We are taking one crucial thing for granted in construction, and in life—the way we communicate.
The world uses e-mails, text messages and instant messages, but how many Project Managers use the phone for actual talking any more?
Technology has been able to help us send and expedite shop drawings, plans, and memos to the construction team quickly and efficiently, but how do we know if an important item is transmitted and received on the other end? People don’t always have time for follow-up emails. How do we know that things are not simply falling through the cracks by being “bounced back” or sent to spam?
The answer is in the old stand-by—picking up the phone. Sometimes important topics must not just be merely sent via e-mail or text. One cannot always rely on the person at the other end to receive the message, take action, or respond without taking the time of day for clear-cut, verbal communication.
Emails can be sent to junk files or spam. Even if an email was successfully sent and received, it might not have been read or even fully understood. Context, tone, and other aspects of communication are misconstrued in messages which can lead to misunderstandings, delays, or conflict. Once an email is sent, we await a reply… but if it is truly important, we will pick up the phone and call them to discuss it. I find that the best communication is still “face-to-face”.
I think that in-person or phone discussions should be more readily utilized in the workplace over text messages or emails. As a Project Manager or Superintendent, it is ultimately our responsibility to get a project done within budget and time constraints.
Everyone can come up with excuses for communication problems, but great communicators get answers no matter what it takes. In this case, an old fashioned phone call or in-person discussion in addition to an email is the best form of communication and shows that you truly care about the results of your efforts.
What challenges have you encountered with communication in the digital world? Do you agree that phone calls and face-to-face are the best forms of communication? Leave a comment below to join the conversation, we would love to hear from you!
Article By Thomas Easse, Project Manager at March Construction