Solid communication strategies play a fundamental role in successful project management. If you’re not effectively conveying your project’s goals and providing feedback for your teams, there’s a good chance your project will fall short of its targets. This is especially true for virtual working environments, where your staff may also have to deal with the challenge of multiple time zones.
Virtual teams hardly ever meet face to face, so using the right technology and tools becomes even more important. Online workspaces and video conferencing services are just some of the innovations that have made virtual team projects feasible. Let’s discuss some of the best communication strategies for project management.
With such a wealth of communication tools and technologies available, it can be difficult to know whether or not you’re choosing the right ones for your business. The first step is noting down the purpose of your communications and working out which channels will be the most effective. When you have a list of services you require, such as email, messaging and video calls, conduct some online research into the best tools for the job. User reviews can be a helpful source of unbiased information.
The success of your projects largely depend on the ways you communicate with your teams. Here are the best strategies you can implement to keep your staff happy and business running smoothly.
Whether it’s face to face or through video conferencing, regularly meeting with your teams is one of the most effective ways to make sure your projects are on track. Not only does holding regular meetings let everyone involved know how the project is progressing, but it also opens up the floor to your team members who may have their own ideas or concerns to voice. You should schedule your meetings in advance and draft an agenda to send to everyone invited. Hosting effective meetings means staying on topic and sticking to your allotted time, so you may want to assign a timekeeper and table non-agenda points of discussion for another time.
Communication between teams can be difficult if your employees are using outdated technology and manually sending files back and forth. Cloud-based collaboration software emphasizes shared, centralized documents and often includes features like screen sharing to present project work to meetings. Platforms like Google Workspace and Microsoft Dynamics 365 are great for putting communication strategies for project management into practice due to the focus on sharing and feedback.
It may seem like a simple aspect of good communication, but project managers often have a tendency to focus on areas of improvement to the detriment of team morale. There’s a lot to be said for showing your staff you appreciate their efforts and good work. Taking the time to recognise the important contributions and ideas your team members have offered will motivate your staff and give others an opportunity to learn from their success.
Don’t underestimate the importance of properly training your staff members when it comes to communication. Your teams will work better under pressure if they’re able to understand different communication styles and resolve conflict. Taking some time to organise team-building exercises and training sessions that deal with real-life scenarios is a good way to ensure your projects keep running as smoothly as possible..
Before you decide which channel you’re going to use to communicate, you should always consider the purpose of the communication, who your audience is, and your desired outcome. Communicating with team members, customers and vendors all require different tacts and methods. You’ll also want to consider whether your audience will need to refer back to any information later; for example, inviting participants to a meeting through email is always a better choice than scheduling over a phone call.
There’s a good chance you have team members of varying levels of experience working on your projects, which is why it’s important to encourage an environment where staff can ask questions. Make time in your meetings for employees to clarify points they don’t understand and let everyone know that you’re happy to answer task-related questions in your emails. Different departments have their own skill sets, and encouraging team members to ask questions helps avoid costly misunderstandings.
There are many different channels you can utilize for project management communication, but some are more useful than others. Phone calls and text messages can be incredibly effective when communicating with customers but are less useful when assigning group tasks within your teams.
It might seem obvious but email is one of the most important channels for virtual teams. As with any communication tool, you should ensure you’re using email in the correct ways. Emailing is best used for high-level communication such as inviting staff to meetings, sending important documents or communicating with clients, rather than direct project management.
2020 saw more staff working from home, and with that came a massive surge in video conferencing. Tools like Zoom and Google Meet became popular choices for checking in on the progress of a particular project and guiding teams on the next steps. Video conferencing often feels more personal due to its face-to-face interaction and the large number of participants is great for filling entire teams in on important project details.
Team collaboration services can be an effective communication channel as they allow groups to work together and ask questions in a more visible way. Apps like Slack, Chantry and Microsoft Teams are particularly good examples of this, as they allow you to set up different chats for departments and search for messages.
So, what’s the best way to apply these strategies to your team? First of all, lead by example. By showing your team members how to properly use your communication channels, you’re inspiring them to do the same. We’ve already mentioned the importance of training, which can improve interpersonal working relationships as well as show your teams how to handle the technical side of collaboration apps and project management software. Once you’re confident everyone is communicating well, try setting up weekly meetings or sending group feedback emails to address plans for the project and the work done so far.
Making sure you’ve got the right tools in your arsenal is the simplest way to improve your communication strategies. Textr is designed to help your business communicate with its customers by purchasing local and toll-free phone numbers from across the USA and Canada. These numbers can then be assigned to your remote customer service teams around the globe and used seamlessly on both mobile and desktop. With Textr, you can easily bring multiple members of your team onboard to respond to customer inquiries together.
It’s a good idea to use several tools for both internal communications and external communications with customers and clients. Using cloud-based project management software can be helpful as they often contain multiple communication apps.
Communication technology is moving at a rapid pace and this can cause problems such as the need to continually learn how to use new services. Another problem is information distribution, where team members may have different ideas about which channels or tools to use.