Effective communication is the key to project success. For many people, communication knowledge area may not look like an important concept.
But in my experience, an efficient project manager always takes this communication management knowledge area seriously to prevent lot of common project issues.
In our previous blog post, we have learned different tools and techniques to be used in communication management. All of those are very handy practically while developing, managing and controlling communications.
Important considerations for Effective Communication
- Perform proper communication requirement analysis – Understand the project communication needs. Understand the 5Ws and 1H.
- Who – Who needs to communicate in the project. We have seen how to calculate number of communication channels require in the project. Based on this project manager has to declare official channels of communication.
- What – What needs to communicate
- When – When should you communicate
- Where – Whether communication should happen at team level or individual level
- Why – Why communication is needed and what is the level of importance for this communication.
- How – How the communication should happen. Which technology to be used, which communication method to be used.
- Proper communication planning is the key to success. Spend quality time in planning communication to avoid pitfalls later in the project.
- Understand the communication model to be used in the project. We have seen communication model that explain how a sender transmits a message to the receiver.
- Consider and align to the enterprise environmental factors and organizational process assets while planning, managing and controlling the communications.
- Understand the any barriers which is preventing the communications, and manage the risks and issues carefully.
Factors for Effective Communication
Eventually communication has two parts. One is sending the message and the other is listening to the message.
In any type of communication, it is very important for the sender to ensure that the receiver understood the message.
Verbal communication is the most simpler way of communication compare to the other types of communication. As a project manager you need ensure that the receiver understood the communication that you are sending.
Wait a minute.
But how can the project manager ensure that the message received properly by the recipient?
Most of the times, in verbal communication you can see the confirmation of sent message in recipient’s body language, feedback and verbal confirmation of the sent message.
Especially your facial expressions, gestures, pitch or tone of the voice and the context that you are in have a lot to do with whether people will understand you or not.
So here are some important aspects to effective communication.
Nonverbal communication is gestures or postures, facial expressions and your physical appearance while you are communicating the message to the recipients.
For example if you are wearing a casual funny dress in a meeting, people may not take your words seriously.
Another example could be attending the job interview. Lot of us might have attended the job interviews where interviewer might be observing how the candidate is behaving during the interview.
Generally we don’t always think about this seriously. But the way your body language is and the way you behave can convey more than your words when you are communicating your message across.
Paralingual communication is specifically about your voice of the tone.
For example while speaking to your team member, if your voice showing the excitement or sadness or angry, that is your paralingual communication in action.
Your Paralingual communication has lot of impact on people listening to you.
If you are speaking sarcastically or upset, then people may catch message in a different way instead of taking in a positive way.
Feedback is confirming to the sender that you have received and understood the communication. And that happens when you respond to the communication.
For example, when somebody is talking to you asking questions in between the topic, will tell the sender that you are listening to him carefully. That is a form feedback.
Another example could be after you listen to the sender, you finally summarize your understanding of the communication.
When are you listening to someone, and you give lot of such feedback, indicating to the sender that you are listening to him carefully. Then it is active listening.
Monitoring nonverbal and physical communication and providing feedback to the sender, indicating that the message has been clearly understood or not is the effective listening.
Communication blocker is anything that interference (noise) the message, with the sender encoding or the receiver decoding it.
We have seen how important the communication is for the project manager.
Also we discussed on the important consideration for the effective communication. Here we discussed the importance of proper communication plan for the success of the project. And as part of the plan, project manager needs to understand and calculate the number of communication channels required in the project.
Furthermore we have discussed about importance of communication tools and techniques used in the communication knowledge area.
Finally we traversed through some of the important aspects or terminology pertaining to effective communication.