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Effective communication is important in any workplace, but Scrum Masters are particularly dependent on it since they must manage teams of developers and other stakeholders. Effective communication may boost productivity, foster greater cooperation, and provide better results. Unfortunately, not everyone has a natural gift for communication, but everyone can improve their communication skills with practice and effort. I’ll like to share with you a few principles that would help you communicate better in the workplace.

Let’s begin with a story

Once upon a time, there was a Scrum Master named Sarah who led a team of developers. One day, a developer named Jerry came to her with a problem. He explained that a certain feature was taking longer to develop than expected and was causing delays in the project. Sarah listened intently and asked follow-up questions to better understand the issue.

After discussing the matter with Jerry, Sarah realized that the problem wasn't just with the feature but with the entire development process. She suggested some changes to the process, which Jerry agreed were helpful. Sarah then scheduled a team meeting to share the changes with the rest of the team and to get their input.

As a result of Sarah's active listening and willingness to work with the team, the development process was streamlined, and the project was completed on time. Jerry felt valued and appreciated, and the team was motivated to work together even more effectively.

This story emphasizes how crucial listening is in interpersonal interactions. Being a good listener is essential for a scrum master. We demonstrate our respect for others' views and beliefs by listening to them. Additionally, attentive listening can produce fresh ideas and innovative fixes for issues. Companies that promote active listening experience a 47% reduction in employee turnover, according to a Forbes research.

By practicing in your regular discussions, you may enhance your listening abilities. Distractions should be put aside while listening to someone. During their speech, avoid considering your possible retort. Make sure you grasp their message by asking questions, and make an effort to paraphrase or explain it in your own words to ensure that you both agree.

Try to understand the perspectives and feelings of others. Empathy can help you communicate more effectively, especially in challenging situations.

Remember, good listening skills are not a one-time thing but a continuous process that requires effort and practice.

Here’s another story

There was once a Scrum Master named Steven who led a team of developers. One day, Steven received a request from the CEO to complete a project by the end of the week. Excited about the opportunity, Steven passed on the request to the team.

However, the team was confused about the details of the project. They had questions about the scope, resources, and expectations but Steven was unavailable to answer them. As a result, the team made assumptions and took actions that were not aligned with the CEO's expectations.

By the end of the week, the project was completed, but it was not what the CEO had in mind. The CEO was disappointed, and the team was frustrated that their hard work had gone to waste.

This story illustrates the importance of clarity in communication. When we are not clear in our communication, others can make assumptions that can lead to misunderstandings and mistakes. It's essential to be clear and concise in our communication, especially when giving instructions or expectations.

According to a research by the Harvard Business Review, lack of clarity is the main cause of workplace misunderstanding. Before beginning work on a project, Scrum Masters must make sure that their team is aware of its objectives, demands, and specifications.

Avoid using jargon or technical phrases that others might not understand while speaking, and instead use simple English. Keep your communication brief and direct. Don't presume that everyone will comprehend your message or that they have the same perspective as you. Instead, make sure everyone is on the same page and check to see if everyone understands.

What if you’re not a naturally good communicator?

Embrace opportunities for improvement. Remember, effective communication is a continuous process that requires effort and practice.

Ask for feedback on your communication style and be open to constructive criticism. This helps you identify areas for improvement and continuously improve your communication skills.

Seek training and development opportunities: Consider attending training workshops or classes on effective communication. They could be virtual trainings that you could take from the comfort of your home. These opportunities can provide valuable insights and techniques for improving your communication skills.

Did you find this useful? Share your thoughts and experience with us. We would love to hear how you have improved your communication skills in the workplace.

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