GLA recently launched a skills development training highlighting the top 3 essential skills for effective communication. Strong communication skills are important for not only personal matters but also in all professional industries. Being able to properly communicate with those around you will help you and your organization excel. Within the construction industry specifically, effective communication plays a vital role in the success of a project. Lack of communication can lead to delays in the project timeline, can affect the project scope, and can result in the project going over budget. Most significantly, lack of communication in the construction industry can lead to injury or even the loss of life.
Before you continue reading, take a few moments and think about what words come to your mind when you hear someone say ‘communication’…
You may be thinking of ideas such as ‘talking, ‘conversation’, etc. While you are correct, these are absolutely aspects of communication, truly effective communication is much more complex than these simple concepts. Effective communication relies on several skills that require continual practice and consistent monitoring in order to become an expert at communicating with those around you. Effective communication means that you must first take a genuine interest in what someone is saying. People can often tell when someone they are conversing with is “listening” when he/she is clearly elsewhere in their thoughts. Additionally, even when the listener is interested, if they are not aware of their body language or mannerisms, the speaker may receive the false impression that they are not invested in the conversation. To show the speaker that you are paying attention, try responding to them physically, with the occasional head nod, or verbally: even a simple “mm hmm” will do! If you have follow up questions, don’t be afraid to ask them! Remember what we learned in school, there is no such thing as a dumb question. It is much better to ask the question when it arises than to see the consequences of not asking that question later on. As previously mentioned, lack of communication can have a negative impact on project outcomes and the safety of those around you. Here’s a quick tip for you: keep your questions open ended by starting the question with “how” or “what”. This will ensure that the response is detailed rather than a simple “yes” or “no”. The more information you receive from the speaker, the better off you will be. If you still feel like your question hasn’t been answered, ask for more clarification.
Here’s a task that you can do throughout the week. After you converse with someone, reflect on how you positively communicated with them, and then think about some of the skills that you can work on next time. If you feel like maybe you didn’t ask a certain question or you just need some clarification on what was discussed, now is the time to practice! Send an email or text to that person asking for more details. Following up with those you have spoken with is one of the keys to success when it comes to effective communication.
At GLA, our construction Partnering Facilitators are experts when it comes to effective communication. We have worked on hundreds of projects helping groups all around the world understand what it takes to effectively communicate with those around them. We will work hands on with your team to practice and truly develop the skills of effective communication. What you have read today is just a small sample of what you will receive when you work with us! So, what are you waiting for? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your team succeed!