Being a newlywed, I receive a lot of advice from friends, coworkers, family, and even complete strangers. Usually, the advice comes whether I want it or not. However, of all the advice I’ve received, the phrase that has stuck with me the most is, “communication is key.” Having been married now for almost a year, I can’t express how valuable that advice is, and will continue to be, throughout our lives together. If you can’t communicate with those closest to you, how can you expect to be successful in a world where communication truly is….key.
I recently attended a seminar focused on project management, where among many things, we discussed communication skills. Something that really stuck out to me was a video clip from the movie, “The Blindside.” In the clip, NFL star-tackle, Michael Oher, was at high school football practice. At 6’ 4” and 315lbs, Michael was built to play football. However, coming from a rough home life, he never had the opportunity to play the sport, until now. Leigh Anne, played by Sandra Bullock, is a successful business woman from the suburbs, who sort of “adopts” Michael off the streets and into her family. During this particular practice, Michael, who on the inside is soft as a teddy bear, refuses to tackle anyone. Despite his coach’s screams of frustration and disapproval, the quarterback continues to get sacked. Unable to sit back and watch, Leigh Ann trots out onto the field, and explains to Michael his role on the team in a context he understands. She explains to him that the quarter back is just as much a part of his family as she is, and that he must do everything he can to protect “his family.” When the coach blows his whistle to resume practice, Michael is a different man- a freight train ready to run over anyone who tries to come in between him and his “family.”
One exciting element of being a project manager is communicating with so many different types of people. Between managers, designers, and programmers - each have different backgrounds and different ways of communicating. I also deal heavily with the client relation side of things. Each client I work with also has a different way of thinking and expressing themselves. Something I always have to keep in mind when communicating with co-workers or clients is: there are many different ways to communicate, and maybe the way that I am prone to, isn’t the way a particular client or co-worker is comfortable or familiar with.
This seminar has caused me to think outside the box, and to explore new ways of communicating verbally and nonverbally. It has opened my eyes and my mind to the many different styles of communication out there, which is helping me to become a better manager, co-worker and employee.