Friday, January 4, 2008

Communication - #1 risk reducer

I believe that the #1 job of a project manager is to reduce risk - AND - if so, then the #1 tool to do so is effective communication. There are many books and articles regarding effective communication...unfortunately there is no silver can read all the books, attend all the conferences, etc...but at the end of the day the most effective means (that I found) to improving your communication skills is VERY objective introspection...forget you are you and examine what it is that you're communicating and the response to your efforts. After every encounter, review the message that you were trying to communicate, openly accept the response (no matter how ugly it gets) and reflect on what you could have done differently to better get your message across. Some warning signs - when you say:
  • no one understands me
  • I'm better off talking to the wall
  • I've told them 100 times and it's still not sinking in
  • No matter what I say the response is negative
  • They're to busy talking to listen to what I'm saying
  • etc, etc, etc
If your communication failures always seems to be the other person's fault - chances are it's really yours. Take responsibility, understand your approach, modify and try again. As Mr Ben Franklin once said - the sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Here's a link to some material I'm starting to gather regarding communication (yes, I know I said you can read all you want...and not get anywhere....but perhaps I'm wrong):

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