29 May 5 Quick Tips For Bridging The Communication Gap
The greatest common error that will bankrupt a business and cause projects to find themselves in trouble is poor communication. The overwhelming desire for a business owner is to get the message out, resulting in launching a marketing program without a clear plan. Interestingly enough, this is often the same with a construction project where the owner or even contractor just wants to start the project and does not have a plan for success.
A successful communication plan has at least five clear steps that should be followed. These key points will assist your business and project in bridging the communication gap:
1. Make a plan. A definitive implementation plan should be created. This can be for a communication campaign, marketing program or as simple as writing a letter or email. A good plan will answer these key questions:
- Which facts or issues do I want to communicate to my prospect or client?
- What “call to action” do I want my reader to initiate?
- What reaction do I intend to achieve from the communication?
- What steps should be taken by the client or prospect and how do I clearly indicate them to the reader?
When we started the redesign of our new brand and refreshed website, there were a number of goals that needed to be communicated. For example communicating the new tag line: Providing Development Solutions through Design | Renovate | Build.
2. Experience and expertise. Read the communication from the reader’s point of view. A working knowledge of all sides of the issue is important. Contractors, engineers and design architects rarely speak the same language. Each approach the solution from their point of view. Listening to understand and asking questions before responding goes a long way to facilitate great communication. “First seek to understand before being understood” – Stephen Covey
Successful communication in the construction industry is further compounded by the multiple entities that are involved (lenders, equity investors, builders, developers, designers, other consulting teams and more) to complete each project. Each have their own perspectives on issues and seek different information. The industry is ripe for a communication disaster. Clear and consistent communication during any project is imperative. Seeking to understand each of the players’ needs will help ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
3. Avoid broken information flow. While each party is busy doing their own work, a lot of information can be neglected. When there is a lack of communication, details do not get shared which will negatively affect productivity, timeline and budget. To increase the level of communication on a project, the project team needs to conduct an Owner/Architect/Contractor (OAC) monthly meeting. Imaging the lack of coordinated effort if each football player ran the play they thought was best in that situation without first having a huddle to coordinate their efforts. It is no different in a business or construction project.
4. Consistency of communication flow. Every marketing campaign and communication system require a consistent message format for the reader/listener to connect the new information with the information previously provided. Without uniformity, the receiver of the information tends to rethink the issues and often does not connect the previous communication with the current information. This is extremely important in marketing a business. A general rule for any marketing campaign is that the reader/listener must hear the message nine times before they recognize it for the first time. If the message is not consistent, the message will not resonate as one of the nine times being heard.
5. Emphasize communication. Take steps to make sure the message is understood. “Communication is only communication if the message gets where it needs to go and is received by those who need to hear it.” – Steven Gaffney.
If your message was not understood, there is a good chance that the intended results will not be achieved. In construction, the process of submittal and shop drawing reviews are used to ensure what the designer has in mind is what the subcontractors understand. Just because a designer has placed an item on their drawings, does not always mean it is understood or can be built by the team. The submittal process closes the gap between what is wanted and what is to be provided.
Want to learn more about how we can provide you with a communication solution? Contact us!