1. Ask questions. One of the least used and most effective communication tools is asking questions. Get your teammates talking and ask follow up questions in a sincere pursuit to know them better. Do the same with clients.

Asking questions also increases the odds we use another great tool - listening.

2. Focus on listening. Have you ever been “listening” to someone’s answer but really more focused on what you’re going to say next? I certainly have. That’s not a great way to understand someone and have them feel heard. 

Listen, then pause, gather your thoughts and respond. When you do respond, don’t respond with a judgment. Instead, consider shared experiences. Start your response with something like, “that reminds me of a time,” or “in my experience I’ve done, A, B and C.” That type of feedback is often easier to give and easier to receive than telling someone what they should do.

3. Transparency breeds trust. Share as much of you as you can with your teammates. It’s understandable that being vulnerable can be scary. Be brave. In my experience, more often than not, when I’m vulnerable, it leads to a breakthrough in my relationship with my teammates. 

I’ve found that one of the easier ways to demonstrate vulnerability is to talk candidly about mistakes we’ve made. Like prospective clients we didn’t win and bad personnel decisions. Talking about mistakes is an opportunity for everyone to learn from them - so they are not repeated. Sharing mistakes lets your team know that you’re human… like most of the rest of us.