Ill-considered communications can spark tragedy. In 1950, under Harry S. Truman’s administration, the Secretary of State of the United States was Dean Acheson. Acheson gave a public impromptu speech which North Korea interpreted as a ‘green light’ to invade the South without consequence, resulting in the Korean War.
While project managers don’t face the same magnitude of concerns, they should approach their responsibilities in communications with the highest priority and integrity. It’s critical to communicate clearly, correctly and concisely, which is especially true with emails. Otherwise, misunderstandings arise, relationships can be damaged unintentionally, where actions or reactions to tasks can be counterproductive, requiring remedial action, and more.
We often find ourselves under the pressure of time to communicate an important project update, while managing other high priority responsibilities. How do you find enough time to do it all and communicate effectively?
Have colleagues or team members review your communications. Be clear to articulate your message, questions or status up front, in as few words as possible. Take time to read your communication from the perspective of the recipient.
- Document and confirm your verbal conversations
- Craft every word you use and think how it might be interpreted
- Make sure you are getting to the point using the least amount of words before explaining yourself (if needed)
- Always consider the option and advantages of being collaborative and having others review before sending