Managing communications effectively and efficiently

Communication on project is extremely critical for the success of any project. However, it is important to note that Communication on projects is challenging! People are involved in communication and hence it becomes very complex. There are so many people we should communicate with from the initiation to execution to closing of a project. And they all want to be communicated with differently! Additionally, communications vary depending on the role we play on the project, the stage of the project, and with whom we are communicating. Regardless of role on the project – one should learn to communicate effectively to be successful.

In current scenario where in on many projects, the people involved on the project work from any part of globe, the communication becomes more complex and challenging. The Virtual element will become more and more part of projects in future. The technology is and will play a crucial role for effective communication in such situations along with an understanding of cultural differences and their impact on how we process communications received.

It is important to note that the purpose and goal in communicating is to communicate effectively and efficiently, but not constantly and without taking time away from getting the work of the project completed!

We also need to be practical when it comes to communication. Every one on a project want to communicate. The communications though must be regulated and monitored to avoid rumours and confusions on project. Since number of stakeholders involved in a project are many, the number channels (remember the formulae of communication channels = n(n-1)/2 ) increases which can create chaos on the project. One of our goals as project managers is to limit the ways we communicate with our stakeholders – preferably communicating in a way that works best for us given everything else we need to do on the project. It is also important to note the limitation of time on a project. Any piece of communication from project manager is viewed differently by different people. The number of questions then increases and the answers to them will also increase. Hence it is important to communicate the right message to right person and not free for all. The choice of mode and presentation of communication is also different for different people. Some of us are more visual than others and want to see charts and graphs; others prefer to listen to others communicate the information to them through a presentation or in a meeting; and yet others want information prior to review and analyse on their own and then to speak with someone about what they have read. In a meeting or generally as well when we present information in just one or two ways to our stakeholders, we engage some and not others. In most meetings on a project, the meeting rooms are filled with so many people. Practically few people only talk and others become mere spectator losing there valuable time on a project.

Once a project becomes more complex, our communications must be more detailed to ensure that we reach all the individuals with whom we must communicate to be successful. When we plan our communications upfront, we enable for:

  • Improving the effectiveness of communications overall, including frequency and quality of message we want to convey.
  • Keeping  teams  engaged in the initiative through open communications and getting their feedback.
  • Getting stakeholders involved in communications through enabling for more effective two-way conversations. Feedback closes the loop of communication and it helps in reducing the confusions in people’s mind.

Will continue this series on communication which will definitely help for many….

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