Communication Skills: A Modern Art

Communication skills in the workplace are about much more than sending emails and talking over PowerPoint slides. It’s about communicating information in a way that engages the heart and mind of your listeners. Telling a compelling story about the situation is crucial to achieving that all important engagement.

As project managers our customers require exceptional written and verbal skills, strong facilitation capability as well as the ability to deliver engaging presentations. You may think that this is a tall order for time-poor project managers. I believe that we can develop and deliver the required outcomes, if we focus on the truly important messages that we need to share.

Listen Up!

One key communication skill is being a great listener. Really listening to information from other team members and using this as a basis for our communication with that team member. For me, this means listening more and talking less. I find that concentrating on listening 80% of the time and talking for 20% of the time in a conversation delivers great results.

Promote + Nurture Effective Communication

One role of being a project manager, is to promote and nurture effective communication between all team members, stakeholders, operational teams, customers and third party vendors. This can be tricky to do, as we all have individual and team cultures to blend and collaborate. If you are ensuring that the focus is on clear, concise and truthful engagement, your teams will support your open approach.

Tailor Communication For Your Audience

Our audiences are usually disparate and therefore require the use of different language to get the required message across. One size does not fit all when it comes to communication. Concentrate on tailoring your message to your audience, and using language that resonates with them.

Simply relying on email as a communication channel is no longer satisfactory. Email often offers little engagement and sometimes people don’t even open your emails. Strive for exceptional understanding in relationships by using other communication channels that will engage your audience.

Consider championing the use of other communication tools such as social engagement tools like Yammer or SocialCast. It is important to fit the varied needs of all project stakeholders.

Project managers need to be able to tell a compelling story with both oral and written communication. Share the vision and end goals of the project with your team. People want to know how those goals are going to be reached, and what the future looks like in your vision. Our written skills need to engage the reader in what is going to happen, what is happening right now and how we are going to move forward.

Building Trust + Effective Work Relationships

How we engage customers through our communication channels is the key factor in people engaging with our story. Engagement leads to trust, and trust leads to effective working relationships. Explore how you can develop your communication skills to effectively engage your audience.

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Written by Elise Stevens – founder of Fix My Project Chaos


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