Langley Foxall
Fraser Scott

Communication, Communication, Communication.

How would you rate your most recent conversations and did it fit into the 7 C’s of Communication?

According to the 7 Cs, communication needs to be:

Clear.
Concise.
Concrete.
Correct.
Coherent.
Complete.
Courteous.

Today's methods of communication are all around us with multiple platforms where we are interacting with one another anywhere around the world in real time.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Skype and the old-timer email are just a few to name when we talk about how we interact with one another socially. It’s safe to say communication is an essential process in our day-to-day life, and the entire world revolves around it.

Communication is a two-way process I’ve been lead to believe but how often do we hear the line…” There seems to have been a breakdown of communication” or the classic “There must have been some miscommunication along the line”. Maybe if you were listening we’d be on track!

You can miscommunicate and misunderstand your peers with any form of medium. Here are a few that I know I’m guilty of.

Face to Face –
Your body language says a lot about you… your confidence in delivery, your means of understanding the task at hand, your body language is there for everyone to see and interpret whether you believe what you are saying or whether you are uncomfortable and unsure. Some subtle signs to look out for such as the way you stand, or your facial expression, if you fidget, these will create an impression that may be contrary to your words to your audience.

On the Phone -
One that I laughed at when I heard it the first time “Smile and Dial.” I learned this one from a small stint in sales and it's stuck with me smiling while communicating on the phone.

Of course, the idea of smiling on the phone sounds ridiculous but, it’s true and has been around for quite a few years, a large number of professionals still do not understand its importance. Think about it when you smile, your tone actually becomes more positive and friendly. I would suggest this one to anyone who hasn’t tried it. You’ll notice that, regardless of what you say, your tone is more upbeat and friendly when you say it with a smile. However, you can’t just go on a smile, think about your message before you make that phone call you want to draw your audience in and not bore them. The message you leave on a voicemail – the recipient, what impression would you receive and was it good or bad? When you leave messages on answering machines they should be concise and to the point, not rambling to the point of being cut off by the time limit.

Those angry emails...

We have either received one or heard of one, those emails where you can feel the anger in each line of someone’s email. It feels like someone has physically written a splat into their email. The way you transcribe an email with no forethought can do great damage. This to consider, the tone of the email and are you adding any value in your response, if not then don't send it.

It works both ways...

The misuse or overuse of email can damage relationships. Customer will be more appreciative if you formulate a response that adds value and answers their concerns, remember email is not an urgent communication.. pick up the phone and just talk it out its best to squash your inner keyboard warrior.

Which leads me on to how this applies to a project and its ongoing management. How important is this communication in project management, communication is an essential tool in the field of project management.

It is gainings importance every day of the project timeline and is the center of all management processes. How we collaborate with the team around us and how well we communicate ultimately define the success of the project.
It all starts with day 1 the initial project start date, if the underlying principles of a communication network are not set from the start the project is doomed from the very beginning. The network will span the lifetime of the project and start middle and finish. The communication network is essential, It's a tool to provide regular updates to notify the status of the project as well as its performance capacity.

If project staff do not know what their tasks are, or how to accomplish them, then the entire project will grind to a halt. If you do not know what the project staff are (not) doing then you will be unable to monitor project progress. And if you are uncertain of what the customer expects of you, then the project will not even get off the ground.

Maintaining open, regular and accurate channels of communication with all evolved with the project is vital to ensuring the smooth flow of instructions from customer to factory floor and sufficient warning of risks and changes to enable early assessment and preparation.

The big key to a successful project is to never stand still when obstacles come at you. There isn’t one magic idea that will fix everything, but if you willing to learn from mistakes and communicate and share with the team around you, you stand a good chance at reaching the finish line as a team.