As a child, you may remember learning to Stop, Look, Listen, and Think before crossing the road. This simple saying has been used across the globe to teach young children the importance of road safety. Before you cross the street, you should Stop a safe distance from the road, Look both ways, Listen for oncoming traffic, and Think through different scenarios. Then and only then should you cross the road. This same concept can be applied to the office to improve communication.
“Communication in this age is key,” says Fabiene Lesbros, Britvic Soft Drinks. “We do it naturally in our social life, but may not be so good at work. So my framework for communication is to ‘Stop, Look, Listen and Think.’”
Stop, Look, Listen, and Think Your Way to Better Communication
According to Talent Management, 86% of employees blame lack of good communication and collaboration for workplace failures.
“The general consensus of the executives was that effective communication skills are more important now than ever before for business success,” say researchers James Bennet and Robert Olney, “and these skills will continue to be a critical component of the information society.” In fact, according to a January 2013 employer survey conducted by Hart Research Associates, 93 percent of employers consider good communication skills more important than a college graduate’s major.
Stop What You Are Doing
While multitasking is an important skill in the workplace, it has no place in communication. When approached by a co-worker or manager, stop what you are doing. It is important to give your colleague your undivided attention.
Look for Clues
When someone thinks about communication, verbal communication is often the first thing that comes to mind. However, according to Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages, a large portion of communication is nonverbal – as much as 55 percent. So, pay attention to things like posture, facial expressions, and any other body movements that might provide context clues for your conversation.
7 percent of any message is conveyed through words, while 38 percent is conveyed through certain vocal elements.
Listen to What is Said
“Listen to what they have to say; priceless information can be gained by saying nothing but listening,” says Lesbros. Listen to what is actually being said, and respond when appropriate. Active listening is an important skill to practice. When your coworker is done talking, rephrase what you just heard. This is not only a great way to show that you were paying attention, but it can also help you retain important aspects of the conversation and gives both parties a chance to clarify if there is any confusion.
“Effective communication within a company involves listening and responding,” Arlette Measures, Houston Chronicle.
Think about How to Improve Your Communication Skills
According to studies conducted by MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory, communication is one of the most important factors of any successful team.
As they say, practice makes perfect, and Terrapin Adventures can help! Our custom team building programs are designed to improve communication and cohesiveness among your employees. Presented in a fun and creative way, team building exercises break down communication barriers and challenge your group to work together.
If you have any questions, please call Terrapin Adventure at 301.725.1313, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
- Lesbros, Fabiene. “Stop, Look, Listen and Think: A Framework for Communication.” The Pro’s and Con’s of Local Sourcing – The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, 19 Jan. 2015, www.cips.org/supply-management/opinion/2015/january/stop-look-listen-and-think-a-framework-for-communication/.