When someone says communication skill, you probably think about the “soft skills” theme. Nowadays, the digital era requires from us to have a good mechanical/technical process or routine when it comes to sharing our message. Let me explain. Soft skills are great when you have an in-person meeting with someone. When it comes to digital communication we should be more strategic and use the technology in our hands to mimic the soft skills and deliver the message in the right manner. With everything we communicate, we are trying to trigger change or action. To be more persuasive and effective in your communication, use the following five routines:
Draft Your Message First
Start with the end in mind. What do you want to happen after the receiver reads/receives your message/information? Write that down as a subject line on a white piece of paper. Be direct. Below write why, giving a context about your request. After you got this right, do this next…
Think About the Receiver’s Needs
Of course you need something. But in order to get it, you have to place the receiver’s needs/state of mind on the pedestal. What do THEY need and how much time do THEY have to process that? If you are communicating something like Status Report, then you can’t send the same information to every stakeholder. Meaning, your team members need information that is highly detailed and highly specific to the work they are assigned. Going higher in the organisational hierarchy, you should have summarised and actionable, distilled information delivered directly and quickly. After you give the right form for the right audience to your message, it is time to.
Choose the Right Communication Channel
Let’s do a quick recap. Right now,
- You know your goal
- You know what the other side needs
- You know in what form you should put your message in order to reach your goal while meeting the receiver’s needs
In other words, you’ve prepared the right “vehicle”. Now you need to choose the right “road” for it. For example:
No paper, ok? Living in 2015, you should have a dashboard/PM software where your stakeholders and team can see/receive the right form of status report. It will be short, clean and everyone can get it in their smartphone. So prepare your text for that kind of “consumption”.
There are two ways to handle this. Normal team communication, execution communication and project related issues should be handled within a project management software. Official matters within the project execution should be handled via email and the PM software too.
Phone and voicemail. People often hide behind the monitors, waiting the other side to show up. Action is what it counts. That is why you should pick up the phone anytime you need to deliver concise and urgent message.
Use the Compass Routine
The attention span of people is becoming very short. That’s where the “compass” method come in. It is basically creating a short highlights/overview with links/directions about “what can be found where” + attachments.
This is you saying: “Here are the main points and here are the places you should go if you want to go deeper.”
To Make It Right, Schedule It
If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter. – Blaise Pascal
To make your communication professional and efficient in the same time, you should really spend time on it (or have someone do it for you.) That is why you should schedule time in your calendar where you can sit down and work on it. It is the only way your message to cut through the noise and trigger action on the other side.
As you know, real communication requires many soft skills in different stages like leading, negotiating and providing performance feedback. In this day and age, it is essential to have processes and good techniques too. That is why, the best project managers fancy both the soft skills and the good process skills. A good part of being good in the communication is the tools you use. The digital trends always introduce something new to us. The problem with that is having too many tools and end up overwhelmed and confused. For other aspects in the construction site, download The Circle of Productivity to further improve your productivity.