24 Feb 2021

Project communication is broken: These 3 changes can fix it

Opinion
Project communication is broken: These 3 changes can fix it

The global pandemic has reshaped the way we work and communicate. Working remotely is here to stay and communicating anywhere, anytime is the new normal.

These days, many project leaders are feeling more pressured, challenged and compelled to be “always on”. This of course can be very disruptive to your effectiveness, sabotage productivity, and impact communication.

If this sounds familiar, there are some simple strategies you can implement to streamline the communication process, so everyone related to the project, from the client to the contractors is on board and knows where the project is headed.
 

Motivate your project team with our Foundations in Project Leadership workshop


Greg Crowther and Darrell Croker from Communicate For Impact run us through the three changes you can make that will restore your project communication capability.

 

1. REDEFINING PROJECT COMMUNICATION EFFECTIVENESS  

All aspects of project communication need a “health check”. Project leaders and their C-suite supporters must decide what pre-COVID project communication systems and practices to keep, stop, and change.
 
Project stakeholders – the recipients of your communication – are under the same pressures as you. They are confronted with too many things to do and not enough time to do them. They are overwhelmed with words in electronic, written and spoken form.
 




Knowing how your stakeholders like to receive information, will mean you are well-placed to review and codify the content, style, and approach of project communication.

  

2. REFRESHING PEOPLE'S COMMUNICATION SKILLS

It’s time to champion clear, concise and outcomes-focused communication. The five minutes of yesterday has become the 30 seconds of today. That’s why it’s important to have every project message stand out clearly. Your words are important, make them count.
 
Most project practitioners are not taught business-ready communication skills. Schools and tertiary institutions are not equipping them with the ability to write and speak in a style that ensures effective results. Project-related emails and other documents are too often long-winded and littered with mistakes. They dissuade, not persuade. Meetings are frustrating too, they ramble, irritate and impede good decision making.
 
The COVID-accelerated work-from-anywhere workplace amplifies these shortcomings. If project managers struggle to communicate well, they will struggle in a remote team.

 

3. ROLE-MODELING DESIRED BEHAVIOURS

Leaders shape culture and influence communication. If you want your project team colleagues to put their best foot forward in meetings, calls and writing, show them how it is done. Be the role-model for clear, concise and audience-centred writing. Be the coach for more inclusive and purposeful meetings. 

Acclaimed US project manager William Cohen once said “all successful projects are simply a long series of adversities that must be over”.
 
“Until my project is completed,” Cohen said, “communication is my deliverable.”
 

Competent communicators are in a much stronger position when adversities arise. Consider what is the standard of project communication in your workplace and how can you improve it.


Project-Leadership-download