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Communication effectively in projects with Bina Champaneria

by agilekrc
This article reflects on Champaneria's valuable insights and underscores the undeniable link between communication efficacy and career progression.
Communication effectively in projects with Bina Champaneria


Clear communication is crucial in today’s fast-paced professional environment. The webinar ‘Didn’t you read the email?’ led by Bina Champaneria, dissected the complexities of effective communication. It offered participants a framework for understanding and addressing communication challenges, enriched by real-world examples.
Find the presentation here, the audio recording, or the transcript for detailed insights.

About the speaker

Bina Champaneria’s career is a testament to her proficiency in training and project management across a range of sectors. With significant experience developing courses and managing projects, she excels in relating complex concepts to practical situations. Bina leverages her experience to enhance the learning process, ensuring that participants gain valuable, actionable knowledge.


Read the full transcript of the webinar below.

00:00:01 Bina Champaneria: Thank you very much, Sevcan, and thank you everybody for joining. I really appreciate you using your valuable time to come in and you know, let’s talk about communication. So, thank you very much for being here. Now communication is a huge subject, and you know it’s part of everyday life, isn’t it? We all communicate in work, in home, relationships, family, you know, it’s all around us. It is an important subject, but do we always get it right? You know, do we when we send a message do people understand it when they send a message to us? Do we understand it, or is there a lot of confusion?

00:00:39 Bina Champaneria: So, what we’re going to look at is what can happen during the journey of the message and what causes confusion. And so, there’s various aspects we’re gonna look. I’m gonna talk about some challenges with communication that I’ve faced myself. I’ve experienced and maybe you can relate to something like that and then we’re going to look at project management and communication on that. And then at the end as you see there, I’m going to touch a little bit on AI and data.

00:01:05 Bina Champaneria: But before I talk about the agenda, I just want to give a little story about some what I think is miscommunication, something that happened to me last Friday, which we might think is quite funny now. It does funny when I reflect back on it, but I live on the top floor of an apartment block and therefore I use a lift to get to my apartment.

00:01:26 Bina Champaneria: So, I was in the lift and the lift got stuck. It made a bang, and it just stuck it shook. So, I thought, OK, what do you normally do in these circumstances? You press the yellow button on the lift and then you should hear some alarm sound. Of course, I did that, and nothing happened. And then I saw another yellow button a bit further to the right. And I thought, OK, let me press that one and then I was expecting somebody to talk to me, but there was nobody there. So, it was not a nice situation to be in, so I thought, OK, what do I do now? I’ll press the zero and see if I’ll go back down again, and luckily for me, the lift did go back down, and I was able to get out of the lift and I was so relieved that I could do that.

00:02:07 Bina Champaneria: So, I press the yellow button thinking that’s what you normally do, you know, that’s what’s communicated to you if you get stuck in a lift. And I phoned the lift company and I said, Well I pressed the button, but nobody answered. They said, well uh you should have pressed the button for 10 seconds, I had no idea I had to do that. Nowhere did I see a message that said you had to pass it for 10 seconds. So that was to me, miscommunication or maybe I interpreted things wrong I don’t know. Maybe some of you have been stuck in a lift and you might know that. And I had no idea but I’m going to show you a visual related to that.

00:02:42 Bina Champaneria: And it’s about misunderstanding, miscommunication, that’s why I wanted to sort of mention that. I do have some of the stories about communication to share with you. So, what are we going to talk about today? Communication, as I said, is a big subject. So, the kind of things I want to cover. You see in the middle, that’s communication and what I want to first of all talk about is models of communication. I a little bit of theory behind communication. You know, what is it about what happens sort of thing. So, I think it’s good to get a bit of an idea of the theory behind communication.

00:03:19 Bina Champaneria: Then I’m going to talk about challenging situations I’ve had regarding communication, and you know, maybe you might be familiar with some of those as well. And then how do we communicate, you know, is it always by e-mail? Do we always send emails? You know, that’s the easy thing to do. But what about the other methods and then the terminology that we use, the language that we use, that what we actually put in our communication. We need to think about that as well. So thought is needed into how we communicate and what we communicate. And that’s why I thought it’s important to think about the audience. I’ve got audience here, who are we communicating to?

00:03:57 Bina Champaneria: And specifically, what are their needs? You know, so different audiences have different needs. So, we need to think about that because it’s not necessarily one-size-fits-all. So, we have to consider people’s needs as well. So, there is a lot of thought needed behind passing a message on to somebody in the right way. So, it gets the right communication. And then projects, as I mentioned, how do we manage communication on projects and then finishing off with AI and data? Sorry my eye is watering I’m not crying, just got a watery eye sorry, OK there you go.

00:04:32 Bina Champaneria: Now my opening line on my starter slide was, didn’t you read the e-mail? Now, can you imagine if you missed some important communication? Maybe you got yeah, hundreds of emails and you missed an important piece of communication. And that’s not a nice feeling, is it? To think I missed something I should have picked up on that. And you feel like you know you don’t know something that you should have known. And that’s quite common and then what I actually wanted to write was, didn’t you read the memo? Now maybe some of you know what a memo is. Maybe some of you remember, but there is this line called didn’t you get the memo in a film called Batman Returns. I don’t know if anybody knows that, but it’s all about the idea behind saying didn’t you get the memo is that somebody missed some important communication. So, everybody else knew they didn’t. So, we all know that’s not a good position to be in, to not get the information. So that’s why it’s important to manage communication.

00:05:36 Bina Champaneria: All right so that’s the agenda and just to say at the end, we’ll look at some key takeaways and then you have opportunity to ask questions. You can put comments in the chat as well. Please feel free to do that. So, we’ll have a Q&A session towards the end.

00:05:51 Bina Champaneria: So, a little bit about myself now, some of you may already know me. Maybe I’ve trained some of you, but very, very briefly my background. I’ve had quite a varied career in different industries. So, on the left-hand side, we can see that I’ve got fashion, manufacturing and retail. So, I started off as a designer working for various manufacturing companies, learned about quality control, product development, and all of that kind of thing. And then worked for two different manufacturers of computer aided design and manufacturing systems for those industries where I trained a lot of operators. And then my first actual project manager role was for a company called Torexretail where I was involved in installing point of sale systems. So, when you go to a shop, and they scan something. The system they use is that electronic point of sale system that links back to head office.

