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BE1018

Management of
Projects and People
Communication

Agenda

Introduction
Communication process
Function of Communication
Communication structure
Why communication fails
Communication methods
The managers behaviour
Personal skills and
interaction
Non Verbal communication
Written communication

Introduction
Poor communication has long been
an issue for the construction
industry due to its fragmented
nature. There is a wealth of
information that needs to be passed
effectively within the project teams
requiring a well-organised network
of communication using the latest
technology. Even when this
network exists communication can
still break down at a personal level.
People fail to communicate
effectively by either giving too
much or too little information that is
inaccurate or misleading causing
conflicting understanding.

Rationale
People are an organizations most
valuable asset and yet they also
represent the most difficult
resource to manage. This is
particularly true of the construction
industry due to its cultural diversity
and fragmented occupational
groups. This module requires you to
assess the complexities of
management in one of the most
people-reliant industry sectors.

Project
Communication
Communication
breakdown are
continuously cited as one
of the key reasons that
projects fail, which is why
communication needs to
be addressed as a critical
activity and skills for
project managers
(Pritchard, 2004)

Definition of
Communication
If information is power,
communications allow the power to be
used! Communications is about
interactions the transfer or display of
data and information, ideas, knowledge, etc;
it is the process of transmitting a
message by using symbols from sender(s)
to receiver(s). Efficient and effective
communications are vital. Output from one
person is input for another so it is necessary
to consider both the transmitter
and the receiver as well as
the medium between them.
(Langford et
al,1998)

Communication
process
Initial verbal message

Non-verbal signals received


from B at the same time as A
sends verbal message

Verbal message, non-verbal


signals, and environment
clues received stimulate
response.

A sends a message to B
While A is sending the message, B is sending back communication
signals, e.g. Facial expression, eye movement, body language, etc.
Both parties communicate at conscious and subconscious levels
Although Bs body language and facial expressions suggest that B
understands, other signals, such as speed of reaction and actions, suggest
that Bs interpretation of the message is incorrect.
A recognises that B does not understand even though B thinks that s/he
understands.
The interesting phenomenon here is all of this can be done without B
speaking and can occur before A has finished sending his/her initial
message.

The importance of
Listening

How do you feel when you know


that someone is listening to you?

Valued
Understood
Safe
Happy
Positive
In control
Ready to go on
Empowered
Heard
Accepted

What is Good
Listening?
Good eye contact
Open body posture
Paying attention
Affirmative encouraging noises uh
huhs
Smiling
Making time
Shutting up
No fidgeting, pens, paper, computer,
phones
No physical barriers
Appropriate questioning
Demonstrating empathy

Barriers to
Listening

Focusing on a personal agenda


Hearing emotional noise
Criticizing the speaker
Understanding speech rate vs
thought rate
Speech 125 words per minute
Thought 600-800 words per
minute
Experiencing information overload
Hearing external noise
Experiencing physical difficulty

Put your brain into gear


before you open your
mouth...
Conscious processing
is used when

preparing for meetings and rehearsal of


speeches but your conscious mind is too
slow during face-to-face interaction.
During interaction, speech and
grammatical structure, sentences and
words are all processed in the
subconscious mind.
If however the situation is not similar to
any previous encounters the reaction may be
as a result of the subconscious and the
conscious mind.
Subconscious may prevent us reacting straight
away with an incorrect response.
Conscious thinks over the matter, attempting to
understand and contextualise the situation.

Group
communication
Communication
can be divided into
two distinct categories
Communication aimed at achieving the
group goal (task)
Interaction that is used to maintain
relationships (socio-emotional)

Task as teams work through tasks


differences of opinions emerge and
a level of conflict develops. This can
be dispersed through
Socio-emotional positive
(supportive). Negative (conflict) is
necessary to prevent groupthink

Functions of
communication
Information function information is being
exchanged all the time. (passes both ways)
Instrumental function Used to get things
done
Social relationships function
maintaining relationships between
individuals and groups in order that they can
continue to work as a team
Expression function Express their
feelings either spontaneously or planned
Attitude change function Persuasion to
influence behaviour and attitude.
Role-related or ritual function
Sometimes people communication because
they are expected to

Communication
structure

Channels of communication

Leadership or line hierarchy


linking people who decide policy with
those who implement it.
Functional and lateral
relationships linking people in
different sections, some of whom
contribute specialist knowledge and
skills
Procedures through which
managers and workers can consult
and negotiate with one another to
resolve conflicts and increase
commitment and co-operation

Direction of
communication
Upward provides essential
feedback to management.
Upward communication can be
slow if news is bad or distorted,
only communicating what it is
people think their bosses want
to hear.

