Turkey, stuffing, and pie are Thanksgiving staples, but communication? It turns out that good communication channels are crucial to putting on a first-rate holiday event. Here we’ll look at the strategies Thanksgiving planners use and how they jive with good project management.

Providing comprehensive information. Simply asking who’s bringing a side dish isn’t enough—you might end up with 5 bowls of stuffing and no candied yams. Keeping everyone informed on who’s responsible for what will prevent conflicts or oversights, and will also help to ensure things go smoothly.

Remembering the details. Do people need to bring serving dishes with them? Should you coordinate carpools to avoid parking problems? Will pet allergies prevent your cousins from bringing their new puppy? Most projects have one or two primary objectives, but it’s important to communicate with stakeholders about all the details that support your overall purpose.

Engaging the right people. Does your aunt make terrific homemade buttermilk rolls? Will you need the folding chairs out of your cousin’s basement? Remember to include them in your communications and confirm their plans to attend. Just like any project, involving key stakeholders is critical to success.

Good timing. You’ll get better results if people know the when, where, and what-to-bring of your Thanksgiving party long before the holiday arrives. To avoid panic mode on your part as well as theirs, contact potential guests early so they can make travel arrangements, gather ingredients, or send their regrets. It’s a principle you should apply to every project.

Encourage a two-way dialogue. There’s always a chance you’ve forgotten something. Kid-friendly movies? Extra take-home containers? As with any other project, it’s helpful to ask for input. And solicit ideas while you’re at it—someone may have learned a new trick that will take your project to a new level.

Thanksgiving lessons
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