On Monday I blogged about the pitfalls to written communications – especially within the Federal-Contractor relationship. Now we’re looking at a similar topic – the top pitfalls in face-to-face communications.
Whether it’s your upcoming family-filled holidays, or a meeting at work, you’d be surprised how the rise of the smartphone has decreased our basic ability to communicate with one another. I was at dinner last night and the family next to me – all five of them – were lost in their devices. No one was talking, just five heads down, lost in their smartphones.
Clark Griswold planned the best holiday ever, but he didn’t communicate to his family the details, ask for help, or effectively collaborate with anyone involved…and it ended up a kind of a mess. (Just ask his neighbor).
With in-person conversations, we all need a refresher on effective and appropriate communication skills, and pitfalls to avoid. An email won’t always be the most appropriate vehicle for discussion, so let’s look at the following from Jeff Furman, PMP:
- Be Open – don’t blindly push your own ideas and disregard all other’s input
- Be an Active Listener
- Ensure – and confirm – you and all involved clearly understand one another
- Read the body language and nonverbal facial clues from others
- Use your concrete communication tools, like the communications management plan
- In person meeting are not synonymous with a teleconference or VTC – make sure you schedule the appropriate meeting for the appropriate discussion
- No lying to avoid confrontation with others
- Do not misrepresent the facts or spin in one direction to support your own agenda
- Prepare for all meetings – get invitations out with sufficient time, setting up best meeting type for the discussion, providing materials in advance, etc.
- Pay attention once you’re at the meeting – that includes turning your smartphone OFF.
Whether you’re setting up tomorrow’s project meeting, or planning for your in-laws arrival – let’s reengage our face-to-face communication skills. Put your phone down, shut down your email, and let’s just discuss the item at hand…like where Rusty is to help with the lights.
How has in-person communication saved time for your work life? What kinds of meetings are best suited for a face-to-face dialogue? Share your thoughts and best practices.