Team Building: Improving Communication Skills


According to studies conducted by MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory, communication is one of the most important factors of any business, which makes sense. Communication plays a role in everything you do. “It can be between managers and employees within a company, or between a company and its customers, partners or suppliers,” says Arlette Measures, Houston Chronicle. Communication also takes make forms: verbal, written, and non-verbal.

  • Verbal: When someone thinks about communication, verbal communication is often the first thing that comes to mind. According to Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages, 7 percent of any message is conveyed through words, while 38 percent is conveyed through certain vocal elements.
  • Written: In today’s digital age, written communication is perhaps more important than ever before. “Generations X and [Millenials] tend to like emails and texts,” according to “Generations differ in the degree of formality they use, too. Older team members tend to be more formal, whereas their younger colleagues will more likely use colloquialisms, abbreviations.” This can often cause conflict in the workplace. So, it is not just important to consider the method of communication, but also the recipient when crafting a written message.
  • Non-Verbal: According to Dr. Mehrabian, 55 percent of all communication is non-verbal. This non-verbal component is made up of body language, facial expressions, posture, etc. Sometimes, how we say something is more important than what we actually say.

Good Communication Skills Are Critical to Team Success

“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.

“The best way to build a great team is not to select individuals for their smarts or accomplishments but to learn how they communicate and to shape and guide the team so that it follows successful communication patterns.”

– Alex “Sandy” Pentland, MIT Media Lab

Pentland and a team of researchers studied teams across multiple industries – post-op wards in hospitals, customer-facing teams in banks, backroom operations teams, and call center teams, just to name a few. Each subject was equipped with a badge that allowed the researchers to collect data on individual communication behavior—tone of voice, body language, whom they talked to and how much, etc.

“With remarkable consistency, the data confirmed that communication indeed plays a critical role in building successful teams,” says Petland. “Not only that, but [patterns of communication] are as significant as all the other factors—individual intelligence, personality, skill, and the substance of discussions—combined.”

One easy way to constantly improve communication is practice. Good communication is like a muscle. It can be strengthened through hard work. This is where Terrapin Adventures comes in. Our team building programs are customized to meet the individual needs of every organization we work with. We will give your employees a crash course in communication.

“When done well, team-building activities can…help build better relationships and increase communication among your team members,” says Lynn Flinn, CPA, president and managing partner of The Rowland Group of Staffing Companies.

Custom Team Building Programs Improve Organizational Communication

Conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington DC, Terrapin Adventures is able to create a customized program (onsite or offsite, indoor or outdoor) to help you and your employees better communicate. Through a series of unique and interactive activities, we will knock down communication barriers, allowing your staff to work efficiently and cohesively as a productive unit.

Schedule Your Corporate Team Building Session!

After each team building exercise, your group will sit down with their facilitator to discuss the lessons behind each activity and how they translate to the business world. This discussion is designed to reinforce these lessons and help ensure that the progress made during your team building outing sticks.

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

Works Cited:

  1. Bennett, J. C., and R. J. Olney. “Executive Priorities for Effective Communication in an Information Society.” Journal of Business Communication 23.2 (1986): 13-22. Web.
  2. Whitnah, Katherine T. A Phenomenological Inquiry: In the Context of Organizational Development, How Does Experiential Team Building in the Form of a High ROPES Course, Contribute to Positive Leadership Development, and How Can It Be Improved? Adler Graduate School. Web.
  3. Johnson, Rose. “What Are the Benefits of Effective Communication in the Workplace?”, Accessed 21 Sept. 2017.
  4. Lohrey, Jackie. “How Communication Affects Productivity Statistics.” Your Business, Accessed 21 Sept. 2017.
  5. Measures, Arlette . “What Are the Benefits of Business Communication?”, Accessed 21 Sept. 2017.
This entry was posted on Friday, April 6th, 2018 at 9:51 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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