5 Awesome Techniques to Optimize Project Communication
Be it among friends or in a business environment, communication is one of the main elements in project management and problems with it can be really annoying. Have you ever been through the experience of working on a task for a few days just to hear from your boss that the directives had changed but were not effectively communicated to the team? Or maybe you’ve already had the experience of coming back from buying the preparatives for a party just to hear that, well, “that’s not the right color”?
It doesn’t matter under which circumstances you are, bad communication means unnecessary extra work, waste of money, worse morale, among many other harmful consequences.
But what if we told you that it doesn’t need to be like that? What if you could optimize project communication by following just a handful of techniques and by using very intuitive tools?
Yes, that’s possible, and this complete guide shows you how. So without further ado, let’s start discussing how to optimize communication both in personal and professional projects
Table of Contents
- Why Is Communication Essential for the Success of Your Project?
- Technique #1 – Create a Straightforward Communication Plan or Platform
- Technique #2 – Decide whether You Have to Create Specific Groups for each Major Area of Your Project
- Technique #3 – Send Daily or Weekly Updates on the Most Recent Decisions and Status of Your Project
- Technique #4 – Don’t Be Unresponsive for too Long
- Technique #5 – When Possible, Separate Professional and Personal Communication
- How SquidHub Makes Everything Easier – A Quick Step-by-Step Guide for Effective Communication on the Platform
(If you are too curious and can’t wait to start using SquidHub, just scroll to the bottom of the page to our step-by-step guide that takes you through the intuitive and powerful functionalities of our tool!)
Why Is Communication Essential for the Success of Your Project?
Let’s think together. What would happen if everyone in your team could communicate efficiently with the group?
Even if you are just a group of friends planning your next big party together, you’ll agree with us that easy communication is essential. If you schedule a planning meeting, you can make sure everybody will be there, and all the group will be readily informed in case someone cannot make it. If you opt to skip the meeting and to decide everything in a group chat, then good communication becomes even more important. When deciding on the more specific tasks and delegating them, constant follow-up is absolutely necessary.
Informal groups and projects can really benefit from an open communication channel, but they are not the only ones. Business environments, where costs, efficiency, and speed are of essence, also experience great improvements from efficient communication. Rework goes down, team members become more comfortable with sharing their ideas, unnecessary tasks are eliminated, deadlines are more easily achievable, questions can be immediately answered, team engagement drastically goes up, stress considerably goes down. These are just a few examples, and we could keep writing more and more lines if we had allowed our brainstorming session to be 15 minutes longer.
So let’s move to the practical part and go through five techniques to facilitate and optimize project communication.
Technique #1 – Create a Straightforward Communication Plan or Platform
Communication plans are more common in business settings. Organizations offer the perfect condition for a great mess when it comes to identifying the right contacts in each sector involved in the project. To solve that, you can bring all the relevant information in one single document.
No, we are not talking about a huge excel sheet full of details and unnecessary information. A communication plan is nothing more than a simple spreadsheet with contact information for the most relevant people in the project. Of course, the document is only effective if it adds value (meaning, it has more benefits than costs). If you know exactly to whom you should talk in each occasion, it might be the case you can skip the communication plan. However, if you think a centralized resource with the competence of each person involved in the project can be handy for you and for your team, then you surely need to create this document.
Now, if you are in a more personal environment, the communication plan might be as simple as a verbal agreement saying “you take care of this, you take care of that, and I take care of that, ok?” That’s enough to establish the contact points for when you have a problem, a doubt, or a suggestion. In any case, you should have a clear idea of the responsibility of each person in the team.
We’ve taken the lead and created an awesome communication plan template for you to use with your team! You can go ahead and download it right here (Template_Communication_Plan_Example.xlsx).
Technique #2 – Decide whether You Have to Create Specific Groups for each Major Area of Your Project
In some cases, especially when your project is a bit larger and more demanding, you might want to split it into different areas or “sub-teams”. George and John will take care of the marketing tasks, Clara and Vincent will deal with suppliers, and Tom and Kim will take care of the interface with the production department of the company. When creating these informal divisions, it is advisable for you to delegate the tasks and request updates regularly. By doing this, you will avoid mixing up conversations and reports of different areas: Tom and Kim will report their status directly to you, without unnecessarily involving Clara and Vincent in the communication flow. Also, Tom and Kim can create a distinct group to discuss the particularities of their roles, and the discussion of more specific topics will remain inside this group.
