How You Can Improve your Communication for More Successful Projects
It's well-known within the industry that communication is vital to project management. However, that doesn't mean every project manager is communicating well.
The Project Management Institute found that 90% of time spent on a project involves communication from the project manager. If your communication is breaking down, your project is bound to fail. Unfortunately, you might not even realise your communication is failing. It can be easy to point to other sources of blame when you're trying to identify where a project went wrong.
Effective and efficient communication is much more than simply checking in with your team. You really need to understand the reality of the problems you're facing. Otherwise, you're never going to fix them.
Follow our tips to improve your communication for successful projects.
Don't be afraid to ask the difficult questions!
Your body language and tone are important factors of communication, but it's crucial that you're asking the difficult questions. Identify exactly what you want to understand and get out of each meeting with your team. Not every question is easy or comfortable, but they are essential. Facing the tricky moments is the only way you'll have all the information and overcome your challenges.
However, understanding how to ask these questions is a vital skill. A good project manager knows how to get the best out of each of their team members. Recognise the difficult moments and take time to consider how best to approach them.
Also, don't make the mistake of undervaluing effective listening. Asking the right questions is futile if you don't engage and fully take onboard the answers. Active listening maximises your understanding and ensures each member of your team feels valued.
Be an effective leader.
Communication is necessary from all members of your team, at all levels, but it is the responsibility of the project manager to demonstrate good communication and foster an environment for it to flourish in.
It might not come naturally to everyone, but working on your personal communication skills is a great way to improve your team as a whole. Not only will they have a stronger understanding of exactly what you need from them, they will be able to replicate the skills they see for their own communication.
Additionally, effective communication requires the right environment. Recently we discussed the concept of psychological safety and how allowing your team to feel comfortable to be honest and raise concerns can have a powerful impact on the success of your projects. Encouraging psychological safety within your team improves communication so you're not missing the important details.
Strengthen your weaknesses with technology.
There is not just one way to be a good communicator. You might find that you thrive in face-to-face meetings when you have the chance to speak directly and gauge the responses in front of you. However, when it comes to your written communication, you struggle.
It can be more difficult for some to get words on paper effectively than vocalise their thoughts directly. As the way of working has changed so dramatically in the past year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, opportunities for those face-to-face discussions have become more and more infrequent. Even the next best thing, the now familiar Zoom calls, can't fully supplement for what you miss in real life and presents its own entirely new challenges. (Keep an eye out for our blog next week detailing all our tips to maximise your Zoom meetings!)
However, new technology can help you tackle your weak spots. We recently discovered the app Otter, which can automatically transcribe your meetings - even on Zoom! It takes the pain out of your written communication and can help you get what you really mean down on paper.
Strong communication is central to what we do. We're not afraid to ask the difficult questions and we know how to do so to get the best out of your team. If you think your communication might be holding back your projects, give us a call for a chat.