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Communication and Metal

I have been doing the initial start-up work on a forthcoming Metal Construction News article on the ordering of bent metal panels, and why the successful communication between buyer and seller is so important. I've been doing a lot of communicating with companies on this topic to learn more about the communication process that's involved here.

Basically, each seller's order must be customized to the clients' needs and specifications, and precise communication is key. Sellers want to ensure that materials are not getting wasted, as well as help their clients get the best value for their money. Once clients have determined the specific needs of their project, orders must be communicated that meet the size and profile that they need. Specifically, size and angle specifications, as well as how and where the panel will be used to make the best determination of what amount of material is needed.

Again, effective communication is requisite, and to a greater extent, it's key to the success of a construction project. Many project failures - big or small, construction-related or not - result from communication breakdowns. Effective communication aims to understand the exact meaning and intent of others, to be understood by others, to gain acceptance for yourself or your ideas (or both) and to practice action or change.

Communication can be divided into six categories: listening, self-presentation, problem-solving, decision-making, negotiating and conflict management. Listening "between the words" (similar to "reading between the lines") helps us to identify problems in negotiating effectively, resolving conflict, making decisions and helps in problem solving.

Why do projects fail? Lack of trust and the resulting lack of communication can be a factor. Conversely, as the level of trust increases, the level of communication rises, and the chances for success improve. This is true for something as mundane as ordering metal panels, or as elaborate as designing and constructing a building. Trust can take months or years to build, and minutes to lose.

How successful are your communication skills, but verbal and written? How much do you talk versus how much do you listen? Successful people ask questions and learn about new opportunities. You'd be amazed at the things you can learn without saying a word.


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