LATERAL
Downwards communication is
not only to give instructions
and explain strategies and
objectives but to give people
information

Lateral swap information


about the job. Most of which
is passed informally along the
grapevine and travels fast.
Vital for getting work done
quickly and efficiently

Give examples of
situations where
communication can go
wrong?

Possible Situations
People are flooded with paperwork
they havent time to read.
Estimates may be wrong
Drawings out of date
Descriptions/communication is
ambiguous
Meetings go on for too long and
people stop listening
Size of the organisation small
organisations more face to face
contact. Larger firms rely more on
the written word.

Why communication
fails
Poor expression

Reluctant communicators
Communication dominance
Failing to ask questions
Asking closed and open questions
Failing to seek for help
Failing to disagree
Overloading
Poor choice of method
Disjunction and distortion
Distance
Status differences
Feelings

Don't use that tone


with
me!
I did not tell John
you were
late.
Someone else told John you were late.

I did not tell John you were late.


This did not happen.

I did not tell John you were late.


I may have implied it.

I did not tell John you were late.


But maybe I told Sharon and Jos.

I did not tell John you were late.


I was talking about someone else.

I did not tell John you were late.


I told him you still are late.

I did not tell John you were late.


I told him you were attending another

meeting.

Name some
methods of
communication.

Managers behaviour
How To Win Friends And
Influence People
Make people feel important
Show that you value them and
recognise their abilities
Be a good listener and show an
interest in them.
Show that you can see peoples
points of view
Be sympathetic to their ideas and
needs
Give plenty of praise and
encouragement
Be sincere and fair with everyone

Managers Behaviour Tips

Recognition build up individuals


confidence by seeking opportunities
to give praise and recognition.
Empathy Try and see things from
other peoples viewpoints.
Listening Interpret what is being said
to understand its meaning. Give
feedback to clarify and show you
really understood what the person is
saying.
Assertiveness Encourage honesty
and directness and do so by
example; communicate a feeling of
self-respect and respect for others.

Personal skills and


interaction

Adopting a warm, friendly


manner: smiling; using eye-contact
Treating the other person as an
equal
Creating a smooth and easy pattern
of interaction
Finding a common interest or
experience
Showing a keen interest in the
other; listening carefully
Meeting the other person on his or
her own ground

Communication
facts
Did you know?
7% of communication is
words
38% of communication is
voice quality
55% of communication is
body language

Body Language
We form our opinions of
someone we meet for the first
time in just a few seconds, and
this initial instinctual
assessment is based far more
on what we see and feel about
the other person than on the
words they speak. On many
occasions we form a strong
view about a new person
before they
speak a single word

Non-verbal
Communicate through body
language:
Eye contact
Facial expressions
Tone of voice
Body positioning
Silence
Space

Keep body language in


context

Body Language
BODY LANGUAGE WARNING
Body language is not an exact
science.
No single body language
sign is a reliable indicator.
Understanding body language
involves the interpretation of
several consistent signals to
support or indicate a particular
conclusion

Body Language in
Context
Body language depends on context: body
language in a certain situation might not
mean the same in another.
Some 'body language' isn't what it seems at
all, for example:
Someone rubbing their eye might have an
irritation, rather than being tired - or
disbelieving, or upset.
Someone with crossed arms might be
keeping warm, rather than being defensive.
Someone scratching their nose might
actually have an itch, rather than
concealing a lie

Written
Conveys aptitude and
attitude
Receiver draws conclusions
based upon grammar,
vocabulary, presentation,
and formatting used in
written communication
Common forms include
letters, memos, and emails.

Plan what you write


Purpose What are you trying
to communicate?
Audience To whom are you
writing to/for?
Exploration What ideas
should you consider?
Patterns and Outline How can
you best arrange your ideas?
Details and Examples How
can you support your points

Summary
COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY TO
SUCCESS.
Consider the whole process of
communication not just the conveying of
information but the listening and
feedback.
Make use of all types of communication
lateral, upwards and downwards
Consider all types of communication and
use the most applicable.
Make communication a conscious act
consider your behaviour and skills
Be aware of body language
Plan what you write

References
Bell, A.H., Smith, D. M. (2010) Management
Communication 3rd edition. John Wiley & Sons,
Emmitt, S. And Gorse, C. A. (2003) Construction
Communication. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.
Fryer, B. Egbu C. Ellis R. Gorse, C.(2004) The
Practice of Construction Management 4 th edition.
Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.
Gorse, C. A. (2003) Conflict and conflict
management in construction. In Proceedings of
the Nineteenth Annual Conference ARCOM, 3-5
September, University of Brighton, 173-182
Mintzberg, H. Ahstrand, B., Lampel, J. (2005)
Strategy Bites Back. It is far more, and less,
than you every imagined. FT Prentice Hall.
Harlow