00:06:48 Bina Champaneria: And then in the middle you’ve got at the top mace, which is a construction company. So, I set up a project support office based at the customer site there. So that was a good introduction to what do project managers need, how do we work on the customer site and that kind of thing. And then the last three logos are all about the three universities that I’ve worked for and the one in the middle, the orange logo is the university in the Netherlands. So, I lived there for 11 years developing courses in project management, you know, delivering courses in management as well. And because of my background in managing projects and I was lucky to be to be involved in managing quite a few of their projects, which I really enjoyed. So aside from teaching, I managed quite a few of the projects for the university, one that was really special to me was this one called Green Bubbles. Do you see the logo at the top? Why that was special was because it was an EU funded project that I kind of brought to the university by a colleague, a contact friend actually that was a marine biologist. So, this project was about marine protected areas, and our case study location was in Italy.

00:08:04 Bina Champaneria: It was a good grounding to work on a project with international partners. There were about 9 different organisations, including us and we worked together and spent time in Italy, and it was all about communicating with different organisations with different disciplines like scientists, researchers, tourism experts and so on. Our university was representing the media and entertainment department, so lots of disciplines coming together on a large project. And then four years ago, I moved back to the UK and worked for the University of Bradford on a project and the University of Leeds on a project that was actually in partnership with the Alan Turing Institute. And for me, that was the first sort of real recognition about how important data is for a project. I went with lots of data scientists and that was a good kind of introduction to me about the value of data.

00:09:06 Bina Champaneria: But now what I do is I teach project management to various organisations, and you see the certifications there. That’s what I teach, and I also have some other certifications as well. So, that’s about me but let’s look at the agenda item that I wanted to talk about first, which is models. Communication models specifically, there are loads of you know, there are so many communication models, but what I’ve done is just picked out a couple just to explain the theory behind communication, because I think it’s important to recognize that. What happens to communication and why it happens and so on.

00:09:51 Bina Champaneria: So, the first model I’ve simplified it and basically what it’s saying is that someone who’s a sender prepares a message. So, they’re sending a message that message is to be sent to people who are the receivers and what they will do is receive and interpret the message. Sounds straightforward but in the middle, you could have something called noise. There could be some interruptions, it could be something that interferes along the way you know interferes with the message and therefore it’s not interpreted. Some examples could be you know, there’s just the terminology is not understood. The language and the formality, maybe there’s not enough knowledge by the receivers about the subject. For instance, you know there could be a number of things that could cause interference, and the person at the receiving end doesn’t get the message properly.

00:10:47 Bina Champaneria: And I’ll show you some examples, and I’m sure you can think of quite a few as well, but that’s the noise factor we have to look out for. The other theory that I want to show is similar. You still have somebody who’s sending the information, you know the source of the information, but we may need to consider things like their communication skills, you know, their knowledge, their attitude. These are factors that affect the message that’s actually being created. And that message goes through some kind of channel and again goes to the receivers. So again, we have to think about the knowledge of the receivers. Do they have the knowledge of what the source is sending, you know, what about the culture of the organisation, the culture of wherever they are. You know there could be differences from the receiver on the source. So again, this shows that there could be some distortion of the message getting through to the end. So, our message has a journey and remember we’re talking about two-way communication. So, there should be a way of asking questions and feeding back if that’s what’s also needed.

00:12:01 Bina Champaneria: So, talking about messages being distorted, I want to show you this example and maybe some of you have seen this. It’s called Chinese whispers, it could be a game that children play for example, where they say something to somebody. And that gets interpreted and then passed on to the next person and the next person and the next person, and so on. And at the end of the day is the same message received at the end or has it got? You know, did we introduce noise? Did it get interrupted along the way? Maybe some of you have played Chinese whispers and you think you know that has happened. Yeah, now this actually happened in a real situation way back. Let me just show you way back in 1914, when messages had to be relayed via radio. There was a military message that was sent from one radio operator to another, to another and so on. I don’t know exactly how many radio operators. But the original message was “Send reinforcements we are going to advance” right. To me that sounds quite like a serious message. You know, sent by the military but after so many sort of iterations of that message going through. I wonder if anybody knows what the final message was. It wasn’t that it was actually ‘Send three and fourpence. We’re going to a dance”. I mean crikey, what a difference in the original message to the next message. So, you know, this is also noise interruption, interpretation of the message, communication. Things can go wrong, yeah.

00:13:44 Bina Champaneria: So, this is quite a well-known one I think there’s slightly different versions of it as well, but this is, you know what can happen. I’m going to talk about a couple of challenges I had with communication. You know, as I mentioned, I’ve experienced these mainly when I was training operators. So, I mentioned that I worked for a number of CAD/CAM system suppliers and we were selling these systems to manufacturers of clothing, for example. In various countries, so I spent quite a bit of time in Romania, Poland and Hungary teaching the operators and how to use these systems. But of course, all my delivery was done in English. Translated by somebody at the organisation, you know so that the operators could use it and then if they had any questions that would come back. So, the whole process took time. There was a time to for me to explain, time to translate, you know interpret and then back again get that feedback.

00:14:43 Bina Champaneria: So, I had to be very careful in my choice of words, you know, to be clear, precise. Because everything had to be translated and I think what helped me was watching the people’s facial expressions. If I was teaching the operators how to use the system, if I watch their faces, I could see, uh I think you have a question coming up. I think what your question might be. So, I would think what might they want to ask? Do they understand? No. They look a bit confused, so it was very much working closely. So, the visual aspect was very important that focus on do people understand it. And are they doing what they should be doing on the system, so a slow process, but it did work, but it did require patience both on my side and the operator’s side. And we did have a funny moment actually, which I’m gonna share with you just now.

