5 ways to improve communications across your construction team
Communication is a critical factor in any project – especially those in construction. With multiple team players, and heavily action-packed environments, construction projects require effective communication to be successful. Good communications can advance team collaboration and lead to better project management. Inefficient communications can lead to misunderstandings, project errors, incidents, and delays.
Here are five top ways to improve communications across your construction team:
1. Choose the most effective communication method for your team.
In construction, a variety of communication channels are used daily including phone, text, and email. In addition, communication may take place through drawings, blueprints, signage, photos, videos, requests for information (RFIs), change orders, and daily reports. There are multiple Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions available with mobile applications to quickly share project information and enable collaboration with stakeholders. When choosing the communication method best for your team, it is important to choose one that all team members have access to and know how to use properly.
2. Make concise, clear communication points.
Keep your messages simple and to the point, while still including as much necessary detail as possible. This can be a challenge when trying to keep your messages brief.
If communicating via written message, break information into short paragraphs or even bulleted points to allow your message to be easily scanned. Be sure to proofread messages for clarity before you send them out, even reading them out loud to yourself to ensure correct grammar and tone were used. When in doubt, spell out any acronyms to ensure your audience is familiar with them. Finally, remember spell check is your friend. If the software or email program you are using includes a spell check feature – use it!
3. Realize communication is a two-way street.
When communicating with stakeholders, whether in person or over the phone, your listening skills are just as important as your speaking skills. Being an active listener who makes eye contact, takes notes, avoids interrupting, and makes an effort to understand the audience speaking is crucial.
4. Ask questions and repeat information back.
Ensure you understand all points discussed by asking questions to clarify anything that was not clear. Reiterate important points that were covered, by paraphrasing them in your own words to ensure you understand the message. Close conversations with a quick recap of priorities and action items. You may even wish to send a follow up summary email to document the discussion.
5. Document – everything.
Being a good communicator doesn’t just mean you are a good speaker, writer and listener. Effective communicators document and record information for reference. It’s challenging to remember everything about every construction project. And sometimes the most important pieces of information are the ones you wished you had documented. File and save all written communications. Take notes of topics discussed in person or via phone, recording the dates and times the conversations took place. Sometimes it is helpful to document via email to all parties involved, summarizing your discussion points. Document all important information in your daily reports, using photos, videos, drawings, and even weather reports.
There are daily reporting solutions available that time- and date-stamp your notes, and will save your daily reports for up to 10 years. Some solutions will even include geo-stamps and weather for the project. There are solutions in the market today that allow you to speak your notes into your mobile device and will even save the recordings. Research available options and find the solution with the most options and ease of use for your team.
This article was first published on NoteVault