Effective communication – how well we communicate our message and how we choose the right channel of communication – is essential for every aspect of our lives. Sometimes the way that people interpret our message is not what was intended – and this is where the fun starts! Here are three lessons I’ve learned about communicating effectively:
- To email or not to email? @ is the question!
To send a message to many people, email is likely to be the quickest, the least painful (to us) and require the least effort from us. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best communication channel. Have you heard anyone say “I wish I got more emails every day”? Me neither.
In today’s working world, we tend to rely too much on email. We sometimes email people without ever having established a relationship with them, in which case they may just treat our message as spam, and ignore it. Too often we use email not to communicate, but to create evidence that we have communicated, enabling us to just tick a box.
If we find ourselves emailing colleagues who are based in the same office, stop to ponder if it would be better to get up from our desk, walk to the other side of the room and have a conversation with this person. In the majority of cases, the benefits of this conversation will far outweigh the effort that it took to get off our seats!
- Articulating the Vision
In the world of project management, Communication is one of the ten knowledge areas and for good reason – it is the fuel that keeps our projects running smoothly. A good PM will spend a majority of his/her time communicating.
I have learned working as a Project Manager within Aspira that a Communication plan doesn’t have to be overly bureaucratic – even a simple list of which meetings and reports are required each week/month is a great way to let people involved in the project know what’s expected of them. Being able to communicate and manage all the different stakeholders will make a huge difference; winning them over to the project’s compelling vision by executing the communications plan will go a long way towards project success. You can learn more about Aspira’s approach to delivering projects at www.aspira.net
- Communication as an enabler for a harmonised family life
As my family get older, I have begun to realise that to ensure some sort of harmony at home, effective communication is essential here too. Even at their young age, my children have a better social life than I do. To cope with the seemingly endless activities they attend, I have tried to enforce the rule than if it is not in the calendar it does not happen.
It can be difficult for practice to align with theory though, as in reality there can be a mad rush at the last minute to get a gift for the party that we thought was next week or pick up the child which we thought the other was collecting!
In summary, there are different types of communication, formal and informal, written and verbal. Many times face to face is best, though is time consuming; other times simply picking up the phone and having a conversation is best; and finally there are times when email, the dreaded email, can be the best option.
I have realised that people are neither telepathic nor mind readers, so rather than suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, remember that when it comes to communication you’ll get out what you put in!
Author: Ruth O’Leary, PMO, Aspira