Active Listening is Children’s Play
Business communication is becoming a lost art. At least, it was for the members of my last team. They could text, IM, and Snapchat with ease but had difficulty getting clear, concise status reports when conversing with users and fellow team members.
My team went into discussions with pre-conceived ideas. Instead of listening they jumped to conclusions. When gathering requirements, they made assumptions and did not ask questions to get the complete story. This translated into fuzzy requirements and inaccurate project updates.
I wracked my brain to come up with a way to impress on my team on the importance of active listening, not making assumptions, and asking questions until the information is crystal clear.
This went on until the tower was half-built and they both lost interest.
As I observed their “play”, my mind made a giant leap. The selection of the correct piece only happened when the boys listened actively to each other. When the 3-year old was distracted, the selected piece was never the correct piece.
For the next 20 minutes, Lego blocks were spread all over the table as each team attempted to blindly build their kit from verbal instructions. At the end of the experiment, none of the final products looked anything like the picture on the box.
There was lots of laughter, then some serious discussion. They came to the conclusion that good communication requires preparation and a plan. They agreed to change to get better results for the project, our team, and our department.
Find a way to improve the way your team communicates with other people, even if you need to do it with children’s building blocks.