00:15:39 Bina Champaneria: So, we’re using computer system and at one point I said OK, now close the window and the lady that was translating for me looked very confused. And started looking at the room and the window was thinking why does Bina want that window to be closed. What’s that got to do with it? You know, it was a kind of a confusing situation. But we chuckled at the end of it, but you see that’s how things can be misinterpreted. The different languages, the different terminology, the different knowledge and so on.

00:16:12 Bina Champaneria: And then one final about the working in different countries and different languages. At one point I had to teach a system where all the many functions were in German. And I didn’t know German so, I had to do my own little translation. Delivered the training to a company in Hungary. So, there was difficulty on my part because I had to make sure I knew what that function meant. Difficulty on the operators cause they had to also sort of understand what that meant as well. But again, what helped was the visual, watching the operators use the system, seeing if they’re doing things in the right order, you know. And anticipating what kind of questions they might ask. So, having that awareness being more active as a trainer was important because I had to interpret what was going on at the end of the day. They needed to be able to learn the system because they had to do business as usual. You know, they had to get the work done really. And so that that was a challenge and maybe some of you have experienced that before.

00:17:21 Bina Champaneria: OK, actually the good thing about the system was it was all about manipulating shapes on the screen. So that again helped the visual aspect of what the functions were. So, if they weren’t able to manipulate the shape and knew that they were lost somewhere in the functionality. Alright, so those are some of the challenges and I’m going to talk a bit more about terminology actually and I’m going to talk about idioms strange words, but I suspect most of you know lots of idioms. You know, what is an idiom, let me bring up 3 examples of idioms. And I don’t know where they originated, how they originated you know, for instance, what does raining cats and dogs mean, and why do they say that? Why do they say it’s raining cats and dogs and, you know. Imagine I was in Romania, and it was raining so hard, and I said Ohh it’s raining cats and dogs. I don’t think anybody would know what on Earth was talking about. You know, where does that come from? So, this is like, if you’re like local or you know, particular to that country with communicating things. And I’m sure you all know lots of other idioms you know like use your love, get your ducks in a row. It’s a strange kind of language, isn’t it? That not everybody is going to understand, but we used it don’t we? We say that we say these things because we assume everybody understands them, yeah. So, there is that assumption, now I mention I lived in the Netherlands and there was an assumption there that I understood all the idioms that were used in the Netherlands, and I didn’t because I’d never heard them before.

00:19:00 Bina Champaneria: So, for example, there was one and which is about peanut butter funnily enough, has pinned the cast. So, if I said to my friend my bicycle has got a flat tyre and you know, it’s like, oh dear you know, that’s a shame. They would say Helaas Pindakass, which actually means that’s too bad. So, I learned that was common to say that which I don’t know how it originated, but I think it’s quite funny anyway. So, I got to know that idiom and a few others as well. The last idiom I’m gonna talk about, which some of you may be familiar with and it’s actually one that my mum used to use a lot and in the language of Gujarati. Which is the language I can speak, I can’t write it but it goes, and I’ll just say it one time, it says “Gudthera nay taav avay”, which really means it’s enough to make a donkey sick. So, if I did something silly or there was something silly going on, she would say it was enough to make a donkey sick, poor donkey you know.

00:19:55 Bina Champaneria: I don’t know how that came about, but reason I’m mentioning these is we can’t assume everybody understands everything we’re saying, you know, depends on the culture, the language, the background and so on. So, some of these things we would understand, but not everybody would understand. So, I thought just to add those cause, I think idioms are quite funny actually personally. And I know people are putting a few messages in the chat, let me just have a look. Louise, in the very old days when people had straw roofs, the cats and dogs would sleep on the roof. The warmth and rose from inside when it rained heavily, the straw would give way. Ohh that’s really interesting, thank you for sharing that. I had no idea, yeah, yeah thank you.

00:20:40 Bina Champaneria: A loaf of bread equals heads so use your head. Thank you, Catherine yeah, it’s funny, isn’t it? There’s a lot of stories behind these idioms. OK, one more bit of humour actually, cause I think it’s nice to do that. Actually, I don’t know why my eyes are watering. Sorry, bear with me one second. OK, what do you see on the screen? Do you see 4 candles, or do you see a handle for a fork? Yeah. Where am I going with this? I wonder if anybody knows about this. Where is this coming from? It’s from an old sketch. Let me just show you, it’s from an old sketch from the Two Ronnies. Yeah, thank you Copper, definitely the Two Ronnies way back in 1976 where Chuck goes into a hardware shop and asks for four candles, and the guy gives him you know, packet of candles. Four in the box and he keeps saying no, no, no, 4 candles, 4 candles. And what he really wanted was handles for forks. So again, it’s about that how is that message sent, how is it interpreted? The noise you know, it all sounds the same. So, it’s quite funny how we can misinterpret things very, very easily because we didn’t hear it or we assume we just don’t get it, you know. So yeah, that’s the last funny I’m gonna show you for now anyway.

00:22:08 Bina Champaneria: All right, best comedy sketch ever made, yeah Louise, it’s quite an old one, isn’t it? And it’s probably some others. Anyway, I think there was some other ones about going into the shop, but I just picked this one, actually because I think it’s about miscommunication, isn’t it, really. So, let’s talk about methods, we’ll talk about challenges. Let’s talk about methods, and I’m going to show you some very old methods that maybe a lot of you have never seen before. Telex machine, maybe some of you’ve heard of telex machine? What does it look like? Yeah, it was like kind of a printer doesn’t it. Back before the Internet, before mobile phones, when I was delivering training, say in Poland for instance, and there was a problem with machine, and I needed to speak to one of the engineers. How did I get hold of the engineer to get somebody from the office to type a short message that would sent across. And then the next day, you know the time difference and so on. Hopefully I got get a message. So, it’s very, very slow, you have to be very precise; you know a short message. And then later on we advanced a bit more to fax machines. So maybe some of you remember fax machines, you know they would dial up and then wear and then turn out lots of paper and you could have pictures as well. So that was a bit of an advancement as well and very often if I was staying in a hotel, I’d check to see or have you had a fax for me you know.

