How many times have you finished a call and felt full of excitement about the plans discussed, only to struggle to remember a few days later what you discussed? Forgetting details is something that everyone does, but there’s a simple solution: get into the habit of writing a short summary of every call, and then adding it to the email thread about the project.
Communication is key to a successful relationship, whether it’s a personal or business interaction. Failing to communicate with your clients and colleagues can lead to misunderstandings, setbacks and confusion. In contrast, communicating effectively can increase productivity and improve relationships between people working together. Here's a few battle tested hacks to keep everyone on the same page.
How many times have you finished a call and felt full of excitement about the plans discussed, only to struggle to remember a few days later what you discussed? Forgetting details is something that everyone does, but there’s a simple solution: get into the habit of writing a short summary of every call, and then adding it to the email thread about the project. Keeping a record of every call in the project’s email thread means that key information can’t be lost or forgotten. It also makes it easy to bring new team members up to date with the project’s status.
Do you need information from your expert team or remote colleagues? Don’t just wait for them to get back to you. If you don’t receive the response you need within a reasonable period, send a follow up email to jog your partners’ memories. On the other hand, it’s important not over-communicate. If the person you are waiting on has told you that it will be another day before they can get back to you, then be patient and let them have that day.
Avoid leaving others in the dark by sending status emails to let your remote and on-site coworkers know where you are in the project. Rather than waiting to respond to an email until you have completed the work being requested, send a quick note to let the person know you are working on it and when you expect to finish. Status emails improve relationships by removing uncertainty and showing that you are an open and responsive communicator.
Regular contact with clients is important. Once a week, send out an update of everything that your team has done during the week, as well as the tasks that you are going to be working on in the week ahead. If you are working on a web or mobile development project, issue a brief, summary of the bugs you have ironed out and the new features you have implemented. This way, your clients always have a clear picture of the project’s progress. Some time ago, we've already shared how this process works on our end.
Sending out important information and receiving no reply can be frustrating, as the sender can be left wondering whether the email was received, or whether something went wrong. All it takes to avoid this situation is a quick "thank you" or confirmation note when you receive an email containing important information. Saying thank you also gives people a sense of being appreciated, which can help to foster healthier working relationships.
Communication is key to the success of any project. It’s not enough to simply respond when someone requests information — successful communicators take a proactive approach, keeping others updated and asking for information when they need it. By following the five communication hacks listed above, you can improve productivity and create a better communication environment within your teams.
What communication hacks do you use to keep project progress flowing smoothly in your organization?
Oh, if you're still struggling with writing effective emails, take a look at our examples of a communication wins, useful for Project Managers!