Communication: How to Make it a Two-Way Street in Every Project (Part 1)

Posted by Emilija

Communication is the lifeblood of any relationship.  Whether it is casual, professional, or even romantic, a relationship relies on verbal and non-verbal interactions to establish a foundation of trust.  A project manager can prove his or herself as a reliable and trustworthy leader by actively listening and being engaged with project participants.  While this may undoubtedly seem like part of the job description, the real challenge is opening up a channel in which communication is encouraged to flow in more than one direction.  How can a project manager accomplish this?

Open the Communication Channel

To achieve an open communication channel, there are certain tasks that need to be completed at the start of every project.  According to The Project Management Institute’s Project Management Body of Knowledge, a project manager should identify project stakeholders, establish a plan for communication, distribute information and management expectations, and report performance on communications.  When you know who is involved, how you will communicate, and what is expected, this sets a good foundation for you and project participants to communicate more openly and effectively.

However, how can you guarantee that those at the end of the channel are as equally and actively engaged?  To make communication a two-way street in every , a project manager should provide more verbal and scheduled communication and opportunities for confirmation of communication.

Provide More Verbal Communication

In this age of technology and electronic communication, there are endless ways to get in touch with someone.  While this has certainly shaped our society’s social habits into embracing faster and briefer feedback, oftentimes emails just don’t relay the same message as a face-to-face (or voice-to-voice, if distance is an issue) meeting would.  It is important to be able to distinguish when it is best to communicate via verbal and non-verbal channels.

With that said, do not be afraid to pick up the phone, schedule a conference call, or even have lunch with key project stakeholders.  Not only are you leaving a memorable impression with that person, but you are also making an investment in the relationship. To a project stakeholder, this shows your commitment to the project and its promised end result.

Although the increase in verbal communication is a step in the right direction, you will need to be careful.  While the benefits certainly outweigh the drawbacks, the additional time spent communicating can hamper your project management time and could potentially affect the project’s schedule and cost.  To make sure you are not negating any good you do, manage your time more carefully and efficiently.

This is a guest article written by Tom Schaetzle

Tom Schaetzle
Vice President of Professional Services
Galvin Technologies

Tom Schaetzle is responsible for corporate strategy and service delivery for high-end web-based applications at Galvin Technologies. He has managed web strategy and software engineering services for a customer base ranging from small-cap startups to mid-cap organizations that look to improve business processes by maximizing the use of information technology. Responsibilities at Galvin Technologies include delivery strategy and management, quality assurance, business development, talent acquisition, and human resource administration.

Post comment