|Title||What should we know about communication in project work?|
Mr Adam Stepinski/Teacher of English and History at Copernicus Upper-Secondary School,
Communication is the process of transmitting ideas and information. The importance of communication in the success of any project is immense. Careful communication planning and setting the right expectations is crucial.
Communication needs to be goal-driven. We communicate to achieve or change something; therefore it is important to define communication objectives properly in advance. At the same time, it is not sufficient for a project to define its objectives as “to raise awareness” or “to communicate our activities and results”. Communication objectives need to be clearly defined, detailed, achievable, realistic, timed and measurable. It is important to make a difference between the project objectives and communication objectives.
The starting point is to understand and define what you and your partners want to achieve, and develop project-specific communication aims.
How to develop messages
A message is a simple and clear idea that acts as a guiding principle for all kinds of communication. It is essential to think about the audience every time you communicate. Different target groups are reached by different tactics and different media. Messages need to be tailored to be appropriate for different target groups: what is relevant to teachers might not interest students. A good message will be immediately appealing to its target audience: it should be strongly worded to stand out from everything else that is competing for their attention. At the same time, it is important to keep things clear and simple. Do not use more than three messages at any time, otherwise your audience will suffer from “information overload” and fail to grasp any of these ideas.
How to coordinate work, spot and solve problems
It is important that everyone knows what is going on and what their role within the project is. It is crucial to define responsibilities to ensure the communication tasks of the project are managed effectively. Any obstacles within a project should be dealt with by the whole community. This will lead to the development of mutual understanding, creating stronger bonds among participants and more effective communication in the future.
How to manage expectations
While working on a project we should try to prevent disappointment by establishing in advance what can realistically be achieved by a project or undertaking. It is important to be frank with your students and partner teachers about what their expectations should be. Sit down with them and discuss what is achievable.
While working on projects many teachers take good communication with partners for granted. They start tasks without even thinking about how to communicate with others. The lack of a communication plan is possibly the biggest mistake teachers make.
Project communication is composed of three components:
– communicating project information in a timely manner,
Why should we develop a communication plan?
Our plan will make it possible to target your communication accurately. It gives you a structure to determine whom you need to reach and how to do it. It will make your communication efforts more efficient, effective and lasting. Finally, a communication plan will make everything easier. If you spend some time planning at the beginning of an effort, you can save a great deal of time later on, because you know exactly what you should be doing at any point in the process.
What is a communication plan?
Planning is a way to organise actions that will lead to the fulfilment of a goal. To develop a communication plan of any kind, we need to consider some basic questions:
– Why do you want to communicate with the community? What’s your purpose?
The answers to these questions constitute your action plan, what you need to do in order to communicate successfully. The remainder of your communication plan involves the three steps:
If you would like to learn more about two other aspects of project communication, please have look at these short presentations: