ABZ’s of Communication for PMs and Techies… M: The four M’s of Messages

With communication accounting for over 80% of a project manager’s time, the importance of — GOOD communication cannot be overemphasized.  Good projects begin with good communication!

M = The four M’s of Messagesmessage

Marketing has three M’s, real estate has 3L’s (location, location, location!) and Messages have 4M’s:

  • Meaning
  • Medium
  • Modality
  • Motivation


Ensure that the content of every message you communicate conveys the meaning you intend to convey.  Double check that what you say in the message as understood by the receiver is the same as what you intended.  How can you do this?  Two ways are to use feedback (see the “F” posting) and active listening (see the “L” posting).  Communication is a two-way street and depends on both the sender sending the right message and the receiver decoding it to get the right meaning.


Based on the three styles of learning (see L posting: Learning styles) and the rule of three (it takes three exposures to a new concept before listeners begin to really hear the message), it is important to use more than one medium or way to communicate your message. This is especially true if you are communicating a new corporate concept or something where you need to move your audience to action.  To gain momentum, communicate the same message using a variety of media such as:  email (visual), meetings (auditory and kinesthetic), presentations (visual and auditory), newsletters (visual), informal discussions, etc.  Consistency of your message across the various forms is key!


This is the frequency with which you communicate the message.  For new concepts make sure to communicate the message often with at least three exposures.  If it is a long-term concept or initiative (such as a process change at work) that you are communicating, it is important to continue to communicate both the concepts and the progress of the initiative throughout the project.


Motivation answers the question: why are you delivering the message? Undoubtedly you know why you are doing the communicating but does your audience?  Normally we don’t give this much thought, but your own motivation behind what you communicate can be a critical success factor.  If your goal is to communicate honestly and openly with your audience then this will become part of the unspoken message that is delivered. If, instead your motivation is clouded with ego and pomposity, then that will come through in your delivery. Ensure that your motivation is sincere, and if it is not, perhaps you are not the person best suited to deliver the message.

Try to keep the 4M’s of messages in mind when you communicate – meaning, medium, modality and motivation are keys to success!

To your successful projects!


Carol Dekkers
email: dekkers@qualityplustech.com

For more information on northernSCOPE(TM) visit www.fisma.fi (in English pages) and for upcoming training in Tampa, Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Helsinki and other locations in 2010, visit www.qualityplustech.com.
=======Copyright 2010, Carol Dekkers ALL RIGHTS RESERVED =======


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