The issue with communications is making yourself understood. Even though you may have a common language with the people you are communicating with, being understood is the key purpose of any project communication.
Far too often we run into issues with communications between project team members and stakeholders who don’t quite grasp what each is talking about.
Often times at the ‘coal-face’ you can be unaware of how much or how little information someone overseeing from a removed position can be. Do you need more or less information? Is it too verbose and over explained? Is the technical language putting people in an incorrect frame of mind to understand the message?
These are all potential problems that can infuriate and confuse people.
Project communications need to be specific and clear.
Here’s some simple points to consider if you need help:
A – Audience
To whom are you communicating?
What form of language should you use for this audience? Should you be verbose, concise, technical terms or layman’s?
What form of message suits your audience? Phone call, email, SMS or meetings?
Knowing these answers can help you define what medium to use and the best way to reach your audience (you could have multiple forms of the same message depending on who needs the information).
B – Broadcast
What is the message you are trying to convey?
Touching on the form of message mentioned above, depending on the parameters of the project and the project communications plan or requirements, your message can be in a variety of forms to a range of audiences.
Straight forward project updated can be issued in a newsletter format or a blog post so it’s open reading to all stakeholders.
Often times a sensitive query or technical issue should be broadcast to a very tight group. A platform like Slack or a Whatsapp group may be suitable for a “round-table” conversation or brainstorm about a point of detail.
Your project communications plan should breakdown and identify the broadcast groups and type of messages each will require on what format.
C – Check & Confirm
Has your message been understood?
Make sure and follow up to ensure the points you are communicating are actually being understood.
Don’t wait expecting an answer relying on “I asked you for information”.
Emails go to spam, children open WhatsApp, text messages get deleted, phone calls get missed.
Make sure your message is received, follow up an unanswered phone with a text ” Can you call me this afternoon ‘re… please?”
Give emails a day for reply and then pick up phone or measage in follow up. If it’s more time sensitive than that and you are documenting via email, tell them you are going to call.
Communication needs to be clear in order for it to work effectively.