As organizations transition back to working face-to-face – either full time or part time, it is a good time to assess our human skills. It is understandable if we are feeling a bit rusty in the communications department. Even though good communication skills are desperately needed during video calls, many people did not practice them. They were physically present on the call but frequently were checking email or doing other work on the side. With the camera off and only their initials showing on the screen, no one ever knew whether anyone was really present unless they were speaking.
That behavior isn’t going to fly as people return to the office, even with a hybrid environment. People are expected to show up and participate. And, with people coming back to the office it is a perfect time to evaluate the team’s skills and refresh the skills where there are gaps.
Areas for refreshments are:
- Listening – the #1 skill to have and the foundation for all human interactions. It seems simple, but listening, just for the other person, is difficult. And the more emotional the situation, the harder it is to stay in the conversation and listen. Everyone is carrying ‘more’ right now – more uncertainty, more stress, more loss, more disappointment, more unresolved conflict – all adding up to more emotion. With this comes less headspace and less tolerance for dealing with whatever comes up next. Many people are tapped out – only able to do the basics. Listening with presence can provide an open space where emotions can be expressed, headspace increased, and support provided.
- Conflict Resolution – along with the ‘more’ above, some of the people who are back in the office are not happy about it. While many have left for a different job that is a better fit, many stayed in place and are angry. Additionally, as a population we have come through COVID with a boatload of unresolved conflict – and we are taking it all back to the office with us. Being able to resolve conflict and not just argue will enable leaving fighting behind and solutions to be worked out.
- Acknowledgement – this includes being able to self-acknowledge as well as acknowledge other people. Many people didn’t get much feedback during the pandemic – left alone to do their work, but also to fend for themselves. We must acknowledge that we have all been through an ordeal, doing the best we could at the time. Behaviors that got us through the pandemic and helped us be successful, may not serve us any longer. And – they can be hard to give up – after all, we worked very hard to put them in place 2 years ago. By acknowledging ourselves and others, we can begin the process of working through what we have been through, set aside behaviors that are no longer useful, and examine what is next as we move to the next phase.
Refreshing these skills improves face-to-face communications and also improves video communications. It supports expanding an inclusive workplace and provides a foundation for the future. Everything is on the table with people coming back to the office. It is the perfect opportunity for improvements and breakthroughs – especially in communications.
Let us know how we can support you and your organization in refreshing your communications skills.