Project communications are so important throughout aÂ project. They inform, introduce, confirm, surprise and elicit emotions and actions from stakeholders in and around the project. From my experiences, these are three key areas of considerations for project communications.
1.Â AUDIENCE â Stakeholder strategies
Know your audience. Tailor your messages to stakeholders depending on who they are, what information they want and how they will respond to them. Itâs difficult to get this perfect, but if they are important enough, you need to get this right. If youâve never worked with a stakeholder, it might be a good idea just to ask them about these considerations. In my experience, they are usually grateful for the opportunity to explain themselves instead of being forced into awkward conversations/situations because the wrong assumptions were made (guessed) about them.
Below are some Stakeholder considerations and strategies that could be helpful depending on the levels/ratings.
Â 2. INFORMATION â new or routine?
When a project message being communicated is new, there needs to be some extra clarification. When information being shared is routine, then less clarification is required, but the formatting becomes more important. Routine information should be presented in a predictable and repeatable format to help stakeholders take it in quickly and easily as well as to compare it with the other routine information.
Below are considerations to bear in mind when sending out a project message/communication. Note that most of the considerations are the same for new and routine information. For both, there are a lot more considerations beyond just âsending out informationâ. Most of the considerations are concerned with receiving information back!
3. EXPECTED RESPONSE â Passive or active?Â
When preparing project communications, itâs best to contemplate what the expected responses are going to be and then PREPARE for them. As with the considerations about the type of information you’re sending, your biggest considerations are the after effects of the communication and how you are going to deal with them.
Most Project Managers get primed to brace themselves for active negative responses, but it is equally important to be ready for actively inspired stakeholders. Have jobs prepared for them to do, participate and collaborate on. And take care that just because a stakeholderâs initial reaction is passive, does not mean that over time they won’tÂ change. Also, remember thatÂ your communications are not being received in isolation. Analyse and anticipate the cumulative effect your communications as well as those of communications being received from outside the project (e.g., other company wide messages, other projectsâ communications, etc).
Below is a guide of how stakeholders could respond to positive and negative news. Anticipate the reactions youâll receive from your communications and be prepared!
What are your top considerations when preparing for and crafting project communications?