Project communication: How do you tell ‘em and how effective are you?

 “It’s the way you tell ‘em”……allegedly said by the late Tommy Cooper.

How do you tell ‘em? How do you communicate information in your projects and how effective are you?

A survey by my company, Project Agency shows that nearly 70% of project managers who have been our project management raining courses felt that project communications were poor or very poor – an interesting statistic as they are the ones who should be trying to make them effective.

When we went on to discuss communications in more detail the majority said they disliked email as a means of communicating. Why? “We receive too many.” In many cases over 75 per day with some receiving 100-150 per day.

Here’s the sting in the tail! When asked what method they mainly used to communicate they said…..e-mail!

When we looked at alternative methods of communicating it was obvious that some people put very little time into developing an overall communications strategy for their projects.

Those involved in change management projects (a significant proportion) said they faced a number of challenges introducing change. When I made the link between the need for excellent communication and change there was a slow realisation that more time and effort and different channels of communications should be used.

• What about you? How do you tell ’em? Is this effective?

• Do you just use one main method of communicating? If yes, what other methods would   produce  better results or the same results with less effort?

• Introducing change? Do you need to be more effective with your communications?

Maybe time for action!

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3 Responses to Project communication: How do you tell ‘em and how effective are you?

  1. Chris Warren says:

    Interesting feedback. I find that email can be effective most of the time if you have a focused and responsive team but, let’s face it, how often do you get that?! The other problem I have with email is the ’email persona’ is quite often more hostile and less helpful than the person’s actual persona. The benefit is that you have an instant documented record of the conversation if done by email. Again, people can avoid emails, claiming not to have seen or that they get too many as a result.

    The more efficient comms channel I find is a good old fashioned face to face conversation (if time and budgets allow) or a phone call. Problem is formalising this to track agreed actions. Meeting minutes/action plans are key to this of course but if you’re lacking project admin or juggling several projects at once these often drop off the to-do list far too easily.

    In the end, if you rely on email, then I find that persistent laced with understanding pays off. Push for an answer stating you understand that they are busy but you need a quick reply. Flags can help as well.

    If all else fails start cc’ing in line management. I find it amazing how quickly people manage to ‘find’ your email when you do that 😉

  2. Dan says:

    Actually, ”It’s the way you tell ‘em” should be “It’s the way I tell ’em.” It was a catchphrase of Frank Carson’s.

    Dan

  3. Ron says:

    Thanks Chris for the comments. I guess my concern is that email is so easy and that people use it for speed rather than actually communicating. To develop real communcation plans takes time with many projects not having such a plan!

    Dan, thanks for the correction though I am sure Tommy Cooper had a similar phrase!

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