Case Studies

Discovering the power of effective communication

In my professional life, I tend to focus more on practicality and efficiency often at the cost of not hearing my team’s perspectives. I understood the importance of active listening and acknowledging all voices but didn’t have the opportunity to see it in practice.

Good Seed is a social innovation training and funding programme, which aims to unleash the creativity of young people to come up with solutions to social exclusion and poverty. As a programme officer, the job requires me to have in-depth communications with different stakeholders including institutions, academia, non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations and many other parties.

Joining the American Express Leadership Academy gave that golden opportunity to see how effective communication leads to better conversations, improved relationship and increased team performance.

Through the mini-group discussion during the Academy, I learned that:

  1. Active listening means observing non-verbal behaviour and not just listening to what's being said
  2. Respecting the other person’s autonomy should be my first action instead of challenging the statement
  3. Acknowledging the intention is important even when there’s disagreement

After the Academy, I continued to practice and use the skills I gained to improve my communication. I’ve challenged myself to let go of my personal bias and ego so that I could better communicate with my teammates. My team have started to adapt these skills and because of this the team has cultivated a more constructive and effective style.

I have seen how my relationship with my teammates have improved over time. I believe that our team’s dynamics have greatly improved after we all started to be more conscious about communication. Better team dynamics have also resulted in a better overall team performance.

Cheryle Wong
Programme Officer, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Good Seed Programme)