Contributed by Valerie Bean (Pickering, ON)
IN THE DECADE THAT I WORKED on contract as a technical writer in the banking, investment, and pharmaceutical industries, every project I worked on started the same and most ended the same. Each one started on a high note and ended with grumpy, tired, frustrated contractors high-tailing it for the door.
Essentially, this is how it went: Writers were hired to document processes, policy, or procedures for a project. They are optimistic and happy to be working. The group was quickly introduced to staff and subject matter experts, who were relieved to be rid of extra work, even if that meant working with pedantic folks who asked too many questions and seemed to watch their every move.
There was project kick-off and gleeful promises by management of imminent success.
Before long, timelines changed and kept changing. They compressed, they expanded. It was tough to keep up. Frantic days passed and inevitably communication lagged. Soon, the team fractured, alliances formed, and morale dipped. Eventually, productivity crashed.
From this corporate perspective, lack of communication in a project can impair its success and kill team spirit. It may even maim confidence in management’s ability to do its job.
Poor communication can have similar troubling effects on a hockey team, too.
Most coaches would agree that it is difficult to maintain a high level of communication throughout the season. If integrated with coaching philosophy, a simple communications plan for off-ice activities can help take a team through the inevitable mid-season down-turn.
Effective communication doesn’t mean complex, or complicated, it just means regular team communication, so that everyone feels part of the team.
This might include regular parent budget and fundraising meetings, prompt scheduling updates, emails and/or phone calls for last-minute items. Keeping parents up-to-date helps lessen concerns about being left of the loop.
If the team’s coaching and management staff doesn’t have someone that communications well, ask for parent volunteers to take on the role, or to assist.
Put the call out. On any team, you’ll find at least one interested parent with propensity for writing, for communicating with a group, or to act as scribe at meetings. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a couple of parents willing to share these duties.
If you think you fit the bill, offer your services.
The coaching staff will appreciate the extra help and your team will benefit from your participation. Who knows, you may even enjoy it!