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A 6 week mini-programme to improve communication skills

Time is precious so let's try implement training to fit around a busy schedule. Here is a mini programme to improve communication skills.

26th January 2024

A 6 week mini-programme to improve communication skills
We've written extensively on the ELT blog about how effective communication is pivotal for professional success and organisational growth. Yet, honing these skills often takes a backseat due to the perceived lack of time and resources. Recognising this challenge, we've designed a low-impact, high-reward 6-week programme designed to significantly enhance communication skills with a minimal time investment of as little as just two hours per week. This programme, ideal for professionals from all sectors, ensures that improving communication doesn't disrupt your busy schedule but seamlessly integrates into it.

Week One - Initiation: Images of Organisations
Our journey commences with an initiation. We need to get our programme participants up to speed and introduced to each other and we can do this using "Images of Organisations", an innovative ice-breaker. Craft a question that allows each participant to explore current communications skills in the group - e.g. Pick and image that represents a challenge you've noticed in how the group performs, caused by poor communication; and a second image that represents how the group performs well when communication is highly effective.

Images of Organisations is a reflective exercise. It helps participants understand and appreciate different communication styles within their teams. This activity encourages open dialogue and promotes empathy, allowing team members to recognise and adapt to varying communication preferences, a skill crucial in any collaborative effort.

Each of the 16 meticulously curated images, rendered in a captivating cartoon style, resonates with the myriad emotions and experiences common in organisational settings. From committee meetings to regular team huddles, these images echo sentiments shared by professionals over the years, encapsulating the essence of being part of a team or organisation at specific moments.

Week Two - Colourblind
In our second week we use one of our most popular activities: "Colourblind®". Colourblind® shifts the focus to verbal communication in a virtual environment. This game-like activity underscores the significance of precision in language and the power of listening.
The activity pinpoints common communication pitfalls, such as ambiguity, assumptions, and lack of clarity. Teams can identify their specific weaknesses and work towards rectifying them.

This activity is a challenge. Many groups fail to reach a successful outcome and that's ok. Be sure to include reflection time into your session and use a 'negative' outcome to review and come up with a plan to improve individual and group communication.

Week Three -
Emergency Delivery
"Emergency Delivery", our third-week challenge, focuses on decision-making under pressure. Participants learn the art of swift and effective communication in time-sensitive scenarios, a skill that’s increasingly essential in our fast-moving work environments. This exercise not only improves decision-making skills but also teaches the importance of clear and concise communication in high-pressure situations and building trust in colleagues.

This hands-on exercise is designed around the concept of 'Delivery at Pace'. It emphasises the importance of producing high-quality results through efficient decision-making under pressure and within stringent deadlines.

Week Four -
Colourblind Plus
Building on the foundations laid in Week Two, in Week Four we return to Colourblind but use the 'Plus' variant. "Colourblind® Plus" in Week Five offers advanced communication challenges. This version includes activities designed for both smaller and larger groups, providing a comprehensive platform for enhancing listening, questioning, and feedback skills. It’s a deep dive into the nuances of effective communication, preparing participants for a range of real-world scenarios.

Hopefully we see a progression as a team. How will they react to situation that seems familiar but suddenly reveals itself as more challenging? Remember to include plenty of review time to assess how we the group managed this task and review what learnings they can carry forward into their jobs. 

Week Five -
Seeing the Point
Our journey approaches its conclusion with an exploration of how we can 'do more with less'. We can do this using the "Seeing the Point", an activity that is great for assisting teams in tackling complex challenges.

Seeing the Point

This activity propels teams into the realm of creative thinking and effective problem-solving. It's split into two phases: individual creativity and collaborative innovation. Here, participants learn to think outside the box, first independently and then collectively. The lesson? Greater achievements are possible when diverse minds work together, a vital takeaway for any professional setting.

Week Six - Project Close/Review
The programme concludes with a reflective session in Week Six. This is a crucial period for participants to assimilate their learnings, share experiences, and set future communication goals. The final week serves as a capstone, solidifying the skills and insights gained throughout the programme.

An activity isn't strictly necessary here but a fun way to close out the programme would be to use Broken Squares. This is a real time collaborative game  that hinges on fostering relationships among team members, cultivating an understanding of others' needs, and demonstrating a readiness to share resources—all without verbal communication. This could be a real test of our progress over the previous weeks.

Let's review
This 6-week programme is meticulously crafted to offer maximum learning with minimal disruption to your routine. Each week introduces a new facet of communication, ensuring a holistic development of this vital skill set. By dedicating just two hours per week, participants emerge as more effective communicators, ready to tackle the complexities of modern professional environments.

We invite you to embark on this transformative journey with us. Subscribe to Experiential Learning Tools today from less than £43 per month for an annual subscription. All our subscription plans gain access to these invaluable resources and will empower your to deliver the above programme in your organisation or to your clients.

Elevate your communication skills, enhance team dynamics, and drive personal and organisational success. Remember, effective communication is not just about talking; it’s about connecting, understanding, and progressing. Join us, and make every word count and be more productive.

Michael Hayes @experientialLT

Head of Product at Experiential Learning Tools

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