00:23:28 Bina Champaneria: I was waiting for a fax from work, for instance. So yeah, look at that and then memos in pigeonholes. So, I remember that one of the projects I was working on, we had to print off the reports and put them in everybody’s pigeonhole, you know, and hopefully they would go and check it. So, the responsibility was up to them to go and check if they’ve got any communication or not. And again, when I was staying in a hotel, I’d look at the pigeonhole my room and said have you got any messages from me kind of thing. So, it’s a bit of a passive way of sending information, isn’t it? The person receiving it doesn’t really know unless they go past their pigeonhole. If they’ve got any information or not. But nowadays, you know we we’ve got it so quick; haven’t we can get things so quickly in whatever format we need, it’s so different. I mean the first phone I had actually was a car phone fixed to a car which I didn’t really use much, you know, so things have come a long way. So now you think communication should be a lot faster, a lot better, a lot more accurate. But maybe there’s still some noise somewhere that can affect it.

00:24:37 Bina Champaneria: So, I’m going to ask a poll question which Sevcan gonna set up in a moment, which is this. I’d be interested to know what your preferred format for receiving information is. Meanwhile, I’ll just dry my eyes I don’t know why they’re watering one second, I’m not crying.

00:25:18 Bina Champaneria: OK interesting feedback actually, I’ll just wait for the poll to stop, and I can have a quick review.

00:25:32 Bina Champaneria: OK, so we have written/text 22 people, picture 3 people, phone call 6 people, video 7, experience, active, involvement 17, that’s really interesting, written text has gone up to 22. So, top is written or text, second is experience or active involvement, great. That’s really good to see and you may have picked more than one anyway, but we all have our preferences on what Sue says when it comes to receiving information. I personally really like pictures you know because being a visual learner that to me is helpful. But also experiencing active involvement and video. It depends what we’re doing as well, so that’s great. Thank you very much for that feedback, that’s good to see. I’m gonna close the poll just now, thank you, thanks Sevcan.

00:26:24 Bina Champaneria: Alright, so that leads us nicely on to methods of communication cause that’s why I was trying to find out how do you prefer to receive communication. And I thought it’d be good to look at a theory which is actually about learning styles. It’s from Flemming and Mills, but even, you know, we we’re not talking about learning, we’re talking about receiving communication. But even if you receive a message, you receive some report or something like that. You’re still absorbing that information, you know, you’re still learning in some way, aren’t you so? So, I think it’s relevant and what the theory suggests is that you use VARK, which stands for Visual, Auditory, Reading/writing, or Kinaesthetic. And of course, you can use a multiple approach of these, so this is a way of conveying the information. You can use these different ways. So, let’s look at some examples of these. We’ll start off by looking at visual and I know that something some of you said you do prefer and now you’ve probably all heard that saying “A picture is worth a thousand words”, yeah.

00:27:34 Bina Champaneria: And for me that is really helpful, you know, if I’m for example when I’m training and I’m trying to describe a theory, then we’ll draw a picture, and the delegates remember that. So, pictures as it says here visuals can aid learning and memory retention. So, you remember that by remembering the visual for instance. Also, you know if you see graphs and things like that trends by looking at the image, you can see a trend that’s easier to see than maybe reading a report for instance. So, visuals do read a lot of things and actually I listen to a webinar not so long ago about neuroscience. Run by Melanie and Tibisay, as you see here, and they were saying that the visual uses less brain processing power. So, I think that’s great because if we get some information, we don’t want to have to work too hard at it. We want to grasp the message quickly and maybe a visual providing it’s the right visual, you know, clear and there’s no noise. That should be a good way of getting the information. So, I like the sound of it using less brain processing power.

00:28:50 Bina Champaneria: I’m just looking at the chat, depends on what? Yeah, it does depend. Some things might need a combination of things actually. And that’s why you’ve got to use the appropriate method. So, it depends on what’s relevant, not everybody’s like in the survey. We just did the poll, some of you preferred the active involvement or reading. So, it could be a personal preference. So, my personal preference you know for me is a visual, but I also like to read things as well depends on what it is that I’m looking at.

00:29:27 Bina Champaneria: Quick diet of the slide, really about my complaint about the visual and my misunderstanding of the of the lift situation. There’s the button I pressed when I first got stuck in the lift and then I realised oh, there’s another yellow button here. I didn’t know that OK, let me press that one. With a little face and I was expecting somebody to talk to me, but nobody talked to me anyway. Then, now beaming this lift many, many times, I never ever noticed but you see up here is this little symbol and in small writing it says 20 seconds. So, I’m supposed to press this button for 20 seconds. I would not have known that I would not have picked that up. I don’t know if you agree with me, but I think that’s that sticker is in the wrong place. It should be somewhere here or even in yellow, yeah. So, you can put visuals, but if they’re not obvious, you know and not gonna get it. So now when I go and lift, I’m always gonna look at for something like this and which also reminds me you can put visuals there. But how many times have you seen people trying to pull a door when it says push on the door? You know, I’ve done it myself so we can recognise it. But there’s sometimes a disconnect between the information, the communication and what we do.

00:30:44 Bina Champaneria: All right.

00:30:46 Bina Champaneria: Let’s have a look at some more visuals, right? IKEA furniture, who’s been involved with building furniture? You know, I guess we all have at some point or other, not my favourite task. And luckily, I don’t do it that much, but you know if we have a picture that shows us, you know, what screws should we use? What other gadgets, tools should we use? Where do they go that makes it so much easier? Yeah, and trying to read about it so that’s really helpful. So that’s another visual way of communicating. Another way is actually well, combining visual and auditory, you know a video. I think this is a really good idea and often watch videos if there’s something technical. I think how do I do this? How do I how? I don’t know, empty my dishwasher of whatever it is. Or how do I put salt in? I don’t know where the user manual is, let me find a video.

