In the last article, Communication Structure, we looked at how having a clear structure for the way you approach project communication is essential to success.
I also shared my framework for communication structure – the 5 Elements of a strategy (5ES) – to help you develop a powerful strategy for requesting and receiving information.
I teach the 5ES in my Elevator Training Program. By targeting the five key areas of a project – Information, People, Technicality, Process and Timing – you’ll become more confident, be clearer when engaging stakeholders and find more support for your project.
Once you’re familiar with the 5ES, the next step is to learn how to ask questions that really matter, in a way that removes project assumptions.
Let’s break down each of the elements and look at questions we can ask to drive clarity, and open the doors to richer and more informed communication.
For each of the 5ES, the aim is to discover the needs and expectations of both the project team and project stakeholders, in order to achieve project success.
The most important thing to consider when diving into the Information, People, Technicality, Process and Timing elements, is to not immediately go into problem solving mode! It’s far more important to understand the knowns, unknowns, problems, or gaps in the way they are intended by the person delivering the information.
For each element the considerations should include:
Before meeting with anyone, it’s important to consider the Why? of the project to determine what you need to deliver.
Using your list of project deliverables, run through each of the 5ES and brainstorm a list of all the things you need to have, done, create, change, remove, and address. This list will be the start of the questions you will discuss with your stakeholders.
At times the aim will be to confirm a belief. Other times it will be to request or accept information. It’s important that even when you believe you know the answer, to always have the information confirmed by your stakeholders. For tips on how to remove assumptions, check out the first article in this series.
To get you started, here are some questions you should ask for each of the 5ES
Element of People
Element of Technicality
Element of Process
Element of Timing
A Communications Plan is a great place to capture the information you collect when answering the questions for each of the 5ES.
The Projecting with People Communications Plan Template features a section dedicated to the 5ES and walks you through the questions from each element, step-by-step.
We’ll look at how to use a Communications Plan in more detail in the next article of this series.
In the next part of the Communicating with Purpose series, we’ll uncover who you should communicate with on your project and how to create effective and purposeful interactions.
Are you ready to level up your communication to deliver more powerful projects?
In addition to giving you the keys to effective project communication, each article in this 5-part series will suggest documented resources you can use to make sure your communication remains effective.
You’ll find a full list of Projecting with People resources in my online shop here.
Be the first to know.
Sign up to my regular newsletter now and you’ll get real-time access to all my articles as they’re released.
Subscribe for insights, tips and strategies to help you deliver powerful projects.