Why Communicating Can Be Tough

Before we review key principles and best practices, let's make sure we understand why we cannot take communications for granted. On one hand, we know instinctively that there are many factors that impact the communications processprimarily, because we live it every waking minute. On the other hand, many of us don't seem to incorporate this reality into how we communicate.

The goal of any communication is have the receiver end up with an understanding (resulting perception) that equals the meaning intended by the sender (intended message). It sounds so simple, doesn't it? Yet, as Figure 17.1 depicts, there are many challenges facing the accomplishment of this simple goal.

Figure 17.1. Challenges facing effective communications.

For any message to accomplish its goal, it must clear two key hurdles. First, it must register with the receiverit must hit their radar screen. Depending on the current state of the receiver (physical state, emotional state), other things happening in the environment (noise), and ability of receiver to focus and listen to the message, this may or may not occur. Second, if it does land on the receiver's radar screen, the message must then pass through a series of filters in the receiver's mind, including past experiences, assumptions, expectations, culture influences, values, and beliefs. And then, even when the message clears these two primary hurdles without significant distortion, the receiver's general ability to decode the message will vary depending on their natural learning style (such as auditory, visual, or kinesthetic). Heck, when you think about it, it's a wonder we ever clearly communicate anything.

So why bring all this up? Three reasons:

  1. As a sender, recognize that successfully getting your message across is not trivial and cannot be assumed.
  2. As a receiver, recognize the factors that can impact your ability to accurately "understand" (or hear) what the sender is trying to communicate.
  3. Most importantly, it gives your ego an out. Too many people let their ego get in the way of improving their communications. Don't take it personal if you are not understood the first time. As we have mentioned, there are many challenges. The more you can take your ego out of the equation and focus on "understanding," the better your communication abilities will become.

Part i. Project Management Jumpstart

Project Management Overview

The Project Manager

Essential Elements for any Successful Project

Part ii. Project Planning

Defining a Project

Planning a Project

Developing the Work Breakdown Structure

Estimating the Work

Developing the Project Schedule

Determining the Project Budget

Part iii. Project Control

Controlling a Project

Managing Project Changes

Managing Project Deliverables

Managing Project Issues

Managing Project Risks

Managing Project Quality

Part iv. Project Execution

Leading a Project

Managing Project Communications

Managing Expectations

Keys to Better Project Team Performance

Managing Differences

Managing Vendors

Ending a Project

Absolute Beginner[ap]s Guide to Project Management
Absolute Beginner[ap]s Guide to Project Management
ISBN: 078973821X
Year: 2006
Pages: 169

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