It is said that “the greatest enemy of communication is the illusion of it.” and for anyone who is a project manager, maintaining good and open dialogue with their team members is the key skill you need to have in your arsenal. Every single member of your team has a different take on life and different ways of doing things, as well as entirely different ways of communicating. This can be even more tricky if you’re all working remotely, or in a virtual office space.
To avoid communication challenges, here are three common pitfalls project managers should look out for.
Never give TMI – keep it concise
Information overload can overwhelm team members. If you’re in a long winded meeting, keep any points you need to make, brief, succinct and to the point to avoid confusion. Only send emails to relevant people and not to whole teams, if the message is not relevant to certain individuals.
Cut meeting times to a minimum and invite only those who are actively involved in discussions. Make good use of project management tools that will help you communicate more effectively with your team, as well as solve any other challenges as they arise.
Organise your schedule properly
Communication does takes time. If your schedule is full you may find yourself rushing, or not taking enough time out to get your point across in the way you’d like to. Instructions given to a team member as you walk by on your way to another meeting may not be heard or clearly understood. The team member is likely engrossed in another task and may need a moment to shift focus. Interruptions are a big time-waster and can often lead to further confusion and tasks taking longer than they need to!
Cut the jargon
While jargon may be acceptable and understood among members of a common group or profession, it can sometimes be a total nightmare to an outsider or someone who perhaps is not as involved with certain projects as others. Some people may all understand what “above the fold” on a website means and “ROI” may be an everyday expression for your business-savvy team members, but other people might find this confusing and not so easy to understand. Try to cut out using internet shorthand or slang too, unless everyone on your team is familiar with it!
…and don’t forget
Challenges are to be expected when you manage a team of diverse individuals, but with effective communication, the right management tools, and a proactive attitude, you’ll be able to stay on top of things and guide your project to a successful conclusion.