Communication Strategies for Your Team and Teammates

Communication Strategies for Your Team and Teammates

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When working together, communication strategies are one of the most important things you do if you want to be successful. Whether it’s a sport or a job, communicating with your fellow workers is crucial to getting a job done right. However, communication is the thing companies, and teams have the most trouble with.

One of the many reasons communication strategies are so hard to implement is because of something everyone has: personality. Everybody has a different personality, and this means that everybody’s definition of communicating effectively varies.

Understanding how differently people think is one of how you find success, and by doing so, you learn just how important communication is. It just takes a little bit of success in communicating effectively to realize how much can get done if people can crack each other’s communication code.

But, does this information translate to an athlete’s life? How does athletics compare to “normal” jobs? The similarities may surprise you as you learn that these two seemingly different types of jobs are more similar than you might think.

Similarities of Athletics vs. “Normal” Jobs

They couldn’t be any more different on the surface. One person flattens the quarterback and tackles people for a living. The other one sits in a cubicle and types up expense reports all day. How are these two people similar?

Although the means of communicating and language may be different, the communication strategies used are the same.

For example, a player on the basketball team needs to implement communication strategies if they are going to successfully pass the ball down the court, run plays, and function as a team. The same strategies apply in the office. Although, instead of calling plays on the court, the “game plan” implemented in the office comes in the form of a meeting in the boardroom.

Another great example is the way in which both teams communicate between managers. Both teams have managers (coaches in athletics) and they both serve the same function. They both interact with their workers both in good times and bad. If the players on the basketball team need to refocus, the coach calls a time-out and regroups them in the huddle. A manager pulling a worker aside and talking about improvement or praising their work ethic is no different.

The Best Communication Strategies for Athletes

As you see, these types of jobs aren’t all that different. So, to ensure success, what types of communication strategies should be used? Which ones are successful at breaking down barriers? You will learn that implementing the following strategies helps smooth out communication for athletes. These help your team and, ultimately, lead you to a better chance of success.

Active listening

Talking. It’s something everyone does. How many conversations do you have in a day? If you stop and think about it, talking is a huge part of how you communicate. Whether it’s through text or in the field of play, talking is a huge part of your life. With all this talking and communicating, it’s important to ask yourself a question. Do you listen?

Most people talk and hear what the other person is saying, but they don’t listen. Listening and hearing are two completely separate things, and listening gets you a long way in life. Specifically, active listening.

Active listening means you listen to the person and actively think about how to respond. You hear their point of view and try to understand where they’re coming from. This type of communication strategy is supremely important if your team is going to be a success.

A great example of this relates to basketball. As a professional basketball player, constant communication often carves the path between a win and a loss. Any athlete needs continuous contact with their teammates, and basketball is no different. Maybe a player gets defended differently than how you see it. Actively listening to this player will help the team work around this defense.

A bevy of other examples exist, but active listening within a team often leads to great results.

Nonverbal communication

On the playing field, you can’t always talk to your teammates. Whether you’re separated by a defensive line on the football field or exchanging a quick glance on the basketball court, possessing the ability to communicate nonverbally leads to a successful team. However, non-verbal communication is difficult to master. Going back to personalities, everyone sees the world differently. And mastering the art of nonverbal communication is the next step in perfecting team chemistry. But, how do you work on nonverbal cues?

First, you need to understand the person in which you’re communicating with. This is true in every other job as well. Getting to know your co-workers and what makes them tick makes the work experience so much better. Why? The team chemistry that evolves from a team that knows each other is palpable. If you work with the same people year in and year out, you pick up on what mood they’re in. You understand how they work and you can even begin to anticipate their behavior.

A team that works well together is like a well-oiled machine. It keeps on chugging. Getting to know your co-worker’s behavior leads to a successful pickup of nonverbal cues. And picking up these cues leads to success.

Confront the situation and not the person

Communication strategies hinge on trust. And when somebody messes up, it’s easy for confrontation to take hold. But, don’t let an encounter scare you. For a happy and prosperous team, you need to confront issues. But, face the situation. Don’t ever make the person who messed up feel like it’s all their fault. Instead, confront the situation. How do you turn the situation into a positive one?

Talk about solutions that you and the person that messed up can tackle together. A team relies on each other, and one person’s mistake impacts everyone else. Make sure to approach the situation with confidence and the problem will get resolved.

Take responsibility

What does it mean to take responsibility when you talk in terms of communication strategies? Well, it deals with the second half of confronting the situation. While a mistake can easily be rectified and nobody should be blamed, it’s also important to hold yourself accountable for your actions. If you do a great thing, take responsibility for it. You don’t need to show off or gloat, but know you earned it. The same goes for the opposite situations.

If you know you messed up, own it. Take responsibility. Even though the solution to the mistake lies in the team effort, understand you messed up and take the proper steps to avoid it. In another sense, responsibility also means holding up your end of the communication. A team only succeeds if everyone communicates and takes responsibility for this communication. Hold yourself accountable for active listening and understanding your teammates’ nonverbal cues. This leads to more trust within the team.

Speak directly

If a team wants to achieve success, then it’s imperative that direct and clear communication is used. But, this is easier said than done. Most of the time, communication gets muddled, and the wrong messages get received as the team strives for success. So, to eliminate the confusion, you need to speak clearly. This same tactic is used in normal jobs, and it’s really important.

When you want to get something done, make sure you and your team know the end goal. Make sure they know what needs to be done to be successful. In an office setting, this communication comes from either teammates or the manager. If something needs to be done, express your feelings clearly.

On the playing field, this comes through in a variety of ways. For instance, telling your teammates that they need to do something specific on a play. Or, if they need to give more effort. Speaking directly is one of the best communication strategies.

See the other person’s point of view

Whether you make your money in the office or on the playing field, one of the best communication strategies you can implement is seeing the other person’s point of view. It’s not easy, but it’s so helpful in establishing stable communication.

Understanding another person’s point of view helps you figure out what’s going on in their mind. If you know what’s going on in your teammate’s mind, then success comes much easier. It goes back to being a well-oiled machine. You work much better when you gain an intuitive sense of your teammates’ minds and how they think and what they see.

What you shouldn’t do

There are a lot of things that improve communication. However, there are also things you should avoid when implementing your communication strategies. One of the things you should stay away from is using nonverbal cues to get your point across. If somebody makes a bad pass, don’t roll your eyes at them. Get with them and constructively solve the problem.

You also need to avoid sarcasm. Sarcasm only leads to tension, and you don’t need any unnecessary conflict when you’re trying to win a game. You need to focus on the problem when talking about the solution as well. Simply saying that they need to do something different isn’t entirely helpful. Instead, break down the problem with your teammate and focus on a solution together.

If you keep these in mind, you will communicate much more effectively.

Tying It All Together

Implementing good communication strategies is hard to do. However, practice makes perfect, and you will find success if you actively listen to your teammates. Take responsibility and own up to your faults. It makes the team better.

See things from the other person’s point of view. This makes it much easier to understand where your teammates are coming from. Doing all of this leads to a successful team. So, go out there and implement these communication strategies. Success is at your fingertips.

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