Resolve Communication Issues in Projects

After a recent project progress meeting with my team, one of the senior members and I discussed the face-to-face communication challenges we have with other members.

We concurred that when the person receiving information has a low retention, it results in false assumptions and misunderstanding the topic of discussion.

Why is this happening? Why, if the person receiving information confirms that everything is clear, do we still we face communication issues in projects? Usually, it’s because taking notes in a meeting is going away, as many team members wait for a meeting recap that notes their action items.

In face-to-face communication, we spend most of the time listening — and apparently, we’re not good at it. We filter what we want to hear and that may result in a broken message.

The senior member of my team referenced earlier is part of the silent generation. He mastered his listening skills in an environment without all of the ways to “replay” conversations that we use today.

In addition, he mentioned that the communication environment was “less polluted” than today, where we are bombarded with things that affect our ability to pay attention.

I asked the senior team member what are the key elements of good listening skills, based on his experience. He recommended:

  • Pay attention to the dialogue and receive the message.
  • Acknowledge the message using positive expressions, such as “OK” or “I see.”
  • Confirm the message was received by summarizing what was discussed.
  • Ask questions to the person giving information during and after the discussion.

What are the face-to-face communication challenges you have experienced with your team? Do your team members pay attention when you speak?

The views expressed within the PMI Voices on Project Management blog are contributed from external sources and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of PMI.

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