00:31:42 Bina Champaneria: Maybe we’ve all been there, but you know this is visual and auditory. So, you watch you listen, that’s a great way of getting the information you can scroll back, pause it and so on. So, you’re in control of absorbing that information. Probably you find the right video and that kind of thing. So, we’re going through the VARK model, we’ve been talking about visual. We’re talking about auditory, another auditory one here, audio books. Favourite of mine, maybe some of you like audiobooks. Remember, this is also about how you absorb information. So auditory for me, I like that cause I can listen to an audio book or a podcast when I’m tidying up or whatever.

00:32:28 Bina Champaneria: However, I have to admit that if it’s a nonfiction book, for example or even a fiction, and mostly nonfiction is what I look at. I do like to have a hard copy of the book because then I feel like I can control the pace of it. You know I can stop when I want to go back and read, I can make notes I can highlight. So again, it’s about personal preferences and combining what works for you, yeah. So maybe if you need to send a message to somebody, you know you’ll record a voice message which they can listen to again. You might even follow up with an e-mail or a text message or something, you know. So, there are different options I’m not saying just use one. But think what would work best and what would that person like and what would you like, What’s your preference as well. So, with the VARK then we’ve learned about visual, auditory, and then we’ve got reading and writing. Sorry my mouse is disappeared, there we go. Reading and writing, maybe you prefer to make your own notes, you know. You get some information, and you might think, OK, I’m gonna digest this and make my own notes, you know, to understand it better, that’s entirely up to you. These are different ways of absorbing information.

00:33:44 Bina Champaneria: So, some of you in the poll did say that you preferred reading and like I said with the book, you know, it gives me time to slow down and read it as I want to kind of thing. And then the K from VARK is for kinaesthetic. Which is all about the senses, it’s about touching, feeling, hearing, smelling, tasting, all those kinds of things. Of course, what’s appropriate at that time. So, what we see in the picture here, we see a lady wearing a VR headset, virtual reality headset and then somebody had to go with this. And this is from a company called PMC and their VR headset is to do with the projects and experiences and so on. And but it’s that immersive experience, you know you want to communicate something to somebody, let them feel it. Let them see what it feels like, you know, let them explore it. And that’s where that’s kind of a kinaesthetic experience. And if I just refer back to the Green Bubbles project that I mentioned, which was about protecting marine protected areas, you know, recognising their value and so on.

00:34:52 Bina Champaneria: And my team developed a VR headset, which is a virtual experience of what it’s like to be underwater that anybody could use. And, you know, they kind of move around as if they’re in the in the water. They see marine life; they see the damage they can cause but that was a great way. To get the message across to people, to understand why it was important to protect that area, yeah. So, they felt they were immersed in it. So, that’s a very up and coming way of experiencing and I think quite a few of you said that you would prefer the experience of learning, of getting information. And maybe in your in your teams you know you use post it notes you physically tactile, you’re doing something, you’re working together as a team. So that’s more engaging kind of experience, I think.

00:35:43 Bina Champaneria: So that’s Vark that we’ve just learned about, Now I’m going to take Vark a little bit further and talk about audiences and needs. So, here for audience and needs in Vark, but I’ve put two new words in actually neurodiversity. It’s very prominent these days neuroscience, neurodiversity. You see a lot about it on LinkedIn, for example. What it what it’s about is that we need to ensure that whatever communication we use is suitable for the different ways of thinking, the different experiences, the different styles of communication that people prefer because we’re all wired differently, you know. So, we have to be to take into account diversity and inclusion.

00:36:331 Bina Champaneria: So, I picked dyslexia as an example to say, well what if we have to communicate to an audience that has dyslexia. For example, what do we need to think about? So, I just picked up a few things, for example and using Vark, for instance that you know, visuals things like flow charts and graphics are much more meaningful and more helpful in this circumstance. Listening is quite helpful if you were if they’re going to read something, then we have to think about the size of the font, the line spacing, the background, and that’s why I made my background cream because that’s more easier than a plain white background for instance. Writing yeah, give the ability to use a computer for example and then kinaesthetic as well. That’s using the senses is going to be more meaningful and probably easier to absorb the information, you know, to interpret it. For example, we’re tailoring our communication for neurodiversity and the example I’ve given is dyslexia, yeah.

00:37:45 Bina Champaneria: So maybe you know, you can think of other examples as well, but it’s just to say look, it’s not one-size-fits-all, it’s not just let’s send an e-mail to everybody. We have to really think about who is our audience, what are their needs, what can we do to make sure that everybody gets the information that they should, yeah and they can give feedback as well. So, we have to think of the audience. If anybody wants to add any more, any more comments or things in the chat, please feel free to do so. We’ll have a look at them at the end of the session, but you know it’s nice to, I’m open to your comments and suggestions definitely. OK, just try to get my mouse back in the place. So, think of your audience and that’s why I’m just gonna leave that there for a second. Think of the audience yeah, I quite like this image actually; you got a seagull who’s completely ignoring the sign that there’s no seagulls at all. So yeah, you still have to think of your audience.

00:38:48 Bina Champaneria: OK, so that’s the challenges, the methods, the terminology and what we’re going to look at now is the project management side of it. You know, how do we manage communication on projects now, you probably have heard or read that poor communication is a real factor that stops projects from being successful. Yeah, it’s a shame really you know, cause communication is what people do if we fall down on that and we develop great products and then all that kind of thing it the communication could let us down. So, I’m gonna pick up a couple of the approaches that I teach for example. So, PRINCE2 Agile focuses on communication, but it calls it rich communication. To me it’s rich, it’s got value, it’s going to be effective. So, it’s all about being effective, yes we’ve got good communication, but is it effective? Is it working properly? Is it doing the job? Do people understand it? and so on.

