The Five R’s of Effective Communication

The following blog post is provided by Cathy McPhail, BA, PMP, Cert.APM, Senior Consultant within our consulting division. 

Communication is the “successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings” (Oxford Dictionary) and ineffective communication is one of the most frequently cited reasons for projects falling short of their goals (PMI Pulse of the Profession Report Series).

The value of effective communications is not limited to projects, it is also extremely important to businesses and other organizations. Effective communication has been described as, “the lifeblood of business”,a building block of successful organizations”, and “the best opportunity to make an outstanding first impression”, among others. A report from Accenture in 2013 found the top priority for high-performing CIOs is providing the right information to the right person at the right time. In my experience, right format and right feedback also play a role in effective communications. Below are a few thoughts on each of the five R’s. Hopefully they will inspire you to increase the effectiveness of communications in your organization.

Right information – Effective communication is much more than the distribution of information. The key element is knowing what information will enable individuals to do their job or fulfil their role better and to ensure that is the information they get.

Right Person – The formula, N*(N-1)/2 (where N is the number of people in a team or organization), illustrates how even a small team or organization has multiple communication channels and typically they do not all need or want the same level and type of communication. A well thought out communication matrix, vetted by the individuals in the matrix, can help.

Right time – Obviously, having the right information in the hands of the right people in enough time for it to enhance decision making is extremely important. It can also be useful to stay in touch with what is going on throughout your organization or business environment so you can judge when communications are most likely to get the attention they need. If a colleague or department is faced with a looming deadline an interruption in the middle of the work day may be unwelcome and ignored. Some individuals like to catch up with emails after office hours, others do not. Marketing research has found that email open rates are higher earlier in the week and later in the day and reply rates are highest in the evening. But as each organizational culture is unique, there is no substitute for knowing your own work environment.

Right format – At MRSB Consulting we are making a conscious effort to practice ‘thoughtful reporting’. We realize our clients are busy people with a lot of demands on their time and attention. It is our job to reduce the quantity of text in the reports we prepare for them while enhancing quality analysis and readability with descriptive headings and impactful visuals. An effective communicator must continually consider the best match between the content of the communication and the needs and preferences of those he/she is communicating with. For example, email and group meetings are not suitable for sensitive topics and face-to-face meetings are probably not required to change the date and time of a meeting.

Right feedback – And finally, effective communication is not a one way street. The best communicators structure opportunities to provide feedback and watch for and respond appropriately to that feedback.

If you would like to provide feedback or share other R’s of effective communications, please email me at

MRSB and DFK Canada support Fort McMurray

We all have a family member or friend impacted by the devastating fires that took place in Fort McMurray, Alberta earlier this month. We are very pleased to have been able to join with our DFK Canada colleagues in making a donation to the Canadian Red Cross to help local residents and families get back on their feet. Our thoughts and best wishes are with Alberta at this difficult time.

You've graduated! Welcome to the real world!

At MRSB, we see the value of hiring new graduates. Our HR Manager, Kathryn Mills shares some quick thoughts on things for new graduates entering the workforce to keep in mind.


So you just graduated? An exciting accomplishment for you, a proud moment for family and friends, and the next step for you as you either continue with your education or start your business career.

From an employer’s, and more specifically a Human Resource Manager’s perspective, it is welcoming to witness the energy from new graduates seeking employment, but I also wanted to share some general words of wisdom to help you on your quest:

  1. Be yourself - don’t  go out of your way to impress. Be polite and professional.
  2. Take pride in your appearance – regardless if you are going to an interview, or going to your job. Make sure your outfit for the day is clean, not wrinkled, not too revealing, and plan what you are going to wear the night before to save time in the morning. Ladies – make sure your hair and makeup is appropriate for work as opposed to an evening out. Gentlemen - clean shaven or facial hair well manicured.
  3. Be on time and plan to be at your destination at least 15 minutes early - set your alarm clock ahead to allow additional time for any unforeseen things that might make you late such as traffic, parking, construction, or a line up while you pick up your morning coffee.
  4. When at work, leave all your personal matters such phone calls, texts, e-mails for your breaks and lunch. Multitasking at work is great, as long as it is work related.
  5. At the outset, learn as much as you can about your place of business, and ask questions to find out more. Your understanding of the business will help you in your role.
  6. Be flexible in your work hours whenever possible – be willing to work extra shifts if asked and be willing to stay later if necessary in order to meet a deadline.
  7. Be prepared – to share your ideas, to attend and participate in meetings, to volunteer at events or in the community and to do things outside of your “job description”.

Congratulations on this major milestone. You have no doubt worked very hard for graduation to finally happen and hopefully the best is yet to come!

Welcome to the business world!