According to the Project Management Institute ineffective communication can lead to project failure a third of the times and compromise the project’s budget a half of the time.
Communication is key to project success. However, improving communication can be more difficult than it sounds.
The Three Cs of communication are: Be Clear, Concise, & Be Concrete. These three tips will help you communicate your goals better to your team. Your team will also be able give you the feedback that you need to manage them better. Include each in your project communication plan.
1. Be clear
What is the purpose for your communication? Your coworkers will not know if you aren’t sure. When you address a colleague, make sure you have a clear goal. Ask yourself: What is the purpose of this meeting?”
Use simple language and keep your eyes on the ultimate goal of the meeting. To ensure that your ideas are understood by your colleagues, check in with them.
These strategies can help you to be more clear.
2. Be Concise
Imagine that you were speaking to your CEO, your coworker, or an intern. You need to communicate the current stage of your project and the next steps. There is a good chance that you won’t communicate the message to all three people in the same way.
Communicating clearly means being concise. It’s about getting to the point without adding fluff to your words. Your intern will likely want a quick 1, 2, 3, explanation of the project’s status, where it is going, and what tasks it will require to get there. However, your CEO will need more information about how it relates with other company projects or goals.
The emphasis of your communication may change depending on who you are talking to, but the fluff won’t. Your CEO, your coworker or your intern don’t need extra content.
Use direct language when describing the next steps of your project. Avoid using confusing acronyms and jargon. Terms like “ACWP”, “project phase” and “project phase”, may be used to convey a specific idea to a team member. However, ACWP might refer to “Animal Control and Welfare Project” and “actual cost of work done” in some cases. These are some other business terms you might want to translate:
3. Be Concrete
Rayne Hall was right when she said that writing style can be descriptive but not wordy, and wordy without being descriptive. This idea applies to all communication forms, from writing a novel to giving a speech to chatting one-on-one with a colleague. It is possible to be concise and clear without sacrificing detail.
You can choose to communicate abstractly or concretely in the world of communication. Abstract communicators allow for interpretation and ambiguity. Concrete communicators are focused on phrases and terms that remain the same regardless of what language is used.
Concrete language can help you ground your abstract ideas. Instead of saying “I need to be more reliable with my time cards,” you could say “I need your time card to be emailed by 12PM on Fridays.” This clarifies the ambiguous term “reliable” and gives you a clear action item with a deadline.
These steps will help you be more concrete:
Good project management requires good communication. I’ve only listed three terms: be clear, concise, and concrete. But I’m sure there are many more. How can you ensure smooth communication when working on a project. Comment below to share your thoughts!
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