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Ideas, suggestions and general thoughts about project management for development.

How to Develop Effective Communications

b2ap3_thumbnail_effective-communications.pngOne of the biggest factors for low performance of project managers is poor communication skills. Project managers are too often promoted for their technical accomplishments, without any assessment of their communication skills. If the project manager is not a good communicator, then he or she shouldn’t be a project manager. Otherwise, the organization increases the risks to the project and increases the work that senior supervisors need to do in order fill in for this gap.

Essentially, communication means transferring ideas, but communication is more than speaking, the spoken words are only 7% of communication and that body language, facial expressions, tonality, and style constitute the rest of the 93%. To be a good communicator is not difficult, but requires practice and good coaching, here are some basic tips that will help any project manager improve these skills:

1. Listen, listen, and listen. Spend time to learn to listen, hear what your staff and stakeholders are saying before sending any communications, listening will give opportunities for clues about what the intended audience is prepared to hear from the project. Communication is a two-way street, so it is important to listen carefully when the team members, beneficiaries or other key stakeholders are speaking

2. Ask questions and ask for questions –When hearing something that it is not clear, then people should ask about it. It is important that everyone understands exactly the message. Equally important is to let a team member asks questions to clarify a point and it should be answered in a timely manner. The team member may be bringing up a crucial detail that could make or break the project’s plans.

3. Don’t delay key messages. Make the effort to ensure that those who should know about any project changes know about it as soon as possible. Not sending the communication to the right people at the right time may result in work may not get done; or worse, work done in an area that has been cancelled.

4. Be consistent with your key messages. Nothing confuses more than sending inconsistent messages about the project. If one communication tells a message that the project is on track, but another says there are delays, the project manager w
ill be seen as not having a clue on what is going on and that deteriorates the image of the project. Revise the communication for inconsistencies before sending the to their intended audiences

5. Know your audience. It is a great mistake to assume that one message can fit all the project audiences. The project lives in an environment that is made up of people from different backgrounds and levels of understanding about the project. Even cultural differences call for a need to customize the communication. Make an effort to communicate by expressing the message from the point of view of the audience.

6. Make the message simple, concise and to the point. Nothing breaks down communications than sending long and complex messages. Long speeches or long documents filled with information that is not relevant will cause the audience to lose its focus and concentration on the message. Make sure that your message is easy to read, calls for action or informs without using a lot of explanations.

 

7. Pay attention to nonverbal communications. As much as 93 percent of the meaning transmitted between two people in face-to-face communication is nonverbal. Nonverbal communications include gestures, body language, facial expressions and eye contact. Project managers need to take into account their nonverbal cues when communication verbally, ensuring a good posture, good eye contact and the right tone of voice is used that do not contradict the words that are being spoken.

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Why you need email etiquette?

b2ap3_thumbnail_email-etiquette.pngAll your professional email communications needs to make an impression that you are someone that will be easy and a pleasure to work with and that you are a credible professional.  With email you only have one chance to make that first impression which will be invaluable to building trust and confidence. It’s very common that your first contact with other people will often be through email. In fact, while you may never actually meet them face to face, you might well end up having a productive ongoing email and professional relationship with them for years. 

These are three reasons why you need email etiquette

·         Avoid confusion, poorly worded emails can lead to misinterpretation or mistake

·         Efficiency: emails that get to the point are much more effective than long emails.

·         Professionalism: by using proper email language you will convey a professional image

Here are some simple rules of email etiquette you can follow in order to make sure your emails will be warmly and productively received.

  1. Check your organization’s email policy is. Many organizations have rules about the types of message that can be sent and also if your email is monitored or screened
  2. Make sure your e-mail includes a courteous greeting and closing. Helps to make your e-mail not seem demanding or terse.
  3. Address your contact with the appropriate level of formality and make sure you spelled their name correctly
  4. Spell check - emails with typos are simply not taken as seriously
  5. Read your email out loud to ensure the tone is that which you desire. Try to avoid relying on formatting for emphasis; rather choose the words that reflect your meaning instead
  6. Be sure you are including all relevant details or information necessary to understand your request or point of view
  7. Refrain from using the Reply to All feature to give your opinion to those who may not be interested. In most cases replying to the Sender alone is your best course of action
  8. Type in complete sentences. To type random phrases or cryptic thoughts does not lend to clear communication
  9. Always acknowledge emails from those you know in a timely manner
  10. Be sure the Subject: field accurately reflects the content of your email
  11. Keep emails brief and to the point
  12. Always end your emails with "Thank you," "Sincerely," "Best regards" 
  13. Avoid unnecessarily large file sizes. Digital photos especially, learn how to resize your digital photographs
  14. Don't type in CAPITALS as this is considered to be SHOUTING. This is one of the rudest things you can do.
  15. Use BCCs (Blind Carbon Copies) when addressing a message to a group of people who don't necessarily know each other
  16. Don't write anything you wouldn't say in public
  17. Be Professional, stay away from abbreviations and don't use emoticons (the little smiley faces).
  18. Ask Before You Send an Attachment: Because of large size attachments or computer viruses, many people won't open attachments unless they know the sender, ask the recipient first
  19. Think before you forward! Get the sender's permission first
  20. Don't send confidential or secret information through email. Email messages are more like postcards than sealed letters; they pass through many computers to get to their destination.

 

Remember, the content of an email includes the character of the person who wrote it, so try to make a good impression every time.

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