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Real World Project Management – Communications – Part II (#2 in the series Real World Project Management – Communications
By Joseph Phillips

The Written Word

Written stuff, like this article, can seem to be direct. I write. My editor edits. You read. But what if I’m not clear in my writing? What if you don’t get my jokes? Or my grammar and punctuation is so poor that you miss the point? Communication fails.

This is true in your life, too. Imagine that you sent an email to Susan, a team member. Here’s one draft of your email:

Susan,

I need a project team member who knows what Oracle is all about. You are smart, talented, on time, and savvy. Team members who are not like you admit to knowing nothing about Oracle. Our project is horrible when you’re away. This project is going great.

Best,

Your favorite Project Manager

Wow! Susan sounds fantastic. But is that what you really wanted to say to Susan? What if your punctuation was so bad that Susan got the wrong message? Here’s what you meant to say:

Susan,

I need a project team member who knows what Oracle is. All about you are smart, talented, on time, and savvy team members who are not like you. Admit to knowing nothing about Oracle! Our project is horrible. When you’re away, this project is going great.

Best,

Your favorite Project Manager

Yikes!

Alright, so this is an extreme example, but I’d bet dollars to donuts you’ve added some sarcasm, a joke, or a comment that came off the wrong way in an email message and mushroomed into a huge problem. The point is that written communication has its challenges within a project. Email is great. I love it and use it every day, but when the message is muddy in any written message, it can have large ramifications.

Joseph Phillips is the author of five books on project management and is a, PMI Project Management Professional, a CompTIA certified Project Professional, and a Certified Technical Trainer. For more information about Project Management Training, please visit Project Seminars.

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