00:39:57 Bina Champaneria: So, we have to have effective communication and we have to plan for it. So, as it says there, if we’re working in an agile way, it’s not just gonna happen. We can’t just assume that everything’s gonna be right. We have to plan for it, we have to make it happen, we also have to have a behaviour of rich communication. So, what we also see from PRINCE2 Agile is that we need to have a communication management approach. You know but think about that, it’s like who are our stakeholders? Who do we need to communicate to, what the when, the how, the why and all that kind of thing clarify that on our approach. So, if we’re setting our project, we’re thinking upfront how we’re going to communicate and manage that throughout the project. And communication can also be well, workshops. You know, don’t think of it as always documents run workshops face to face communication. Use the appropriate channel, what’s right? that’s what you gotta think about. And important point there, communication is the oxygen a project needs to survive which makes it sound so essential that if we don’t have good communication everywhere things are going to go wrong, aren’t they really.

00:41:14 Bina Champaneria: So, it becomes the responsibility and the behaviour for everybody to make sure that communication is not forgotten, really. Moving to another approach, which is PRINCE2 and I’m now specifically referring to version 7, which I think it’s great that they put in a new chapter about people. Projects are about people you know, people communicate with each other so, and it’s also emphasising that it’s not just a case of here’s a message. I’ve sent it out, but we need to be listening as well. What are people saying? What questions that are they’re asking. So, its that two-way thing, it’s not just a case of send the e-mail and forget about it that we have to listen as well and just very briefly, the two circles at the bottom represent people in the organisation. You’ve got people on your project, and you’ve got people in the organisation. They have their own groups and their own kind of communication channels. But we need to make sure stakeholders, all the stakeholders, that that need to know that we’ve got relationships built so we can work together. And then we can communicate as well. So very much focused on the people side of things and I think that’s a really good addition because nothing will happen without people really, will it. So, we need to be aware of that.

00:42:45 Bina Champaneria: And the final method I’m going to talk about very briefly is Agile Project Management. Excuse me, I think I’ve got a frog in my throat. One second, I’m gonna have a quick sip of water. I don’t know how it got there, and I don’t know why they call it frog in the throat, but anyway. Alright so picked up a couple of things from AgilePM and one is a principle which says communicate continuously and clearly now that might sound obvious. Yes of course, you gotta communicate but is that consistency and continuously, you know. We might be really good at the start of the project, and you know be very meticulous and send all the information but that could filter out. You know, we forget and then it fizzles out and then nobody knows what’s going on. So, there’s that continuous and clearly, it’s a principle, it should run through the whole project.

00:43:43 Bina Champaneria: The other item I picked out is one of the one of the statements from that Agile Manifesto which really says you know, OK you can have brilliant processes, you can have great tools and things like that. But if your people don’t interact with each other, if you haven’t got the skills to the soft skills, communication skills and so on then you’re gonna lose something. So having the way people interact and communicate will add more value to your project than having a you know, a brilliant tool for instance.

00:44:17 Bina Champaneria: So, continuing with the theme of communication within a project, if we think about teams working together yeah, they want to have team communication. So, a way of getting their progress very quickly is by having something called a daily stand up or a daily scrum if they’re using scrum. And basically, they have a meeting the same time every day. So, let’s say 9:30 every morning, each person has two minutes to say these things. What have I done since the last stand-up meeting? What am I going to do next? Or reflecting back and forecasting forward and what problems am I having? So, if they do that, that’s a very, very quick way for the team to communicate their progress to themselves and know where the problems are and so on. You know, it’s not written documentation, it’s that quick straight to the point. Let’s just find out where we are so that’s a kind of a ritual, if you like, that the team can have. So maybe some of you are using Scrum, you know.

00:45:18 Bina Champaneria: Or the AgilePM yeah, we have stand ups. We have this so it’s very focused and great for the team, it’s their communication. So, about progress then you know, you might say, OK I’m going to write a progress report because people like reading and writing, and I might say, OK at the end of day one, this is what happened at the end of day two, we have problem. So, reading that I think Ok, I think I know what’s going on, but wouldn’t it be nicer? If you just got a diagram like this is what we call a burn down chart, yeah. And I put a happy face to say, look things are going really well and a sad face to say look, hit a problem there, cause that was our planned and actually we were there we hadn’t done as much work as we can so very quickly remember I was talking about. There’s less brain processing power needed when you look at a diagram like this, you can very quickly get the information that you need, so visualise things as much as you can. People are more likely to pick it up, understand it you know, look at it because it’s easy. We want people to have easy information, you know the process being easy and simplified as well.

00:46:40 Bina Champaneria: Other visuals that are used also in in Agile Project Management, for example known as information radiator, Big Visible chart user traffic light system. Maybe you’ve heard of some of these and maybe you’re using some kind of tools like JIRA for instance where you can get information like this. Again, it’s about making it clear, easy to see and that way people are more likely to look at it. So, you might need to be creative with how you display your information. You know colour coding it, some people call it the rag status. That again very quickly, you can capture the information. So, we’re reducing the noise, you know if we colour code we’re reducing the noise.

00:47:21 Bina Champaneria: We’re making it easier for the person interpreting that message to understand it that there’s no confusion we’re trying to reduce the confusion. And the another tool that the trial team can use is something called the Kanban board and I won’t go into too much detail about it and there’s a lot more behind Kanban on the board itself. But very quickly if I was to look at that I could see that OK, two things are being deployed. They’re working on these things, three things at the moment. Two things haven’t been started yet, so it’s a very, very quick way of looking at progress.

00:47:58 Bina Champaneria: And I personally use a Kanban board myself, to manage my to do list. And it’s great because very quickly I can say OK this is in progress. I finish now so I can move it along to the end for instance. So, it’s again visual, very quick access to information makes it easier. All right, I’m gonna ask you another poll question. The last poll question coming up actually, which you’ll see on the screen in a moment. Is if you’re working on projects. Which of the following do you do?

00:48:53 Bina Champaneria: OK good, good to see.

00:48:56 Bina Champaneria: The highest percentage, and I know the numbers are changing but the highest percentage seems to be that a lot of you have weekly or monthly progress meetings, yeah. So, you get together with your senior management and you talk about the progress on the project so far, every month, every week. So that’s kind of a time driven thing, you know every Friday we meet. Then we’ll meet next Friday, and so on. So, the majority of people are having that. Some people are sending regular progress reports to management and a slightly smaller number are enabling management to access project progress information when they want. So that’s quite interesting actually that there are people who are sharing the information when so people can access it when they want. So, I assume then that you’re probably using some kind of tool that let’s say the other stakeholders can access, great. So, I’m gonna close that poll, thank you for that, that’s good to see.

