Effective communication in project management
Even though many organizations are coming back into the traditional office environment, we have now learned that some hybrid approach to virtual communication is here to stay and can sometimes be difficult to navigate. This Q&A provides helpful tips for communicating effectively in a virtual setting.
How do you communicate in virtual teams?
The best way to communicate in virtual teams is to keep people informed and minimize the number of meetings you have. One idea is to create a project management communication plan that maps out how to communicate with each stakeholder. The key is making sure you’re concise in what you are trying to say so there is not as much room for misunderstanding.
What goes into a communication plan?
- Compliance: Ask yourself what approval is needed for what. Should stakeholders need to simply be informed or are they to be involved in the decision-making process? This shapes how you communicate with them.
- The goal: What do we want from the stakeholders as a result of communicating with them?
- Stakeholder analysis: Who does what during each phase of the project?
- Frequency of communication: How often will you update the necessary stakeholders?
- Communications manager: Who will talk to the stakeholders? One liaison is ideal to prevent miscommunications and missing information.
How can you communicate a failure without it coming across as judgmental?
Start off by pointing out the positive details of the project or topic of discussion. There are usually good things that come out of overall failures, even if it is a lesson for the future. Instead of just dwelling on the negative, look for ways to let them know what they could do better and how to improve. It is also good to point out that it is not personal. Do your best to be gentle in correction or delivery while also being concise and to the point. Also, as we continue in a more global environment, it is important to take into consideration any cultural differences to ensure you are not offending them solely because you were not aware.
What are the best tools and techniques for communicating with stakeholders?
Using spreadsheets and slides is an option but not the best one. Having one location for all tasks and actions is important and the key is to minimize interruptions while still communicating the key messages to the team.
How can we improve building relationships online?
With everything being online, making personal relationships with coworkers and stakeholders is difficult. Try to make meetings fun by allowing for small talk and not getting complacent. Preparing for meetings in advance gives the meeting organization and can bring a lot of energy to your meetings rather than just shouting from the hip and enabling the meeting to just flow freely.