Avoid Project Over-Communication AND Under-Communication

Business Process using diagrams

In every organizations and projects, there are always many processes governing the whole operations and activities.

However, there are countless times; verbal instructions are mostly used to describe the business processes instead of using diagrams and illustrations to describe. There were not many people that I had met that used pictures or diagrams to explain the process flows. Instructions simply: “Do this activity and then send the file to this person. Once the file was sent and then you will do next activity…” There is no sense of direction from the descriptions. Thus there are some levels of message distortions or misinterpretation being taken place. Wonder have you faced similar situations like this before?

In order to fight against such miscommunications from happening, the process steps needs to be translated into pictures. Many people tend to understand pictures easier instead of just plain words. Some people are more of an imaginative type instead of reading of pure text. As the saying goes, “A picture says a thousand words, the understanding would have been improved if there are explanations to enhance the diagrams.

There are many tools in the market to document such processes. Diagrams should reveal the various data flows transferred and information flows between entity and processes. It should also define what activities, what actions take place, what documents to be handed over etc.

I used to get instructions and advices from many people on the processes involved and what activities to be passed over. If you will to seek for another opinion from another person within the same department, there might be a chance of another interpretation.

Whatever the case, there isn’t a central location that speaks the same languages. There are so many verbal instructions from many people. Thus there will be many interpretation / explanation versions if there is some sort of knowledge transferred. Although the process flow is present, however, the message being relayed across may be distorted or filtered along the way.

Communication Frequency

We should communicate more often till the recipient is comfortable with the situation. Check with the recipient of the message being received. Ask the recipient to feedback what he / she understood. If the recipient could explain the business process then he / she understands your messages.

Over Communicate

When there is information available, you start to share it very frequently. People who receive the information will be much mentally prepared of what is going to happen. They are rest assured that the situations are under control. Hence, recipient of the information will not raise many or any questions. In anyway, there is no harm in getting or sending more information. People like to know other things. However, too much of communication might become to a stage of information overloading. However, there is a balance of the information being transferred.

On the other hand if you under communicate, situations may happen otherwise.

Under Communicate

If you do not communicate sufficiently, then there is much confusion. People are assuming things and start to think negatively.

Misunderstandings might occur if there is little communication. Many people will start to assume and make wrong assumptions and decisions. Comparing a person with full of communication and another person with little, the perception of the communicator is different.

The one who provides more communication will not invite many queries and doubt. The other one who communicates little will invite many queries, doubt and meetings so as to clear the unnecessary blanks in their mind.

When there is ignorance, there is fear. When there is fear, there is often conflict. – Tony Blair

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