00:49:54 Bina Champaneria: And so, talking about sharing information, if you’re sending a report, you’re pushing the information. You know you’re the stakeholders, they’re waiting for you to deliver the information to them, so you’re in control really. You have to make sure it’s all ready so that you can push it to the people that need it. If you’re making the information available, then you’re allowing your stakeholders to pull the information as and when they needed it. So, you have to make sure it’s up to date, the right people got access to it to, what they need and the responsibility becomes theirs to get the information. A quick example I thought about really was, you know before we had the Internet and you wanted to know what your bank balance was, you probably had to wait for a letter to arrive in the post. Well now, you can just log in, you know into your account, securely and so on. And you can access that information wherever you want so you’ve got more control. So, that’s the difference between pulling and pushing information.

00:51:01 Bina Champaneria: I think well I like to pull information cause I like to see when I need to. But you have to make sure it’s up to date and the people you have to think about data security and all that kind of thing as well. All right, so just a quick summary slide of when you’re getting information together, you know who’s the audience. Why do they need it? Not everybody needs everything. What level of information do they need? Because if they get too much, they’re not going to find the thing that’s of interest to them. So, think about who needs it, do they need to do something about it? Do they need to give you some feedback or so on you know and timing as well. So, these are just some of the factors to consider and of course, what do you actually send them a picture, some text and that kind of thing.

00:51:55 Bina Champaneria: OK, so gonna go on to the last section, really which is about AI and data. Now I did say I’m not an expert in AI and data, but I am learning about it because I think I should do it’s here to stay, it’s already here. It’s been here since 1950s really and we are already using it. It’s gonna affect every single industry and every profession. And you maybe you’ve heard some of these terms, generative AI, natural language processing. This is a lot, I’m not gonna give you a lecture or anything on a I’m just saying you may have heard of some of these things, but I’m gonna tell you about somebody who does know a lot more about AI than I certainly do.

00:52:40 Bina Champaneria: And he wrote this book called AI, and the Project Manager way back in 2022. His name is Peter Taylor, maybe some of you know him. You may have heard of him, he’s a guru in the project management world. He’s a keynote speaker and I came across Peter about four years ago when I moved back to the UK, and I got to know him. I’ve never met him and got to know him and he was lucky because he became my mentor for a while when I moved back to the UK. So, I could sort of pick up on my career again and he was very, very helpful.

00:53:11 Bina Champaneria: And I was lucky that I got to contribute a little bit paragraph to this book on one of his other books, and he’s written so many books. But what he’s pointing out really is that we can’t go around with our eyes shut because project management is going to be disrupted. In fact, it already is being disrupted, you know and that at some point, these things like reports that we’ve been talking about. That sort of process is going to be fully automated, so AI could be delivering the right information to the right people at the right time and hopefully in the right way and also take into account people’s preferences and neurodiversity, yeah. That’s the human side we want AI to understand really. The other thing Peter says about data is OK, data is important but it’s gotta be, right? You know, garbage in equals garbage out. So, your data needs to be accurate, clean and all that kind of thing.

00:54:08 Bina Champaneria: And as project leaders, we need to understand data more. We need to sort of be a bit more literate on project data. So yeah, look up Peter Taylor, he’s written some really, really good books, and I think, you know writing this like two years ago was a very good move he made actually.

00:54:31 Bina Champaneria: I’m gonna skip this one because I think I’ll just go and just keeping an eye on the time as well. I’ll go on to the next one this is just you’ll find a lot of information on what people are thinking about AI online on LinkedIn. But I’m just going to just show you the PRINCE2 book again version 7, which as you can see, I’m a fan of now they’ve included something new, which I think again is brilliant inclusion. And they’ve included the fact that you need a digital and data management approach. So, on your projects, think about what technology you’re going to use, what data are you gonna use, how is it gonna be created? So, when you’re starting your project, you know you’re getting organised and that kind of thing. Think about this, build that into your project as you want to be able to manage communication. You want to be able to use data and you want to be able to use the tools that will help you with that process.

00:55:26 Bina Champaneria: OK, so let’s just have a quick visit of the agenda again, the kind of things I’ve gone through maybe quite quickly on some of the things, but just to remind you, communication, we looked at models and noise and how that could interrupt the message and the channels and whatever we’re doing to make the recipient not interpret the message properly. So, we have to try and reduce that noise. Talk about terminology, formality, and also the culture. Put your culture of the organisation. You know what language do we normally use? You know the formality and the terminology and sort of thing we have to be aware of that. The projects and communication management approach needs, we talked about Vark and neurodivergence. And then finally, automation for AI and data so those are the key takeaways.

00:56:19 Bina Champaneria: Which leaves me with one more slide, which I’m gonna go on to and then I’ll pass you over to Sevcan, which is really to say thank you very much for joining. So, we have cat say that they’re saying thank you in many different languages and we have a dog there with lots of words, new terminology that we’ve used. And I guess if it’s really stop raining cats and dogs and they’re all on their way home, yeah. Thank you very much, that’s the end of my slides. Sevcan over to you now.

00:56:51 Sevcan Yasa: Thank you so much, Bina really enjoyed that presentation and I hope everyone did as well. If you do have any questions, please pop them in the chat I’m going to share a survey. So, while we wait for people to have some questions, can you please fill out the surveys very short. And it would actually help us a lot in our future webinars. So, does anyone have any questions?

00:57:38 Bina Champaneria: Yeah, please feel free to ask your questions, just looking at What you say? In the USA we call that the telephone tree. Yeah. OK. I’m not sure which you’re referring to, but you’ve got, so you’re familiar with yeah okay. I think you’re referring to an idiom. I think somebody asked about the survey, the results of the survey. Let me just find that question.

00:58:15 Sevcan Yasa: Ohh, probably missed that out.

