Two-Way Communication

When NorthStar Capital Markets Services held its first Customer Service Week celebration, the week was packed with creative activities that focused on team building, training, and just plain fun.

Two of those activities combined fun with a purpose. The first focused attention on the importance of two-way communication, and the second on vocal tone and quality.

In the first activity, reps were divided into teams of two to complete a series of challenges, which required both trust and excellent communication skills.

In each team, one person was designated the leader and the other was blindfolded. The teams then completed a series of tasks using words only. Here’s what they did:

  1. The blindfolded person was instructed to draw specific shapes on a flip chart. To get it just right, the leader had to give very clear and precise instructions.
  2. The next challenge was based on the party game, Mad Gab. The leaders were instructed to read the following phrases to their partners and to vary their pace and inflection until their partner understood each one. The phrases were:
    • Heaven Iced Hey — Have a nice day
    • Awe Wean Heed Issue — All we need is you
    • Hike Wallet He — High quality
  3. For a more tactile task, the leader guided her blindfolded partner to place a stone in the correct position among other stones on a tray.
  4. And for the more athletic, the leader guided her partner in an attempt to toss a foam football into a bin.
  5. To wrap up the event, the blindfolded rep pushed her partner, in an office chair, through an obstacle course. At the finish line, they celebrated completing the tasks together.

The second featured activity focused reps attention on the importance of vocal tone and quality.

In this “experiment,” reps were asked to call their desks and leave themselves a simple message. Next, reps were asked to leave themselves the same message but this time to stand up, smile and face the person next to them when speaking.

When comparing the two messages reps noticed the difference, says operations trainer, Brenda Knutson, “The participants were shocked at how lethargic and uninteresting they sounded on voicemail. But once they stood up, added the smile and acted as if they were talking to the person next to them, everything changed.”

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