Communication tips for architects

Helpful tips for writing or speaking about your completed work

What you communicate and how you communicate is crucial when writing or speaking about your completed work.

You will find these tips helpful when:
– writing project descriptions, bid documents and award submissions;
– speaking to potential clients and presenting your work; and,
– promoting your project to the media.

What to communicate?

Following the prompts below, use no more than three or four sentences for each.

The Brief
Give a high-level summary of the project by describing the project and reflecting on the brief.

Your Role
What was your practice’s role in the project? What services did the practice provide? For example, did you do architecture, interior design, urban design or landscape architecture? Was the project a refurbishment or a new build?

What were the project’s challenges, and how did you overcome them? Choose one or two major challenges – for example a difficult site, or multiple competing stakeholders – and explain how you prevailed in delivering on the brief. This will demonstrate your design expertise.

If there were any innovations, describe them.

Describing your work’s beneficial impact on how people use or experience the project is the most compelling way to communicate the value of your role as an architect.

What were the benefits to the clients, users or stakeholders? These could be social, fiscal, cultural or environmental. Use data where possible. Statistics are a concrete way to communicate positive outcomes (for example, library users increased by 30%, energy costs are down 15%).

Always collect anecdotal data from clients, users or stakeholders about your project’s impact. Examples could be how the adaptive reuse of a school hall has provided for a new indoor all-year-round sports program for students or how the design of a research institute allows for greater collaboration between scientists.

How to communicate?

Remember to use these communication methods when writing and speaking about your work.

  1. Be explicit: Say it straight.
  1. Be clear: Minimise jargon by using everyday language and short sentences.
  1. Be concise: Use fewer messages and words to help people absorb and remember. Too much detail can be confusing and overwhelming.
  1. Be compelling: Show excitement for the project; and warmth and humility towards the audience.
  1. Be confident: Otherwise, you run the risk of sounding unsure of the quality of your own work.

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