Welcome back. We've talked a lot about understanding your stakeholders and your team so that you can balance their needs and maintain a clear focus on your project objectives. A big part of that is building good relationships with the people you're working with. How do you do that? Two words: clear communication. Now we're going to learn about the importance of clear communication with your stakeholders and team members. Start thinking about who you want to communicate with and when. First, it might help to think about communication challenges you might already experience in your daily life. Have you ever been in the middle of telling a really funny joke only to find out your friend already knows the punchline? Or maybe they just didn't get what was funny about it? This happens all the time, especially if you don't know your audience. This kind of thing can happen at the workplace too. Here's the secret to effective communication. Before you put together a presentation, send an e-mail, or even tell that hilarious joke to your co-worker, think about who your audience is, what they already know, what they need to know and how you can communicate that effectively to them. When you start by thinking about your audience, they'll know it and appreciate the time you took to consider them and their needs. Let's say you're working on a big project, analyzing annual sales data, and you discover that all of the online sales data is missing. This could affect your whole team and significantly delay the project. By thinking through these four questions, you can map out the best way to communicate across your team about this problem. First, you'll need to think about who your audience is. In this case, you'll want to connect with other data analysts working on the project, as well as your project manager and eventually the VP of sales, who is your stakeholder. Next up, you'll think through what this group already knows. The other data analysts working on this project know all the details about which data-set you are using already, and your project manager knows the timeline you're working towards. Finally, the VP of sales knows the high-level goals of the project. Then you'll ask yourself what they need to know to move forward. Your fellow data analysts need to know the details of where you have tried so far and any potential solutions you've come up with. Your project manager would need to know the different teams that could be affected and the implications for the project, especially if this problem changes the timeline. Finally, the VP of sales will need to know that there is a potential issue that would delay or affect the project. Now that you've decided who needs to know what, you can choose the best way to communicate with them. Instead of a long, worried e-mail which could lead to lots back and forth, you decide to quickly book in a meeting with your project manager and fellow analysts. In the meeting, you let the team know about the missing online sales data and give them more background info. Together, you discuss how this impacts other parts of the project. As a team, you come up with a plan and update the project timeline if needed. In this case, the VP of sales didn't need to be invited to your meeting, but would appreciate an e-mail update if there were changes to the timeline which your project manager might send along herself. When you communicate thoughtfully and think about your audience first, you'll build better relationships and trust with your team members and stakeholders. That's important because those relationships are key to the project's success and your own too. When you're getting ready to send an e-mail, organize some meeting, or put together a presentation, think about who your audience is, what they already know, what they need to know and how you can communicate that effectively to them. Next up, we'll talk more about communicating at work and you'll learn some useful tips to make sure you get your message across clearly.