Tips for communicating on a construction site

Communicating on a construction site is not easy. The noise level is usually pretty high, there is a constant pressure to get things done fast. There is also a constant watching out for physical danger that takes up people’s attention.

Here are a few pointers to help get your message across when you need to.

Take a moment to think through what you are going to say

Sounds simple, but think about what you have to say and use the least amount of words possible. If you want your message to be understood and remembered clearly, don’t mix it in with chit-chat that may trigger a bunch of unnecessary thoughts in the other person’s mind. Chit-chat is for breaks. You want to deliver your message so it is easy to understand and to remember.

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes

Really good communication has an element of empathy. Take a few seconds to understand what that person’s duties are, and what they are currently going through at the moment you communicate with them. The more you are able to understand about another person’s situation, the more your brain will naturally shape your information for them to better be able to receive it, which increases the chances of getting your message across.

Respond quickly

People who respond quickly to your verbal requests, texts emails or phone calls don’t do this just because they are keeners or have nothing better to do. In fact, they are (consciously or not) strengthening the communication by leveraging its freshness.

If you respond to an email, text or verbal request as soon as you get it, you are reinforcing the communication because

  1. All the nuances of what the other person said are fresh in both your heads, which reduces confusion and misunderstandings.
  2. You are reinforcing both the question and the answer together in your head, which is easier to remember.
  3. You don’t have to carry it around in your thoughts as something that isn’t done. The more you accumulate of those thoughts, the more tiring it becomes, and the more you risk forgetting them completely.

Communicate in advance and in writing

Giving as much advance notice on things as you can, makes you look professional and makes everyone’s life easier. For example, if you find out about a doctor’s appointment or some family matter that has to be taken care of which will cause you to be absent on a specific day, immediately email or text the people who are affected by it. This would of course be your immediate supervisor, but also anyone one else you would have been working with at the time, such as a co-worker or a subcontractor. This way, if it affects someone, they have time to make alternate plans. If they object to your absence, it at least allows time to work out a compromise.

Putting it in writing also guarantees that no one will come back to you and say “you never told me!” Ideally, a second reminder the day before your planned absence is best, as they may have forgotten that you wrote to them!

Have informal conversation before and after working hours

A good time for communicating with associates is before and after the regular workday. This allows you to discuss issues that have come to light or that need to be addressed for the next day in a more relaxed way, outside the pressures and potential dangers onsite during work hours. The people you speak to will likely be much more receptive to new information or requests. This helps resolve issues more easily and get the job done more effectively.

Communicating on a construction site isn’t always simple, so give these tips a try. See if they improve your ability to get your message across.

As always, contact us if you have any questions about TRIFORCE® open joist!

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