Why your Staff don’t know how to Communicate – and How to Fix It!

Having facilitated team builds for companies across South Africa for over 20 years, there are recurring challenges that we find crop up again and again, across many sectors and industries.


One of the serious issues we face time and time again is the challenge of addressing defective communication and the damage that occurs when communication between staff starts to break down.

And it’s getting worse …

New forms of communication and the increasing reliance on social media and messaging platforms to quickly ‘get the message across’ with minimal fuss, are creating real problems and issues for organisations.

We’ve identified 3 important themes that crop up again and again.

Focus on solving these challenges and you will be well on your way to having a happier, more connected workforce –

Meaningful Connections, The Art of Listening and The Power of Words.

Meaningful Connections

As Simon Sinek points out, effective communication requires a meeting of minds and is ‘messy’. To reach consensus and connect, people need to converse in a meaningful way so as to ensure that issues are properly covered and

In order to deal with difficult challenges we need to converse and have rapport. Rapport is defined as a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned are “in sync” with each other, understand each other’s feelings or ideas, and communicate smoothly.

Many of the ’new’ forms of communication that people are increasingly defaulting to (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, email) are incredibly convenient yet do not lend themselves to creating a meaningful connection or rapport between individuals.

As a result we have losing the art of the conversation as we search for ever more convenient and ‘efficient’ ways to interact.
What To Do?

Have the meetings that are necessary. Pick up the phone when you need to. Don’t attempt to sort out challenging situations via email.

In our own interactions with clients, when we have a challenging brief we often solve all of the issues in a single 30 minute meeting that would take days of emails to sort out. We also generally find that we have better outcomes when there has been an actual conversation and a meeting of minds during the planning phase.

One of our clients (a large international organisation) was having increasing challenges around miscommunications in emails. One simple solution was to implement Skype as an alternative to afce to face meetings (they have offices in 15 African Countries). As a result they have reported a huge improvement in their communications.

The Art Of Listening

This one of the biggest challenges around communication. We don’t listen for 2 reasons:

It is hard and requires focus, according to a Harvard Business Review report: when we listen, concentration must be achieved despite a factor that is peculiar to aural communication, one of which few people are aware. The problem is that we think much faster than we talk. The average rate of speech for most people is around 125 words per minute.

When we talk we are in control.

Don’t pontificate, there is nothing more boring than a pundit. People with only one point of view have very little to offer and are painfully difficult people to properly converse with.

The best leaders are great listeners.

As Steven R Covey put it: we listen to reply, not to understand, so it’s important to focus on understanding what the other person is trying to say rather than quickly formulating clever replies in our minds without even considering the actual substance of the conversation.

Why listen? Well, it turns out that almost everyone is a specialist in something – human beings are interesting, take the time to listen and chances are that you will expand your knowledge and insight.

As Buddha said: when our mouths are open, we aren’t learning.

Calvin Cooledge – Nobody ever listened their way out of a job

The Power of Words

This final challenge has the most potential to cause harm.The words we choose to speak are powerful and the influence of these words on the people around us should not be underestimated. The potential for harm and the potential for

Be authentic. Stand within your own space. Nothing sours a conversation more quickly than when one party is trying to be somebody they aren’t.

Be honest. If you are intending to lie, rather keep quiet. This seems obvious but somehow people tend to speak in half truths and use conversations to deceive. Avoid this at all costs.

Choose your words carefully, be mindful of their powerful effect on others. Show love at all times in conversations: by this is meant – wish the other person well while you are talking.

It is impossible to judge others while you wish them well. Have an open mind and heart while conversing. As Tony Robbins says: almost all toxic relationships can be solved by showing love in every conversation – difficult people almost always come round.

Cherish each and every conversation, these are the interactions that make life worth living.

Beach and Bush Team Building is owned by Sean Uys, a sort-after Motivational Speaker and group dynamics consultant with over 20 years experience in the field.

Find out more about our Team Building Products:, visit:https://www.teambuilding.co.za/about/

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Connect with Sean Uys:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sean-uys

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