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Gorilla Project Blogs: Effective Communications
Effective Communications “There must be a specific turn of phrase that will allow me to say it to her. There is...a specific combination of words that will convince her...”
Walter White,'Breaking Bad (season 3)'

In our case 'her' is a project and it's team (from Baby Gorilla to Silverback). I'm a big believer in finding the right words to communicate any project message, status, issue, or instruction.

Courage is usually required when needing to deliver difficult news or to give instructions or make a request from a team member or stakeholder who you may find intimidating. Courage may be required, but excellent communications skills are a must when working with team members to deliver a project.

Gorilla Theory focuses on enhanced communications as one of the founding, core principles. It is worth finding out from your friends, family, and colleagues what they think of your communications skills.

Ask for feedback. It can be as simple as "do you easily understand me when I give instructions or give information?" - to a more detailed breakdown with a relevant person who has the time and inclination (if you have a mentor happy days). Get as much detail as you can and act on the constructive elements to improve. By act on, I mean (in typical Gorilla Theory fashion) create a checklist for the effort of better communications:
  • Who can I ask for feedback on how I communicate?
  • What was the positive feedback (if any)?
  • what was the negative feedback (if any)?
  • What can I do to enhance the positive things I do?
  • What can I do to eradicate the negative things I do?
  • How long will I give myself to implement the enhancements and fixes?
  • When should I get feedback to test that I have successfully (or not) implemented the enhancements and fixes?
Feel free to make a list that better maps to your personality and situation, but don't take away the investigative nature: you need to challenge yourself and seek honest feedback. You may not like some of what you hear, but by hearing, absorbing and acting on constructive guidance, you will improve and that is the aim.

Will focusing on being a better communicator help you to be a better project manager, leader, team member? To paraphrase Walter White / Heisenberg again....‘'YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT!’. Stick with it. Discipline and consistency is key.

Think of your words as a torchlight in the dark. They must cut through the gloom and show the way ahead. Practice being clear and getting to the point. Clarity of communication (both written and verbal) is a common preference in project leaders and managers of the CEOs, entrepreneurs, management consultants, senior managers, hiring managers, development teams and workers I interviewed over the course of defining the Gorilla Theory framework and writing the first book. It stands to reason that a good communicator saves time, inspires confidence and trust and inspires people.

Improve your communication skills and be a linchpin in your projects, your business, and your personal life. As Paul J. Meyer says,

“Communication - the human connection - is the key to personal and career success.”

The next lesson is another taken from Breaking Bad...'being a blowfish'. Being a great communicator is half the battle.

How to spot a Baby Gorilla
Baby gorillas are projects that are deemed small and straightforward, and it is assumed that enough information is known of what needs to be done (the full requirements and delivery specifications) to get the project delivered, but these details are either not gathered, defined and approved, and (usually) not enough time is given for the delivery. Baby gorillas tend to be media campaign, HTML newsletter, microsite, site/page update-style projects.
Got a great case study or question?
Then get in contact with the Gorilla Theory team: click here >

All the Gorilla Theory project scenario solutions are supported by a checklist mechanism. The checklist mechanism supports the core principles of:

And don't forget to use your checklists!
We have tailored the Gorilla Theory checklists for each of the three problem scenarios. You can buy the project checklist pack or the full checklist pack: click here >

Useful Software
Useful Project Management Software
You are forewarned, so be forearmed. Check useful tools for managing your projects.
The Troop
Several projects on the go? Worried about how to cope successfully? Find out how.
The Silverback
The big beast of a project. Find out how to know you have one, and how to avoid being crushed by the sheer power. Learn to tame one.