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How to Communicate Effectively on Projects

written by: Nicky LaMarco • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 6/30/2011

Effective communication, in any arena, relies upon the most basic of human skills – listening and response or reaction.

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    Communication

    Communication helps projects get completed in a timely manner. Effective communication eliminates predictable problems that could occur. Without effective communication there would be more problems that would prolong a project.

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    Remain Organized

    Before attempting to communicate or express any ideas, be prepared. Create an outline or agenda to follow. Generate the key points and stick to the agenda. Constant deviation from the agenda may lead to an unclear conveyance of ideas. If listeners do not understand the ideas or cannot follow the delivery of ideas, the result can be a loss of understanding of intended tasks. It is always best to be as brief and as uncomplicated as possible, choosing three to five main points to follow.

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    Clarity

    When conveying ideas, it is most beneficial to remain focused and on-topic. Deviation from the outline or main points could lead listeners to misinterpret or misunderstand the intended objective. Repetition of certain key phrases or ideas is often the best way to clearly deliver a message that will be remembered. Not only is it important to be clear when selecting words, but it is also important to be clear when speaking those words. Speech that is garbled, confusing, too complex, too rapid or muddled will not be well received or well heard on the other end. Often, pausing for effect and for listeners to digest information can help in communicating a particular message.

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    Listening

    49d583430a384 As previously stated, communication is not simply speaking, but also listening. Careful listening and understanding is just as important as speaking. Asking for immediate feedback is one of the best methods of checking on the progress of communication. If listeners are unable to reiterate the important points, then it is most likely that they are not absorbing the key messages.

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    Accountability

    Unlike casual conversation, effective communication in project management requires that all team members involved be held accountable for the understanding of ideas. When relaying specific messages or tasks to be handled, project managers and participants may want to provide their input into one, widely shared table to spreadsheet. Such as table may outline ideas or tasks and would require that all participants add their feedback to the table on a regular basis.

    Translating spoken or written ideas into a very precise table format, which requires feedback and updates, is an effective way to communicate any number of messages to a vast group of varied individuals. Tasks assigned to any specific person or group of persons can be identified in such a table. Therefore, if there is any question during the delivery of the message whom is responsible for what task, it will be written and shared among all participants. Whatever method of accountability is chosen, all recipients of the message should provide immediate feedback, otherwise it is unclear if the proper message was conveyed.

     

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    Summary

    Project management communication is a special skill. It requires the expert to listen well, articulate concisely, write clearly, and answer all questions that come up. Clear communications will help a project go from beginning to end smoothly.