Communication management is one of the greatest challenges PMs have. We never stop improving in this area. We work at it every day for three main reasons: First, every individual and team is unique – and communicates differently. Second, the complexity and speed of information is increasing constantly. Just when you think you have figured it out, it changes. Third, there is always a creative and innovative way to deliver a message. Amidst the challenges, here are four fundamental basics to keep us connecting well:
#1 Who – Know your audience. Before you can be successful at this, you must ‘get to know’ your audience. Tailor your approach based on what works best for them. For example, if you know a person doesn’t like surprises, give him or her a heads up first.
#2 Why – Know your purpose. Purpose is vital to every message. Since there is so much information overload, people desire quality over quantity. A message with a mission will get their attention.
#3 What – Know what you are talking about. Do your homework and present the facts. Most messages fall into buckets, such as Action, Information-Sharing, Question, Request, Decision or another category. Think about which bucket the message falls in, and communicate accordingly. You never want to leave anyone wondering, “What is the point?”
#4 When – Action-oriented messages are time-sensitive. For these messages, specify due dates and times as appropriate. Avoid using terms such as ‘ASAP, EOD, COB’ and list the actual time of day that you need a response by.
While these are simple points we should know, it is surprising how many times we miss them. We all are moving at such a fast pace, we may overlook what we know about effective communication. I suggest we slow down and be intentional about making the connection. After all, poor communication is the end result of a poor connection. Make the connection and you will communicate well!
If you found these tips from Lakecia Carter, PMP of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in her self-paced, downloadable courses at PDUs2Go.com.
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