Archive for the 'Communication' Category

Games to Build Customer Service Spirit

As children, we all enjoyed playing games. Most of us were probably at our most creative and free when we played games as kids. We also took more risks without worrying too much about negative consequences. So why is it that as adults, we moan and groan about playing games?

So, it’s time for us to recapture some of that spirit. Okay, no moaning! It’sgames - crop also important to include this new spirit into our work lives, where we spend the most time — at least eight hours a day, for at least five days a week.

So, how exactly does playing games improve business communication? In my video, Games for Business Communication, I’ll explain the biggest benefits of playing games: through play, we get to engage with others in a safe environment, and we are better able to absorb more readily the main learning points of any game. Simply put, games help us to learn new things about others while having fun.

Strategies that Turn It Around!

  1. Two truths and a lie. This game allows you to get to know your fellow team members a little better by evaluating three statements made by someone and figuring out which one of the statements is a lie.

a. Depending on the size of your group, get people into groups of 3 or 5.
b. Everyone needs to write down two truths and one false statement about themselves.
c. Each person then reads the three statements and the rest of the group tries to figure out which statement is the lie.
d. Each person who guesses a correct false statement gets a point.
e. Once every person in each group has revealed his or her false statement, tally up all of the correct false answers.
f. Pick a winner from each team and reward him or her.

Mirror mirror. This game helps people to recognize elements of non-verbal communication styles like big hand gestures or head nodding. The object of the game is to spot physical movements and mirror them back to the person with whom you are speaking, thus learning to communicate in her style. This makes people feel more at ease.

Pair people into couples.

  1. Have each partner talk about anything for a minute (e.g., what they did this weekend, favorite food, favorite movie — anything.)
  2. The partner who is listening will then observe the person talking, paying close attention to the non-verbals (e.g., fast moving hands, head tilts, shoulder shrugs — anything that is non-verbal.)
  3. Have each person tell his or her partner which non-verbals they observed and how they mirrored the gestures. This will reveal which gestures were perceived as friendly and which were a little annoying.

Remember: People are more at ease when they communicate with others who have a similar non-verbal communication style.

Which games or icebreakers have you used effectively to improve business communication among your staff members? Please share your experiences in the Comments section below. I look forward to engaging with you and your comments.

Three Ways to Simplify Communication

Communicating with people is not a difficult task. However, ensuring that people understand exactly what you’re communicating can be problematic. And miscommunication can cost your business a lot of time and money. Have you ever asked someone to do x, y, and z, only to get a, b, and c? Ever wonder why this happens? Filters. How each one of us hears and processes information is done through our own personal filters. These filters include our experiences, prejudices, likes, dislikes, and knowledge. And these variables, well, vary from person to person.Barb - video - simplify communication-2

While it’s nearly impossible not to miscommunicate with others, there are techniques that we can use to ensure we do it less often. In my video, How to Simplify Communication, I’ll discuss three tips for making sure we’re being understood. But first, we need to make sure that we are always clear about what we want to communicate. And the simpler the communication is, the higher the understanding by others.

Strategies that Turn It Around!

  1. How to communicate. How you communicate will depend on how complicated your message is. If you are communicating straightforward facts, then a simple email or text will suffice. If, however, you are communicating a complicated message, then a more direct form of contact like over the telephone or face-to-face communication is best.
  2. Verify. When you communicate a complex message, it’s always strategic to verify your communication. This is easy when you communicate via email because you can simply ask recipients to email you with a reply. However, when communicating face-to-face or by telephone, getting verification is a little difficult. “Did I make myself clear?” “Did you understand what I said?” These types of yes or no questions don’t really tell you whether or not you were understood. So, instead try the following: “Can you repeat it back to me so I know I said it right.” “Send me a quick email with the steps you’ll take regarding what we talked about.”
  3. Follow up. After you have ensured that you know what you want to communicate, how you will communicate it, and have verified that your recipients have understood you correctly; the next step is to follow up. If you have deadlines, follow up before the deadline to make sure everything is running on track. If you are supposed to provide additional information, make sure you follow up with that information so you don’t stall the work of others.

 Remember: We all use personal filters when we hear and process information. While you and I can hear or read the same message, we’ll interpret its meaning in very different ways, especially if what is being communicated is complicated. Therefore, the simpler the communication, the more it will be understood by more recipients.

Have you ever communicated one thing and your audience understood it in a completely different way? How have you simplified your communication so more people understand what you are communicating? Please share your experiences in the Comments section below. I look forward to engaging with you and your comments.

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