3 Tips to better communication – Lessons from Music for the Businessperson

Effective communication is the key to success and is made of many qualities: speaking, observing, watching, sensing, understanding, paying attention, and most importantly listening. Let us identify  some of the essential tools to effective teamwork within a music ensemble.

  1. Listening and paying attention.  Listening is an art and is the first essential tool.  It is not only listening to the words spoken but also to the manner, tone, body language. Listening within the team in music is also achieved throgh eye contact. An important part of listening is silence too. Silence gives us the time to think and process what is said around us. By paying attention to our colleague we not only listen but learn more about the person and the work being done.
  2. Talking to each other.  Another essential tool is learning to talk to each other. One must  accept  critisicm, find ways of commenting on each other, point out if one is late or not playing correctly.  Keeping the tone positive and constructive and giving immediate appraisal if someone is working well is needed. One values the other’s opinion.
  3. Watching, observing, sensing each other. It is surprising how  we tend to be in our little worlds, turned away from the others in the group without realizing it. Musicians very easily tend to hide behind their music stands. Working with business teams teambuilding exercises through music, participants were surprised how initially they were turned away from each other and how establishing constant eye contact team performance improved.

I believe the most valuable lesson we can learn from music is that each of us in a team has something special to give, that we must become aware and have joy in other people’s achievements and strengths.  The result can only be a successful, winning and empowering team.

The ultimate goal of teamwork from the music perspective is to achieve an “upper, outer voice”, a corporate personality that is more than the sum of it’s parts. As Steve Jobs who used the Beatles, a quartet,  as a model for business pointed out “4 guys who kept each other’s negative tendencies in check, they balanced each other, and the sum was greater, the total was greater than the sum of it’s parts. “And that’s how I see business.”