As many of you may know, the NBA Playoffs are currently taking place (go Thunder!). Because of this, communication has been on my mind. In the NBA games I’ve been watching, I am noticing the difference it makes when players communicate effectively. I say effectively because there is a difference between yelling at a teammate in a condescending manner and calmly setting up a play. When good communication happens, the ball is passed well and the players have better positioning on the court on the defensive end.
Within the teaching profession , more and more schools are moving toward helping teachers feed off each others’ strengths and weaknesses by having them work in teams. Much like in the sport of basketball, or any team sport for that manner, teachers also need to learn the importance of effective communication. In my opinion and through my research, I have discovered five characteristics of productive communication:
1. Pay Attention. Every teacher wants to feel like their opinion and view are valued, and when someone is speaking it is important to give that teacher your full attention. This key is also important because if you are asked a question regarding a statement, it is nice to know what everyone else is talking about.
2. Empathize With Others’ Opinions. This is important because every person has their own opinion and this opinion needs to be respected.
3. Use Constructive Criticism. Nobody is perfect, and there will be times where you may want to help a team member out by offering advice. However, when giving this advice, make sure to use a calm tone and let them know that you want to help make their idea even better and not just shoot it down.
4. Don’t Beat Around the Bush. I have been in meetings before where someone in the meeting wants to say something, but they give such a long introduction that the rest of the group loses interest by the time the person gets to the point.
5. Be Present, but Not Overpowering. I feel that the other team members should know you are there because you are participating. However, it is also remember that you are not the only person there and it is important that every person’s voice is heard.
There are so many more keys to good communication, but these are the five that I found to be most important and that encompass most other keys. Communication is used so often in everyday life that it is usually given little thought. However, just from researching how to better my communication, I found that there were a lot of aspects that I could improve on. I feel that effective communication is an important and necessary skill to acquire so when I am placed into a situation where I am the new teacher in a team, I can use my skills to gain respect from my fellow teachers.