00:58:21 Bina Champaneria: I think it was something that I was referring to in the slides and I think we wanted to know where did the information come from, I think just trying to find that question. So, some people had some connection issues and I think you had to sort of log out and log back in again. So that’s a shame, but hopefully you’ll get access to that. They’ll be able to get access to the recording.

00:58:53 Sevcan Yasa: Yep, I know Rachel couldn’t join, so I already emailed her actually. So, if she does have any questions I will forward it over to you.

00:59:03 Bina Champaneria: Yeah, and it’s great that Louise, you told me where the raining cats and dogs comes in. I thought another one barking up the wrong tree, I mean you know quite a lot about dogs isn’t there really? What else have we got?

00:59:21 Sevcan Yasa: So just a quick reminder for everyone the webinar is recorded, you will receive it most probably beginning of next week. You would also receive the slides.

00:59:40 Bina Champaneria: Yeah, and Louise you ask a good question, any tips on measuring or assessing how effective communication has been on a project? I think you’ve just gotta you could do a test to see well, OK we’ve sent a message. How many people have responded to it? Why have some people not responded to it if they have responded? Did they get their message? I think it’d be good to do a test because there could be so much communication going on. So, you might think well, is it because we’re sending it in the wrong the structure is wrong, the format is wrong maybe. Or maybe you could ask and say, OK what do what do people prefer people not reading messages?

01:00:16 Bina Champaneria: Because, you know they prefer a conversation, for example you know what are the preferences? So would be good to understand the stakeholder’s requirements I think to get people to look on a project. I don’t know if you if you think that’s a reasonable thing to suggest Louise, please feel free to or if anybody else has any questions, yeah sorry any suggestions. Can you talk about effective communication has been on a project, it could depend on the message that the particular message some messages might be more effective and that people got them, some might not, where they’re too complicated. You know there’s different factors I think that affect it really. Yeah, is that OK Louise? thank you. Have anybody else got any suggestions or you’ve done something yourself and think ohh, you know we did this survey.

01:01:13 Bina Champaneria: The questioning how to convey the message to the management that projects take much longer than the expectation when they don’t want to know the details of PM’s approach we are using. Yeah, yeah that’s a difficult one because when you said they don’t want to know the details of the PM approach you’re using. So, you know if you’re using agile or something else, maybe they’re not interested in that, which is a shame because and I don’t know if you are using agile for instance.

01:01:39 Bina Champaneria: But let’s say you’re using agile and as a PM you want to do all the things that agile suggest. That your organisation also has to adopt that agile mindset to support the project. There has to be that understanding that you know you’re doing things this way and they have to also buy in. So, I think that is difficult if they when you say they don’t want to know the details of the PM approach we are using. OK, they might not be interested in the approach, but what information is important to them? Are they involved in you know checking that the business case is still valid, are they involved in the requirements defining the requirements for the project? So, it’s also about the responsibility that they have. So, I think it’s quite a big question, broad question you’re asking.

01:02:34 Bina Champaneria: Yeah, that’s fine as long as it as long as you’ve got a method that works. It could be a combination of things, but also what is the responsibility of the organisation? And you said that they think it takes longer. Well, what is taking the long time? Is it because they’re not responding? Is it because you’re waiting for decisions from them? Is it that they’re trying to make something that’s too perfect, you know? They want too many requirements and not prioritising it could be a number of factors really. You know behind why they think it’s taking too long to be honest. I think it’s not a simple answer, you’d have to sort of really investigate.

01:03:15 Bina Champaneria: Why they don’t want to know and what is actually taking long? Good question though, thank you for that. I don’t know if there are any other questions at the moment.

01:03:30 Sevcan Yasa: You’ve just received another one right at the bottom.

01:03:34 Bina Champaneria: How to deal with conflicting messages on a project? The PM is telling us one thing and some managers are telling us something else. Well, the PM is telling us one thing, so I take it you’re in a team and you’re getting information from the project manager. But then he says, some managers who are these other managers and you know what, why are they communicating to you if you know direct contact is a project manager. You know that’s like you’re getting conflicting pieces of information. One from the PM who I assume is the one giving you the work. But who are these the managers and why are they involved? I don’t know what their role is and why they’re involved.

01:04:21 Bina Champaneria: Are these senior managers telling the team managers what to do when really should they be the project manager. That’s sort of the link between if you’re a team manager and senior management. I think it sounds like probably need to revisit the team structure and the roles and responsibilities and say, you know what is the role and responsibility of the senior management. You know, what’s the responsibility of the project manager so they know where their boundaries are. You don’t want to be micromanaged; you want to be able to get on with the work. So, it sounds like senior management are kind of bypassing the project manager in this case. Are not letting the project manager handle the teams if you like.

01:05:13 Bina Champaneria: Yeah.

01:05:15 Bina Champaneria: I think it’s about defining roles and responsibilities. Who’s involved? What is their responsibility? Who should be? You can have people outside of the project, you know who are interested in the project, but who is actually running the project? Who’s got that say, that’s something that needs to be. I would look at the team structure and see which of the roles and responsibilities, draw pictures show people that this is a team structure and define the roles and responsibilities. I don’t know if that’s possible to do, but it sounds like it’s needed because you’ve got communication coming from too many different sources.

01:05:58 Bina Champaneria: Alright, thank you.

01:06:01 Sevcan Yasa: Does anyone have anymore questions?

01:06:11 Bina Champaneria: I think that was the last one actually.

01:06:14 Bina Champaneria: Yeah, thank you.

01:06:17 Bina Champaneria: So many questions, sorry I just wanna say thank you for the questions and the comments. I really appreciate that, thank you.

01:06:23 Sevcan Yasa: Thank you everyone for joining another reminder the webinar recording and the slides will be out next week. So, you are free to leave, thank you so much for this survey.

01:06:46 Sevcan Yasa: So, thank you very much everyone and hope to see you in our next webinar.

01:06:51 Bina Champaneria: Thank you, everybody.

01:06:53 Sevcan Yasa: Thank you, bye.

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