There are two significant stages of team building. The first is to form a rockstar team. Our practicum project here at the MSBA program of UC Davis has given me a team full of individuals willing to learn and grow together. The second task that matters to most, at least in the professional world, is communication with the client.
At the time of the article’s writing, we have had a combined total of 8 sessions with our professors on what is required to have a good practicum project deliverable. The overarching theme of the sessions has been client communication. It does not matter how good our accomplishments are if we cannot communicate them to our clients. We have seen time and again in the different case studies that we read that one of the biggest problems that come up is communication. The situation has further exasperated by the fact that the team is comprised of students from various countries with different cultures. As a result, each one of us has a different way to approach the project and even more so varied ways to communicate to the client. This leads to multiple issues:
1. It is hard to maintain homogenous communication. i.e., the client should not feel like multiple people with differing styles communicate with them at regular intervals.
2. We have to keep in mind whom our audience is while making presentations. We have five people from KQED attending the presentations at our regular weekly meetings. So we need to make sure our presentation (and hence, our communication) should be focused on the most important person. Somebody can take our suggestions and have the responsibility and authority to implement them.
3. Lastly, we need to make sure that our quarterly reports are informative, descriptive, and easy to read, all at the same time.
We, as a team, have developed multiple strategies to tackle the issue. First, we make sure that only a person contacts the KQED team at all times. This makes sure that the style of communication remains consistent throughout. We meet as a team for any important messages on what to communicate and to whom. Then the person in charge of the communication will contact the MSBA industry partners (MIPs), KQED in our case.
We make sure that the whole team sits down and discusses what needs to go in each week’s presentation. We decide what to put on each slide, and any pertinent information or questions that we need to ask the MIPs are decided in advance. This helps prepare for any questions or concerns that may arise during our presentation with the client.
At the end of every quarter, we try to prepare a detailed report with inputs from every team member. In addition, we assign one member as the editor, who considers the report’s overall tone and mesh it into a cohesive report.
In the end, my time in the MSBA program has taught me the importance of communication with clients and how to change or mold our method of communication-based on who the client is and tailor it accordingly.