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How to Improve Communication Skills

by: Tanta Noramon
How to Improve Communication Skills

Projects and their tasks rely on communication between the team members, managers, and customers. It must be clear, transparent, and diverse to reach effective communication. Read on to know more about how to improve communication skills.

Why is communication important to project management?

Communication skills are important in project management as it has an influence on the success of a project and its individual tasks. Without it, project management teams may collapse. Examples include messages lost in translation, missed deadlines, and overlooking critical components of the project.

Bad or insufficient communication can lead to conflict and a failed delivery. According to Project Management Institute (PMI) research, inefficient communication was the primary cause of project failure one-third of the time and had a negative influence on project success more than half of the time, and 56 percent of project budgets are in danger because of it.

What are the steps to improve communication skills?

Four steps to improve communication skills are:

  1.     Picking which communication skill to work on.
  2.     Deciding if you need or want the improvement. 
  3.     Starting small.
  4.     Further improving on it or other areas of communication.

Step #1: Pick the communication skill you want to work on

As a first step in enhancing your communication abilities, select the communication skill you wish to focus on. There are many different sorts of communication you may not be aware of.

What are the types of communication?

The types of communication are verbal, non-verbal, written, active listening, and visual communication.

Verbal Communication

Verbal communication refers to the act of talking to others. Face-to-face, over the phone, or any software allowing calls are all practical options for conducting business. To convey a clear message, it’s not only about the words; it’s also about the quality and complexity of those words. As well as the way you put those words together to form a coherent whole. When it comes to face-to-face conversations, nonverbal communication is equally as important as verbal communication.

Non-Verbal Communication

A type of communication is non-verbal communication. Rather than using words to convey information, nonverbal cues rely on body language to do so. Hand gestures, eye contact and body language, are all examples of nonverbal communication used.

Written Communication

Every type and style of written communication has the same purpose: to convey information clearly and succinctly. Unfortunately, writers don’t always meet this goal. As a matter of fact, bad writing leads to confusion, shame, and even possible legal consequences. Especially in the digital era, it’s critical to remember that written communication has a long shelf life. This means that there are two things you should keep in mind: 

First, make sure you write properly; and 

Second, make sure your message is something you want to promote or relate to for the long run. 

Active Listening

Active listening is an essential skill in interpersonal communication because it allows you to hear what another person has to say. Consider a negotiation: part of the process is figuring out what the opposing party wants and needs. It is hard to discuss without hearing, making it tough to set up a win-win situation.

Visual Communication

Visual communication is the use of visual components to share information or thoughts. Animated GIFs, pictures, movies, pie charts, infographics, and slide deck presentations are all examples of visual communication. It’s not always easy to express yourself concisely and effectively using just words.

Step #2: Decide if you need or want the improvement

Discuss with your team how improving communication is important. Then you can improve the selected type of communication. This will lead to a smoother workflow toward the project’s success.

Step #3: Start small 

In improving communication skills, the third step is to start small. Enhance communicating with others within a small circle or audience. Such as your friends, family, in a store, or even with strangers. 

Step #4 Seek improvement

The last step for improving communication skills is to seek improvement. Managers should continue focusing and enhancing the chosen skill and even move on to another type of communication and improve it.

What are the ways to improve communication for a project?

After you have developed personal improvement on communications, it is time to incorporate the enhancement on a project. There are five ways to improve communication on a project: 

  1.     Make a plan.
  2.     Involve stakeholders
  3.     Promote team communication towards the project
  4.     Provide regular updates
  5.     Continue even after finishing the project

1. Make a plan

A way to have effective communication to improve project success is mapping out the plan with the team. A communication strategy will make it simpler to say the right thing to the proper people using the right instruments. The communication plan should include what, how often, which channels, and individual duties.

2. Involve stakeholders

Spend some time aligning your communication strategy with project stakeholders. This step includes:

  •     develop a stakeholder registry
  •     include communication preferences
  •     categorize stakeholders based on power, interest, influence, effect, and expectations throughout this phase

3. Promote team communication during the project

May it be productive team meetings or one-on-one interactions, always promote team communication to discuss projects and their updates. If done remotely, members of the team can unanimously choose from many communication channels such as voice calls, texting, emails, and video conferences.

4. Provide regular updates

Make sure to keep both internal and external teams in the loop about the project’s development. Using a collaborative software platform may aid in the sharing of any documents as well as continuing comments or needed adjustments. Keeping everyone informed allows you to remain flexible to needed adjustments and fosters confidence among your team.

5. Communicate even after finishing the project

After the project is over, taking the time to review areas for growth and improvement can prepare you for future assignments. It’s just as vital to talk about what went well to give credit to everyone who worked on a project.

Summary

Effective communication is critical to the development and implementation of a project. Enhancing communication skills should be everyone’s personal goal. The four steps needed are:

  • Selecting which communication skill to concentrate on.
  • Deciding if its improvement is desirable or needed.
  • Starting in a small circle.
  • Further improving on it or other areas of communication.

After that, you are now ready to incorporate the improvement toward a project. There are five ways to improve communication to smoothen tasks in a project. After that, the team would be inclined to reach results within the deadline and with a more successful project rate with lesser errors within the process.

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