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Use These 5 Steps to Communicate Effectively

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Communications management is the process by which formal messages are created, reviewed and communicated within a project. Clear, accurate and timely communication is critical to the success of any project, as miscommunication can result in increased project risk. If you communicate properly, the right stakeholders will receive the right information at the right time. This enables them to make well-informed decisions.
There are a variety of ways that you can communicate to stakeholders, including:
  • Internal newsletters
  • Project Status Reports
  • Presentation materials
  • Web news releases
  • Internal project memos
Regardless of the type of media used to communicate within your project, these five communications steps will always apply.

Step 1: Identify the Message
Your Communications Plan will identify the communications messages that need to be distributed. Throughout the project, the Project Manager should review this plan to identify which messages need to be distributed, how and when.
Step 2: Target the Audience
Now that you have identified what it is that needs to be communicated, the next step is to identify who should receive the message. The audience for each message needs to be confirmed
Step 3: Decide on the Timing
At this point, the type of message and the audience have been clearly specified. The next step is to identify the timing and frequency of the communications message. In some cases, regular communications, such as weekly Project Status Reports or monthly newsletters, may be necessary. In other cases, a one-off communication event, such as a project change notification, may be more appropriate. For each communications event, you need to be satisfied that the regularity and timing for each communications event is suitable.
Step 4: Confirm the Format
With content, audience and timing decided, the format of the communication message can be effectively chosen. There are a number of different types of formats to choose from, including verbal presentations, written reports, memos, letters and emails.
Step 5: Implement the Plan
The messages agreed to in the Communication Plan need to be delivered. You should document a first draft of the message content. The Project Manager or sponsor will review it and may suggest changes. Once approved the message is communicated to the target audience.
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That's it. If you take these five steps each time you send out a communications message within your project, you will ensure that the right people receive the right message at the right time!
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