Communication Is So Vital

I know I’ve talked about the importance of communication with projects many times before. If you search the CQ blog for communication, you will get quite a few hits.

Communication can make or break a project. Simple to say. So hard to practice.

Merriam-Webster offers one definition of communication as:

the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else

I strive to be a good communicator in all aspects of my life. I often fall short. Communication, especially project related communication, is fascinating to me these days. As a project manager, I feel responsible for leading and driving communication to ensure tasks and responsibilities are understood and progress is being made. When something falls through the cracks, a task is misunderstood, or a miscommunication occurs, I feel somewhat responsible for this.

The trouble and enigma surrounding communication is that it involves more than one person. Just because I feel like I have done a good job “communicating” a message is NOT good enough. The person receiving the message need to verify receipt of the communication. And if more than two people are involved, effective communication becomes even more challenging.

Couple this with all the ways used to communicate these days: face to face, verbal, email, text, body language, and so on. If you work with a team, there is a very good chance that team members have different methods of communication they prefer. As a project manager, I have to do my best to figure this out quickly. I also have to keep in mind that a person’s preferred method of communication could also change.

Work in a project environment, there is a high tendency to rely too heavily on emails for communication. Emails alone are not good enough. Personally, I prefer live communications–face to face and verbal. Lately, I attempt to communicate live first and follow-up with text and/or email messages. I try to hit multiple communication formats with each team member, to help ensure the intended message is being delivered and received appropriately.

Despite this, I still have so much room to improve my communication style and technique.

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