Olympic Athletes Win Gold in Communicating

17 Aug, 2016 / by Christina Bowser

Diverse groups can create bonds and friendships that go beyond communicating in their native language.

Competing Olympians Communicating Beyond Spoken Language

Olympic Athletes Show Us How to Communicate

Olympic athletes can show us how communicating with one another goes beyond words. Every time the Summer Olympics rolls around I can’t help but get crazy excited! Think about the staggering group of athletes that come from all over the globe and how they come to compete at the highest level. Do you find yourself watching sports you never normally watch? Are you watching white water rafting, water polo, gymnastics, or synchronized swimming? I think about the amazing experiences the athletes are having. It’s not just about the competition and medals. Athletes will meet on their respective playing fields, but they will meet in diverse places too.  They will encounter and get to know each other during the Opening and Closing ceremonies, in the Athlete’s Village where they will eat together, meet people outside their sports, and create lifelong memories in the truest of the Olympic spirit.

Wouldn’t it be great if every interaction we had, whether it's in our personal or professional life, created such a positive and successful experience? Athletes are coming in with a desire to collaborate, learn, and put forth their best efforts to communicate with people they have never even met before. Even though the athletes may not speak the same language, we visualize scenes where there will be laughter and awkward efforts to communicate beyond words. There will be attempts at each other’s language. Chances are they will go with the non-verbal forms of communication like high fives, appreciative clapping, hugs, exchanging of uniforms and pins, and smiles.

Communicating Does Not Always Require Speaking the Same Language

The interactions of the Olympic athletes reminds us that, even when we don’t speak the same language, we are still able communicate where both sides come away with a positive result. We can make modifications to our communication style. This displays our efforts to adjust and understand the other individual. The goal is for the individual to be more engaged and even make modifications to his or her own behavioral style too!

Communication comes in many different forms. It goes beyond words and has the ability to unite diverse individuals who don’t share a common language. The enthusiasm and optimism of the athletes shows us how great communicating can be. However, there are times where the interactions aren't as ideal. Think of times where you’re meeting with potential customers or clients or conversing with your teenager. Teens, as a group, are challenging by themselves.  Let's focus on work.  You know it’s your job to make a great impression and persuade clients to purchase your product or service. These are times we may need to work harder to focus on our own behavioral modifications to create a successful outcome. Wouldn’t it be great to have some tools that help us communicate more effectively and achieve a great result?

Communication tools help create better interactions

Tools for communicating, such as DISC, are practical.  It's another way to remind and reinforce the fact that we all have preferred methods to communicate. This tool helps identify our natural behavioral style or how we "prefer to do things." Are you someone who likes to pay attention to details or do you only want to know the bullet point summaries?  Do you like to socialize and build relationships or do you prefer to focus on the tasks and get things done? We all have chosen ways to doing things and identifying our natural behavioral style is just one step to communicate better.

In addition to understanding ourselves, it also helps to identify the behavioral styles of others. It's one thing to be more self-aware, but we also need to understand how others prefer to communicate as well. Once we know our style and the style of others, the goal becomes to find ways to make constructive modifications to our own style. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every time we interacted with others we created a positive impression and successfully got what we needed? Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen, but the Olympic athletes remind us that by putting forth our best efforts and using whatever skills we utilize that we stand a better chance.

What Can Learn from the Olympic Athletes?

So remember, when you are part of a diverse group or in a situation you have not experienced, you don't need to speak the same language or even have the same ways of communicating. Like the Olympic athletes, you just need to use universal skills you've learned to better interact and recognize that there are different ways of communicating, even beyond words. Most of all, show willingness and effort to modify and make adjustments on your part. This can automatically create a more successful outcome even if you don't win an Olympic medal for your efforts!

Topics: Blog, News

Christina Bowser

Written by Christina Bowser