Successfully managing a project from start to finish is no small feat. Project managers need to take a number of things into perspective and ace their communication strategy. Scheduling, time management and the negotiations with internal and external stakeholders linked with the project are all critical requirements that require good communication skills. Additionally, leadership, critical thinking and risk management also rank high on the list of tasks that need decent communication skills.
Without the presence of strong communication skills, project managers wouldn’t be able to effectively manage their teams and coordinate their efforts for the progress and success of the project.
In this article, we take a detailed look at the importance and type of communication required in project management, along with what project managers should do to communicate properly in projects.
Importance of Effective Communication
Project managers take on a number of roles and responsibilities as part of their day-to-day jobs. However, at its very core, a project manager’s job is primarily about coordinating the work and efforts of everyone on the project and ensuring that the shared objectives are achieved in a timely manner. This requires a project manager to be skilled and experienced in coordination and communication.
“Communication is the most important aspect in project management because what project managers do a majority of the time is communicate to coordinate efforts,” believes Sarmann Kennedyd, an assistant teaching professor in Northeastern’s Master of Science in Project Management program. “To coordinate efforts, they have to gather a lot of information and disseminate it across all teams involved with the project,” he further added.
Without the presence of an effective communication strategy, it is possible for project instructions to be misinterpreted and for teams to not manage their work in the manner required.
Top Communication Skills for Project Managers
There are certain skills that allow project managers to communicate effectively. These skills include:
This might confuse a few – the very first communication skill we have chosen is that of active listening. Two-way communication, especially in a project, is based more on listening than speaking. The ability of project managers to listen to others and understand what they have said gives them an edge over everyone else.
For starters, project managers should be able to listen to words and interpret the meaning behind them. Additionally, they shouldn’t interrupt others when they’re speaking and shouldn’t let their minds wander away. Asking questions to check and observe the non-verbal signals given by the other person can also clear perspectives.
Building Relationships on Respect and Trust
Trust and respect are the cornerstones of every personal relationship. These attributes are earned and not just given. Project managers will get the trust and respect they desire if they come from an experience of integrity, honesty and expertise.
The characteristics people should use to define your characteristics should include openness, truthfulness, consistency, willingness to talk about and bring up ideas, loyalty, competence, and reliability.
In third spot on this list is the ability of a project manager to convey their priorities and strategies to all members. This is done by giving everyone an understanding of the role they play in the organization and where they should step in when the time comes. In a collaborative environment, your team members require support and facilities rather than just blatant criticism.
Team members in a collaborative environment support and encourage each other, rather than putting each other down. Project managers should look to foster such an environment, rather than creating a culture of mistrust and lack of responsibility. Collaboration can help achieve a lot of positives.
Conveying Vision and Objectives
Finally, it's the responsibility of the project manager to convey the organization’s vision to every employee, along with the objectives that fall under their responsibility. Management by objectives is a successful strategy and can help bring about change in the organization. Additionally, the manager should communicate any changes in the project deliverables to employees as these changes will determine the future of the project.
Tips for Effective Project Communication
Some of the tips that project managers should follow for effective project communication include:
Just because all of your project team is operating remotely does not mean that your communication should be written through email. In fact, there is an individual value in face to face meetings, which can only be identified through a conference call. Leverage the potential of technology and incorporate a setup where you’re meeting online and hosting conferences from time to time. The work culture during the recent COVID-19 pandemic has allowed most employees and team members to settle with this change.
Keep Cultural Barriers in Mind
Organizations today are more diverse than ever and there is a growing focus on diversity and inclusivity. However, the intricate qualms of diversity shouldn’t be ignored in management styles. Organizations should have project managers that are aware of language barriers and can communicate to employees culturally acceptable manner. Being mindful of the cultural and language restrictions of employees within your team is highly necessary.
Understand who should get what information
As a project manager, you have a ton of information passing through you at all times. It is your responsibility to segregate information based on the stakeholder it should be transferred to. You are a gatekeeper of information and as such, should have a decent command over your communication and inference skills to transfer information.
Managing a project team requires a number of skills including expert communication. With the tips and directions in this article, we hope you will be able to improve your communication for the better.