In every construction project, effective communication is key. Several groups of people are affected by such a project. Effective internal communication makes sure that your construction project runs on time. Effective external communication ensures that those parties affected are properly informed.
But what is effective communication and why is it so important? In this article we will prove that your construction project will benefit hugely by allowing open communication back and forth with all your stakeholders.
What is effective communication in construction?
Effective communication in construction projects can be just exchanging information and giving instructions. As you will see below, this is the correct way to communicate with some of your partners. If everything goes well, a client, supplier or constructor only needs to know what they have to do and when.
As soon as you need to explain more, for example because you ran into a problem or an unexpected change of plan, effective communication becomes relevant. The definition of effective communication can be formulated this way:
Effective communication is clearly conveying a message, listening to the responses to the message, dealing with misunderstandings, conflicts, and frustrations, providing feedback and coming up with solutions.
The goal is that every participant feels heard and understood, knows exactly what to do and has no underlying issues that have not been resolved. At the end of the exchange, both the sender and the receiver are satisfied. It is a 360-degree strategy as opposed to a simple instruction or monologue.
Communicating with your stakeholders in construction
The goal of effective communication is that both the sender and receiver are satisfied with the outcome. It is sending out a message and making sure it is received and understood clearly and purposefully.
You communicate differently with the parties involved, because they have divergent priorities. The largest distinction is how you communicate effectively with your internal and external stakeholders.
Communication with internal stakeholders
You communicate with your suppliers about the timeline of your project. You tell them when they have to be where and with what. You make agreements with your clients about progress meetings and visits to your site. The message is clear and easy to convey to all your commercial partners.
Communicating with internal stakeholders is like second nature to you and your construction project plans and timelines are central. It is what you do on a daily basis to ensure a smooth and timely project. If you do not communicate effectively with your partners, your project will run into problems.
Communication with external stakeholders
Communicating with external stakeholders is slightly more complicated. Those are the groups that do not gain anything from your enterprise, or at least it might feel that way to them. They do not get paid for contributing and might only be hindered as your construction project runs.
Therefore, effective communication with your external stakeholders involves listening, explaining, exchanging knowledge, answering questions, solving problems and a lot of patience.
By doing this well, you avoid complaints, but you also involve these surrounding interest groups in your project. You will get them excited; you can get children interested in the construction sector and you will get good ideas to take with you for your next project. That is why effective communication with external stakeholders is so valuable to your construction project.
What is stopping you?
There are many reasons why ensuring effective communication in construction projects can be hard. The main one is a lack of time. You might not have a space in your diary to dedicate to a discussion and to listen to what interest groups have to say.
These are other common reasons why effective communication in construction projects does not have the desired outcome:
- Stress, emotions and nerves make it hard to think clearly and read people properly.
- A lack of focus results in missing important information or cues.
- Inconsistent body language can make the speaker appear dishonest.
How do you communicate effectively?
Even though some people are better natural communicators than others, effective communication in construction projects can be learned. In a commercial environment especially, you already know what you want the outcome to be. By communicating this effectively, you get your message across and you are not faced with complaints or misunderstandings afterwards.
Effective communication in construction projects therefore requires certain skills. These are the most important ones.
Effective communication in construction projects starts with listening. We are not speaking about simply hearing what someone is saying, but engaged listening. You focus on the speaker, you do not interrupt, you redirect, show interest and do not judge. Most importantly: engaged listening means providing feedback as well.
The right body language
Nonverbal communication, so your gestures, facial expressions, posture, breathing, tone of voice and eye contact, helps you connect with receivers and to bring your message across strongly. You use nonverbal signs that support and enhance what you are saying and to come across sincerely and trustworthy.
Sometimes a conversation will not go as planned. In that case, it is important to stay calm and to not get stressed out. The listeners will immediately clock on to that and may even abuse it. There are techniques that help you stay calm. Use pauses to think about what you will say next, for example. You can stall the conversation so you can take control of the situation again. You can always make a joke or simply agree to disagree.
5 benefits of effective communication in construction projects
By using effective communication in your construction project, you will actually save time. Dedicating one meeting or conversation to get your message across properly, means that you will not have to answer any questions or issues later on.
The following 5 benefits of effective communication in construction projects show how important this is for your enterprise.
- Effective communication forces you to make strong decisions, often immediately.
- Problems are solved quickly and on the spot.
- You take full control over your construction project and come across as confident.
- All stakeholders develop a positive attitude to what you are doing.
You will get valuable information and ideas that you would otherwise never have received.
Effective communication in your construction project with SitePodium
SitePodium is a tool that supports and enhances effective communication in your construction projects. It is an app that brings together stakeholders and allows them to find information about your project, communicate with other stakeholders and actively contribute.
For you it is also a measuring tool, to measure if and to what extent your stakeholder engagement endeavours are paying off. You share, you listen and you analyse with SitePodium. It is a podium for your construction site and a valuable aid to make effective two-way communication possible.
We invite you to book a demo, so we can show you how SitePodium works and how it will benefit your construction project. Have a look at our client cases, to see how our app has already supported others in your sector. You can always send us a message as well, and we are happy to answer all your questions.