In this episode of the Smarter Building podcast, we caught up with Robert Kumapley, the Chief of Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) Program at The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ), on the challenges and advantages of implementing an asset management strategy.
7 must-have construction communications skills
In this blog post, our partner RingCentral outlines seven must-have communication skills to ensure you collaborate effectively & smoothly finish construction projects on time.
1. Determine who is who for each project
Have you clearly outlined the chain of command across your projects? For example, who is the project owner? Who are the contractors and subcontractors? Who is the supervisor and who is the architect? What about the engineers and electricians, who are they? If you’re unsure who is who when it comes to your projects, it’s time to map out a very clear chain of command.
Establish every role involved in your project and the appropriate stakeholders’ name and have this accessible by your whole team (bonus points if you can add a detailed list of each person’s specific responsibilities eg managing contract documents etc). This way, people can easily find who to contact for what the first time, and ensure information is getting to the right people in a timely manner. This quick first step will save everyone time in the long run and provide instant transparency on roles and responsibilities.
2. Pick the right communication tool
Even though managing a construction project can be complex, your communications setup shouldn’t have to be. That's why it’s crucial to pick the right communication tool that will make your job (and your team’s job) easier. With the right tool by your side, communication can flow effortlessly and be easily accessible anytime, anywhere.
Cater to your teams’, clients’, and partners’ preferred communication channels by getting a unified solution that can do it all in a single app: messaging, video meetings, phone calls, and texts. Unified communications such as RingCentral VoIP can help your construction business to have more convenient interactions, enable teams to collaborate more seamlessly from any location, and improve internal record keeping and time tracking.
3. Actively listen and engage in your conversations
We’ve all heard the saying: “Talk less, listen more.” This is especially true when working in a construction environment as there are numerous people involved and conversations happening simultaneously. This is why it’s important to be an active listener and engage in your conversations.
Whether you’re communicating with customers, teammates, or partners, being fully present in your conversations (both in person and digitally) will strengthen your relationships and develop more meaningful conversations. Try not to get easily distracted, actively listen to their feedback, make others feel heard and remember to take action if there's a next step.
4. Be direct and keep it simple
There’s a lot of ground to cover when working in the construction industry—regulations, contracts, supply chains, materials, equipment, labour supply, and unexpected cancellations to name a few. This is why it’s important to be direct and to keep it simple when communicating to avoid any confusions.
When you leave a conversation, ensure everyone walks away knowing what exactly was discussed and what the next steps are. Remember to stick to the facts and be available to answer any questions to ensure everyone is aligned. Try your best to avoid jargon and overcomplicating conversations.
If having things written down helps, take notes during your calls and share them with stakeholders in your team messaging platform. You can even attach additional files and imagery to your team messaging chat so everyone can reference them in the future.
5. Encourage others to speak up
The best communication is two ways. No one wants to be talked to the entire time. People want to talk to eachother. As you engage in conversations, encourage others to speak up and have a more open, fluid conversation so that others feel comfortable speaking honestly. Gathering professional opinions about the project can benefit the wider team and overall outcome.
Especially for those who are working remotely and joining video meetings, remember to turn your video on so that people can see your face and feel more connected to you. If you’re on a construction site and the background has loud noises, take advantage of the “mute” button while others are speaking to avoid disruptions. Build a safe in-person and virtual environment for others to communicate.
6. Document and record all communication
Not everyone can remember everything that was said in a call. This is why it’s important to document everything and record calls about your construction project. This can be great follow-up material for those involved and also can be used later to help clarify any potential confusions.
7. Keep learning
Don’t feel limited when it comes to improving your communication skills—there’s always room to grow and learn. Start making phone calls, sending video chat invites, or sending messages to your colleagues to share communication best practices, challenges, and previous experiences. By opening up new conversations with your peers in the same industry, you can learn from another and find better ways to communicate. In addition to taking educational courses and chatting with your peers, make sure you get proper training on your company’s communication tool so that you know how to take full advantage of it.
The next time you’re in a video meeting, record the meeting and distribute it to your team afterwards. And when it comes to team messaging platforms like RingCentral VoIP, Microsoft Teams etc, the great thing about it is that your entire chat history is always saved and available to revisit. Some team messaging platforms even allow you to pin important messages for easier finding.
Construction businesses winning with RingCentral VoIP
Structural Technologies provides contracting services to improve, protect, and repair new and existing structures. The company needed a unified communications solution that could support its mobile workforce, and RingCentral VoIP fit the bill perfectly. Jason Kasch, CIO at Structural Technologies, explained why RingCentral was his first choice:
“Say someone is working on-site and sees something on a drawing that isn’t right, such as an access problem that wasn’t anticipated for example. That person can initiate a phone call or send a text and start a conversation with an engineer in the office about the problem. That engineer can have a conference with other engineers, change the drawings, and then share the new document through RingCentral to the worksite. In the past, it would have taken one day to make the change and another day to have copies of the drawings sent out. Our engineers now get that kind of on-the-fly, just-in-time change done in 20 minutes to an hour.”
Better communication, better construction project outcomes
How you and your team communicate plays a big role in the success of your construction projects. The more everyone is connected and communicating, the more likely projects will finish on time with less surprises. The next time you’re communicating with various stakeholders on a new construction project, remember to define a clear chain of command, set yourself up with a top-rated unified communication tool, and actively listen.
To discuss your Construction communication strategy, please get in touch with us. To learn more about RingCentral VoIP, please click here.