What I Learned on the Challenge Course: Better Communication

CommunicationCommunication: it’s one of the building blocks of any good relationship. This is just as true in business as it is in our personal lives. In fact, according to Talent Management, 86% of employees blame lack of collaboration for workplace failures. And a lack of collaboration most often stems from a lack of – you guessed it – communication. Good, effective communication ensures better collaboration, which means better productivity, which means you are one happy employer.

“Effective internal communications can keep employees engaged in the business and help companies retain key talent, provide consistent value to customers, and deliver superior financial performance to shareholders,” according to the Watson Wyatt Effective Communication 2009/2010 ROI Study Report. Watson Wyatt Worldwide, Inc., a global consulting firm, merged with Towers Perrin in January 2010 to form Towers Watson. Between 2004 and 2009, companies with strong communication had a 47% higher return to shareholders.

According to studies conducted by MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory, communication is one of the most important factors of any successful team. In fact, they found that successful teams share several characteristics:

  1. Communication is a two-way street, so everyone on the team talks and listens equally.
  2. Communication is brief. Don’t over-complicate things. Be concise and get to the point.
  3. Body language is important, so be mindful of your posture, facial expressions, and hand gestures. They say that 80% of communication is body language.
  4. Collaboration and communication is important for the entire group, not just leadership.
  5. Side conversations are not a deterrent, but a propellant. The more communication the better.
  6. Team members actively search for helpful information and share this with the team.

Does that sound like your team? If not, don’t worry. While good communication is not always natural, it can be learned, just like trust.

How the Challenge Course Encourages Better Communication

“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.”

- Rollo May

The ability to communicate clearly is critical  on so many levels, and yet it is something that many companies take for granted. While it may seem easy, effective office communication can take a bit of work. This is where Team Building comes into play. Working together on the challenge course, 30 feet in the air, is a great way to test and further develop communication. Team building exercises like those done at Terrapin Adventures encourage participants to get out of their comfort zone and break through communication barriers. Our facilitators actively work to break down those artificial silos that people operate in, forging important improvements in working relationships. Then, after each exercise, participants go through a debriefing session, where the facilitator applies the lessons learned on the challenge course to the challenges of the workplace. This is also an excellent time for feedback, an important tool when trying to improve communication.

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” – Bill Gates

One easy way to constantly improve communication and relationships is via feedback.  At the end of a conversation, provide good, positive feedback. Having such a feedback loop ensures that the receiver didn’t just get the message but understands the intent. Remember, every moment is a teachable moment and even criticism should be given in a positive way to ensure it is received properly.

I Learned How to Better Communicate on the Challenge Course

“This was a GRRRRREAT team building activity and I was extremely excited to be a part and felt kind of officially vetted into the CAP team. It was also good to chat with folks who I normally exchange pleasantries with but never have had a conversation with outside of the office environment. I think we realize what we share in common outside of the workplace and also learning about individuals backgrounds/experiences was interesting as well. I was also amazed and inspired by my teammates tenacity and strength throughout the day as he normally kept to himself, not to mention that he is on another work team. I also think another important benefit of the Terrapin Adventures beyond team building was the physical nature of the tasks that go people moving- physical fitness/health. I look forward to future activities

Teamwork gets the job done. Getting to know more about our teammates under stress helps us adjust ourselves. Constant two-way communication among team members solves problems quicker.”

- Participants from University of Maryland, Facilities Department, Capital Projects Group

“The first activity we participated in was the rear-window game, with the seekers, talker and the communicators. Our team struggled with mistakes but we learned the most from that experience. It had a strong lesson about needing to ensure the recipient of your communication knows what the intent is and what to do with the message. Once we changed positions, it was obvious that we all this meaning away with us. Another exercise was the whichit/whoosit activity. Everyone took this lightly, but the message at the end was profound and very in line with Boeing leadership values: concentrate on your own role and execute flawlessly.

We appreciate the opportunity for this adventure. Throughout the full experience, your facilitators were professional and supportive. They allowed us to be creative and fin our own way. At the end of the day, the importance of leadership, openness, trust, and creativity among the team shined through.”

- John Cave, Director Supplier Management, Boeing

“Matt, thank you. The team is still talking about their experience and making plans to come back with family and friends. I am seeing a difference in communication styles, smiles and overall improved interaction with the team. I am sure you will see more teams soon. We have also been using the “chicken wings” to huddle and discuss matters.”

- Bonne Rampesaud, Executive Director -Department of Health -DC Board of Allied & Behavioral Health

 

Improve Office Communication with Terrapin Adventures!

Through a series of exciting and carefully designed Corporate Team Building activities, your group will find better, more effective ways to communicate and work with each other. Each activity is led by one of our experienced facilitators, who will not only help guide your experience, but also tie the lessons back into the workplace. We do this during our debriefing sessions, where we sit down and discuss what we have just done and how the lessons can be applied in our everyday lives.

Schedule Your Corporate Team Building Session!

Our convenient facility located between Baltimore and Washington, DC is uniquely suited to provide a Team Building solution for any company. In addition, we can bring our Team Building Programs to you! We service Maryland and Washington, D.C., and have traveled to other states as well.

If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at info@terrapinadventures.com to learn more.

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