If you have been part of a project, large or small, you have seen communication challenges. These challenges seem to crop up often yet the good news is that they can be addressed. When you take the time to pay attention to the project’s communications and work at doing it well things will go much smoother for you.
Here’s look at some of the biggest challenges:
- Poor Planning – This shows up in several ways: a lack of information, wrong information for the audience, and information at the wrong time.
- Ineffective Messages – These cause delays in action or decisions, mistakes due to misunderstanding, and confusion about what is happening.
- Organizational Issues – In some organizations team members are assigned to multiple projects which means the PM is competing for their attention, virtual teams are becoming more common which adds complexity to communicating, and working globally introduces delays due to time zone differences.
- Language Constraints – As business becomes more global language barriers can get in the way of communicating effectively. Different meanings for words and gestures, lack of a common language among a global team, and cultural communication styles are all issues the PM must learn to handle.
- Style and Skills – The communication style and skill level of the PM can introduce challenges. Very direct people can seem overbearing to those who are indirect while indirect people seem to never get to the point to direct communicators. Being uncomfortable in front of a group can impact the effectiveness of the message.
The communication plan and its effectiveness is a key component to delivering a successful project. If the PM or team leader has the skills to adapt to different audiences and different styles they will be more effective. This helps the project in the following ways:
- Decisions will get made in a timely manner
- Tasks are completed correctly when due
- Changes are handled promptly and with less conflict
- Problems and issues are addressed properly and promptly
- Stakeholders understand the changes and impact
“Communication is the breakfast of Champions” – Ken Blanchard
If you are a Project Manager or a Team Leader take the time to focus on communicating well and develop your communication skills. If you are seeing delays in decisions, mistakes, missed due dates, or confusion about changes then you may need to work on improving your project communications. For more information how you can improve your skills check out a free White Paper on “5 Keys to Effective Project Communication” by clicking here.
Thanks to my colleagues in LinkedIn’s The Project Manager Network – #1 Group for Project Managers for their contributions to this topic.