken a personality test at some point in our lives. The results of these tests usually give us a “personality type” or other identifier (think Myers & Briggs).

A communication assessment is no different. The assessment is usually a collection of questions, usually taking no more than 5-10 minutes to complete, that tells you what type of communicator you are. It typically takes into consideration two important communication factors: your assertiveness (high vs. low) and responsiveness (high vs. low).

Knowing your communication pattern can give you personal insight into your interactions. For example, perhaps your pattern will reveal that you are “Amiable,” and therefore like to know how certain actions will benefit your team as a whole or how your work is contributing to the organization. This information might help you be more aware that your enjoyment of a project increases when you ask questions about how it will affect the team/organization. Or perhaps you realize you’re “Expressive” and feel frustrated or put-off when meetings or one-on-ones get straight to business instead of allowing for a little small-talk and personalization. This would help you communicate your needs more effectively to leaders in your organization.

Would you like to learn more about our Award Winning Team Communication Program?

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While it’s important to know how we communicate, it’s even more important–especially in business–to be able to identify how others communicate. This powerful information drives understanding, expectations, and trust. Even more importantly, it puts all team members in a position (with the right support) to use the information on a daily basis to complete projects more efficiently, resolve challenges more effectively, sell or market more powerfully, utilize each other’s skills more actively, and ultimately drive an increase in efficacy, productivity, and profitability.

Leadership development and corporate research organizations everywhere regularly analyze the traits of effective organizations, cultivating an understanding for what makes teams and leaders great. While there is some variety in which traits/skills, exactly, are the most important to organizational success, one analysis is clear: almost every trait related to high-performing organizations corresponds with effective communication between team members.

How do team communication skills help achieve higher profitability (up to 48%) and higher productivity (up to 22%)?

The short answer is that when people understand each other and communicate better, they perform better. There is less guesswork and interpretation, fewer hurt feelings or misunderstandings, and better informed interactions.

The longer answer can vary between company to company. For instance, a SAAS company may have tension between analytical programmers and expressive salespeople that could be mitigated if expressives understood that the analytical communicators need a little time to consider information/problems before discussing resolutions. This allows them to adjust their expectations accordingly. Similarly, analytical programmers would recognize that processing time doesn’t come naturally to high-assertive, high-responsive expressive and would communicate their need for time.

There are some benefits of greater communication skills that affect every company, regardless of industry:

More effective delegation

One of the greatest assets to a companies is their leaders’ ability to delegate. This is important not only because it frees up leaders to do higher level strategy and projects; it also helps develop team members into higher performing individuals with skills that continue to advance and develop into higher performing teams.

When leaders are aware of each of their team members’ communication patterns, the leader is better able to draw out the talents these team members possess. It helps the leader understand which qualities may not yet have had an opportunity to surface, and which skills may have been hidden because a team member is “low assertive.”

Higher employee engagement

Better communication within a team means there is less conflict, improved understanding, and greater trust and confidence. In an environment like that, it’s no wonder employees begin to feel more engaged in the team’s performance. Employees also feel they have more buy-in within the team and are more eager to elevate the team to success.

Customer engagement

When a team takes part in a group communication training program, they apply those communication skills not only within the team, but also with interactions between clients or customers. Whether your team includes customer service or sales, this means customers feel more understood and like their needs are better being better met. It also means reduced conflict, stronger connections, and increased confidence in your team members.

Tactical influencing

In every organization, it’s important for ideas to be explored and progressed to make way for innovation and growth. However, as anyone who has experienced the “too many cooks in the kitchen” stage of innovation can attest, it sometimes takes skills of influencing and compromise to achieve progress. When teams understand each others’ communication patterns, this knowledge becomes a decoding tool or magic key empowering more effective means for influence and change management.

Whatever your communication pattern is, it’s the “best” one.

Organizations understanding that each team member has a different communication pattern and that each of these communication patterns is a “good” one are primed for success. This information helps high-performing teams find greater profitability, productivity, and employee engagement than those organizations that try to standardize communication or interactions.

Every communication pattern comes with unique strengths that, when understood and utilized, can help your team become more well-rounded and achieve higher performance and success.