Communication plays an integral role in all facets of life, and is at the heart of every business. There is an abundance of evidence and expert opinion demonstrating that a major cause of client dissatisfaction stems from inadequate information exchange between designer and client. For a practice to be successful, it is crucial that there is effective communication with both internal and external stakeholders.
Yet, history has shown that many practitioners have trouble communicating with their clients, which can consequentially result in a breakdown of the relationship. Most typical small-practice architects believe that their communication skills could be enhanced. Nevertheless, they are unlikely to engage professionals to help them improve.
Most of us correlate good communication skills with talking – and talk we do. But, effective communication requires “active” listening as well as speaking. And whilst we listen, it is effective to use both verbal and non-verbal forms to portray our unreserved attention.
There are a number of specific actions a practice can take which will significantly improve its ability to communicate. For example: “DON’T ANSWER YOUR OWN QUESTIONS. Unless the only reason for asking was to hear yourself talk”.
To read the rest of the list, turn to chapter 9.2 of Managing Quality in Architecture, 2nd Edition. You can order my book from any good online bookstore. Book Depository offers a good discount as well as free shipping worldwide.
Charles Nelson AIA, LFRAIA, AECPM
14 August 2018