Q&A on Project Management Communications

Alexis Dondic has more than 15 years experience in the auto industry. She has also worked in strategic communications on projects. She is also a trader and coach. She divides her time between Germany, where she was born, and Mexico.
How can you communicate with virtual teams?
Alexis: Keep everyone informed and reduce the number of meetings. A project management communication plan should outline how each stakeholder can be reached. Consider compliance: Do we need their approval to do certain things? Or do they just need to be informed? Or do we need them to participate in the decision-making process? This will determine how we communicate with them.
What is a communication plan?
Alexis uses an Excel spreadsheet to create a comms strategy.
Analysis of stakeholders: Who does what on the project?
Frequency of communication: Daily, weekly, bi-weekly, etc
The goal: What do we expect from the stakeholder in the comms?
Who will talk to the stakeholder?

How can you communicate a failure without being judgmental?
Alexis: Take into consideration their origins so that you can take cultural differences into consideration.
What are the best methods and tools for communicating with stakeholders?
Alexis: I don’t have favorites and I tend to use what they have as a freelancer. I tend to use slides and spreadsheets, which isn’t great. I use my iPad to show slides to people in meetings.
Elizabeth: It is important to have one place for all actions. Having too many tools for communicating can distract people from their attention and cause them to lose focus. I use Microsoft products in general, and slide for writing.
Community shares
Vugar (@ismvug), My projects are based out of the US and Mexico, but I’m based here in Canada. Everything is now available online. Without face-to-face meetings, it is difficult to have a personal relationship. No one watches their video. How can we improve our online relationships?
Alexis: It can be difficult to communicate with someone online for the first time. Talk to people before the main meeting, where we introduce ourselves.
Elizabeth: Make the online meetings enjoyable. Take time to chat with others. Don’t be lazy and plan ahead. You can bring more energy than you think you need, as people will take your energy levels.
Vugar: Tell them that you don’t have a personal problem with them. It’s not personal, I tell them from the beginning.
Alexis: People learn nothing if you tell them what went wrong. Instead, tell them what they can do better and praise them when they do it right.
Next: 4 Tips to Make Virtual Meetings Effective.TuckerJohnson (@tuckerjohnson). Don’t blame others when you talk about failure. Concentrate on the solution. Everyone becomes defensive when you try to find the root cause. While there is a time and place to do a root cause analysis and look at what went wrong, the priority should be to deliver the project on schedule. It is a great way to have a conversation and give control to the stakeholders/vendors. If you are unable to give them control, at least give them the impression of control. Give them options to feel in control. If data-driven communication is important, share the numbers.
Amir (@mesipooz). We are trying to identify the problems in some of our conversations about failures. We don’t care about who is pulling their weight. It’s more about what we need to do.
Annie (@alloannie: Could you please share the most efficient way to conduct a status meeting? It feels very long in status meetings because people are trying to get dates.
Alexis: I have a weekly task list and a project plan. I extract these tasks and present them in the meeting. I provide a weekly status report