If the team is not that big, and especially if it is beneficial to involve everyone in the decisions, then you should not worry about splitting the group. Actually, if you go ahead and create sub-groups when they are not needed, you will run into several problems of bad communication: loss of information, more work to communicate everything to everyone, unnecessarily repeating messages, among other issues.
Technique #3 – Send Daily or Weekly Updates on the Most Recent Decisions and Status of Your Project
In the spirit of keeping everyone informed about the current status of your project, you might want to create a regular schedule to review the latest decisions and directives. It might be the case that some of the the most important decisions about the project happen outside the project team, so it is important to send regular updated about what’s being discussed.
We recommend sending a short message every day with just one or two lines to define the focus of the day for the team. This also helps the team to focus on productivity instead of spending time figuring out the current state of the project and the next steps.
Technique #4 – Don’t Be Unresponsive for too Long
Time is normally of essence when working on a project. If you stay unresponsive for too long, your lack of communication might stop other people from doing their jobs properly. We understand that it might be hard to immediately answer all the messages, so the best way to tackle the situation is to sit down with your team and define a maximum “response time” taking into account the urgency of the project and the amount of parallel activities going on. Say, for example, that you agree that everyone should answer the messages within 4 hours. This gives a sense of security for the team and for yourself, since it settles the expectations of everyone. It also helps you get organized and more productive, as you don’t need to be on your computer or mobile all the time and can set specific periods of the day to answer the messages.
Unresponsiveness also gives the impression of not caring so much about the team and about the project. Have you ever been in a school or university project with that person that never answered a single text? What was your impression?
Exactly, that the person didn’t care, that he or she had other things in mind. People normally stop to answer messages when they are doing something else, and if your silence extends for too long, it might give the idea that the project is not a priority for you.
Finally, being proactive is a key element of good communication. You can start a conversation by simply asking “Hey! How’s it going?” and transmitting this sense of care to the entire team. We can say, from our own experience, that this individual consideration with each person in the team is extremely important for team motivation!
Technique #5 – When Possible, Separate Professional and Personal Communication
This is not always easy, but it is a very important thing to try. With the current wave of messaging apps everywhere, it is really difficult to separate personal and professional life. Your colleagues at work might simply start using the work groups (because, well, everyone is there anyways) to organize their personal events and commitments.
The best way to handle this is to create distinct, more specific groups for each occasion. You definitely want to organize outside-work events with your team, so why not create a specific group for that? Divide the single group you have into two: [Work Hard] Project Team, and [Play Hard] Project Team (just an example). This way, groups will be about specific topics, and it will be much easier to maintain good communication channels and retrieve previous conversations related to the project. You will also notice that people will engage more, since now they are not afraid of talking about topics unrelated to work as there is a group specifically for this purpose.
How SquidHub Makes Everything Easier – A Quick Step-by-Step Guide for Effective Communication on the Platform
The bottom-line is: you reach good communication standards when the communication is stress-free. Nobody gets anxious whether they are doing what they are supposed to, and everyone is on the same page with respect to the information about your project. It’s straightforward for people to reach you, and they easily can connect both with you and with the rest of the team.
Sounds like an ideal world? We came to show you that it is possible to achieve such seamless, fluid degree of communication.
First of all, let’s explore SquidHub’s dashboard:
- The main sidebar is where both your personal and professional groups are listed. Just select the group you want to interact with, and you will see their respective dashboard.
- This is the Todos and Meetings area. Here you will find the todos of the specific group, and you can schedule meetings with the team right from the dashboard (more on that coming soon!)
- This area is where you can see all the files and resources from the group. We will explore this section in more details in a future article .
- This area is specific for messages. Here’s where all the interaction with the group will happen.
So, to create a new group, simply click on the little plus sign next to “Groups” on the sidebar.
All you have to do is give it a name, a description, and invite people to it. You can use either their email or, if they are already on SquidHub, their name. And that’s all! You can start sending messages and interacting with the members of the group!
Simple, isn’t it? But that’s not all. Our motto is to facilitate communication, so we also have an awesome app for your mobile. Make sure to download it on App Store or Google Play to be always updated about the latest events on your group!
If you want to try the web app, click here to get started!
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