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6 proven project team communication strategies

Moira Alexander | July 5, 2016
Projects succeed only if your team is strong, and project teams are strong only if they have effective communication strategies.

Try to get your message(s) across in ways that are easy to understand and accessible to everyone concerned.

4. Show some respect

People are put on project teams for a reason. Whatever their roles, all members serve an intended purpose and bring intrinsic value to the project. Regardless of title and position in the organizational hierarchy, all participants should be expected to show respect for their fellow team members and should be held accountable for their behavior.

It’s natural that the opinions and thoughts of higher-level project participants may be given more weight than those of junior team members. But that’s a mistake. Even if they disagree with people who outrank them, all team members should be able to freely communicate their thoughts, opinions and concerns without fear of ridicule or consequence. Great ideas are great ideas, regardless of who they come from.

Similarly, when scheduling project activities, every team member’s competing responsibilities and time pressures should be taken into consideration. Teams cannot remain strong if they have weak links in the chain of mutual respect.

5. Recognize that being right may be wrong

On the surface, getting everyone to see that you’re right might seem like a big win. But such a “victory” can have far-reaching consequences if it affects the attitude or morale of other team members. Project teams are just that — teams — and therefore there’s little room for any member, regardless of position, to put a lot of energy into proving that he or she is usually right. Your need to be right can end up alienating others to the extent that they stop communicating altogether. Such a breakdown in communication causes the team to function at a less-than-optimal level.

[Related: 6 tips to ensure you meet project deliverables dates]

No project can be successful with a team of one. Egos need to be checked at the door when team members are communicating with one another.

6. Use online collaboration tools

Collaboration tools help streamline project management and facilitate the process of collaborating with team members and other stakeholders.

“If you’re looking for a free and easy way to communicate and collaborate with team members — in the same office or across the globe — consider giving cloud-based project management tools a try,” says Patti Rowlson, founder and marketing director at PR Consulting Inc.“Online project management tools are great for keeping everyone informed and up to date on a variety of project types. . . from keeping a sales pipeline moving to organizing volunteer efforts.”

Of course, collaboration software alone won’t guarantee that your team will communicate openly and efficiently. Whatever medium you use, communication will only be as good as the communication strategies you adopt.


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