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The need for face-to-face contact

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The benefit of communicating face-to-face was the one piece of advice offered unanimously by the finalists at this year’s APM Awards

Wouldn’t it be great if you could spend 45 minutes talking to four of the best project professionals in the UK every year? What is their secret to success? How do they handle stakeholders, risks, issues, planning and everything else? Can we bottle their achievements?

As one of the APM Awards judges, I get to do just this by quizzing our industry’s brightest stars. After the initial round, the four finalists are invited to present, enabling the judges to gain much greater insight into their achievements.

All of the finalists mentioned the same recommendation when asked about their secrets of success. They weren’t prompted and they were not in the room at the same time, but they all listed the same thing as part of their answer.

So what was it that all of the finalists cited as a key driver to their project successes? This is a tech-savvy group, and the answer may not be what you expect. They all pointed to the need for face-to-face contact. Get out from behind your desk. Stop emailing. Go and talk to stakeholders directly.

There is a practical consideration here and, of course, all of the finalists make use of tools such as Skype for Business, but they all emphasised the importance of meeting face-to-face in order to build and maintain good working relationships.

So, have a think. Who is your most difficult team member, customer or supplier? Get out from behind your laptop and go and meet them. Go on. I dare you.


This blog first appeared as an article in the Winter edition of Project Journal.


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  1. abroadstudy thomas
    abroadstudy thomas 19 December 2016, 10:59 AM

    In this blog we have to get the idea about face to face communication. the face to face communication have a more benefits.we have to communicate more in the required time period.thanks for sharing this abroad

  2. Helen Garcia
    Helen Garcia 19 December 2016, 11:19 AM

    Great piece of advice for PMs! I started to put this into play about 3-4 years ago now when working with some challenging stakeholders, mainly due to them being let down previously and not having honest f2f conversations. Now I face the challenge of 70% of my project team being global and I am trying to explain to them, and learn myself, about communication and how we can achieve this as a global team to enhance our relationships without always having that ability to communicate f2f. Any advice on this is always welcome.

  3. Sarah Neale
    Sarah Neale 20 December 2016, 09:38 AM

    Many thanks for this. I find getting up from my desk and having a face to face conversation can iron out any misunderstandings that are breeding due to long email threads where things can often be unclear. I hope you don't mind, I have linked to this article on my website.

  4. Richard Renshaw
    Richard Renshaw 07 February 2017, 08:22 AM

    @ Helen, in respect of remote working consider to reflect on the following and then adapt. Take the "randomness" out of communication. Plan your connections. Use data to drive performance. Find opportunities for personal interactions. Set aside time (and budget) for the team to meet in person. Build a mentor support network. Be flexible Source I hope this is of help. Richard Sunny Riyadh