“The imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.”
Up until now research into communication within a performance related environment has been limited by the equipment and technology available. This lack of technology has resulted in the majority of communication analysis being based upon a retrospective insight, which consequently has failed to systematically address the content of communication or the impact of communication on the quality of performance outcomes.
“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” Plato
Understanding the process and content of high performing and effective communication is becoming more critical to the understanding of what underlies successful teams in both sport and business. Limited time has been invested in examining the nature of actual communicative practices as they occur in real life performance settings. Defined as “the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium”, communication is always talked about as being key to performance success, yet minimal time is allocated to its analysis, and subsequently systematically developed strategies enabling improved performances have yet to be established.
“Getting the right message, to the right person, in the right way, at the right time, in a way they understand, that is good communication.”
Re-occurring performance-based events enable a degree of pre-planning and pre-coordination. The lack of spontaneity allows leaders, teams and individuals to develop pre-conditioned communication through training and prior experiences, leading to less but more efficient communication, structured around time and exact occurrences in the reoccurring event. This structure enables communication to be consistent in timing, delivery and phraseology, promoting the fact that communication is pre-conditioned for certain events and therefore limiting the requirement for excessive communication, but the need for efficient communication in a bid to enhance performance.
On the contra, unstructured tasks do tend to benefit more from greater instances of communication; however, this elevated quantity of communication does again need to be efficient and effective. Most unstructured tasks require effective decision-making and therefore require leadership, which by context requires effective communication. Influenced by an individual’s status in a team, or within the hierarchy of a business or team, an individual’s direct contribution, along with the complexity of the task, including the social-psychological situation within the team or business, plus the extent to which individuals value their team membership or job and how leaders and individuals communicate can vary with differing levels of success and therefore performance.
High performing teams reflect a profile of communication that is consistent across all tasks, with specific individuals communicating in certain ways, in instances of high performance, and veering away from this profile in instances of low performance. Although this consistency appears to be coherent across all high performing teams and individuals, the exact profile of high-performing communication somewhat differs between scenarios, sports, businesses, individuals and teams, which is no surprise given the ubiquitous phenomenon that is communication.
“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” Anthony Robbins
Communication is unique to individuals, teams, businesses and situations. It is this uniqueness that gives communication its complexity but essentialness. With this essential complexity, it is clear how communication either helps or hinders performance. It is this exact concept that puts communication at the centre of successful teams, leaders and businesses.
If you are interested in learning more about what we do in the performance communication space and think it might be relevant to your team in sport or business, then please get in touch.