Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness
Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness

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Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness

Session 4: What helps in connecting with others?


Connecting with people you work with, whether they be colleagues or participants, means being able to build a bond that stimulates their interest and engagement.

Much of what you have already covered so far helps build a work connection and in this session you will build on this by exploring three further aspects that support working relationships. The first you will look at is the use of subtle verbal and non-verbal signals that encourage dialogue to continue. The second is how your initial impressions of people are often influenced by something called ‘unconscious bias’; you will explore the implications of this. Finally, in building relationships, it can help to reveal or disclose personal information about yourself – this can be a delicate balancing act for different personalities and situations.

By the end of this session, you should be able to:

  • understand the important role you play in keeping a conversation going and encouraging others to want to contribute
  • appreciate how we often hold pre-conception of others based on first impressions and these can be a barrier to effective communication and collaboration
  • recognise that, in appropriate situations, giving away some personal information about yourself can help build stronger working relationships.

Watch this video, in which Sue Mott and Ben Oakley introduce the session further.

Download this video clip.Video player: e119_1_video_session4_intro_640x360.mp4
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Building a connection with those you work with is partly about building an understanding with them and finding common ground. So Sue, beyond the obvious stuff about looking people in the eye and smiling a lot, what have you find works?
Well, I found a few subtleties actually. So it's much more unconscious than just saying I must do this and I must do that. And I think it's more about giving someone encouragement to talk to you, really focusing on the conversation, and just paying them that attention.
I think you mean something a bit more than saying, can you please go on a bit?
Yeah. I think a most crucial thing, though, is to listen. You would be amazed by the number of people who simply don't listen to what somebody is saying to them. And it's also about asking the right type of questions.
I mean, open-ended questions, so that you're not eliciting a yes/no answer, where the conversation shuts down. You might say something like, and how did that feel, the old journalistic staple. Or tell me a bit more than that. And I think that gives somebody else the opportunity then to know they've got the space and your respect to tell their own story.
And to what extent do you reveal a bit about yourself, you disclose a bit more information about your own life?
Well, I actually think that is a very, very good idea. Because there's no point in asking people these impertinent questions, if you're going to be a trappist monk about yourself. To have a chat with people at work, it's a great thing. I know that I work with a film producer and I always tell her about my daughter's latest escapades. And she always tells me about her horses' exploits. And we're not joined at the hip. But to chat to and get to know and care about the people you work with is just such a great motivation.
Also, I think when you first meet people, there's a danger, isn't there, that you can have predetermined ideas and perhaps biases and labels of what they might be like. So perhaps it's important that we enter into new relationships and we take away first impressions and we have an open mind of who that person might be.
Oh, yeah. Definitely.
End transcript
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