Project managers play the lead role in planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing out projects. So, there’s no denying that a project’s success depends on the managers tasked with it.
Besides, the increasing demand for project managers also emphasizes their importance; 49% of organizations currently use a Project Manager Officer to coordinate projects. This also shows the growing competition in this industry, mandating task-based skills for applicants and aspirants who hope to work in this capacity.
In addition, as the job entails leading people, communication skills are essential if you want to be an upstanding project manager. In fact, communication is a core competency that enables the proper execution of strategies and actions.
If a project manager cannot communicate the requirements of a project to their team and stakeholders, they risk jeopardizing the outcomes.
In contrast, if a project manager has adequate communication skills, they can build honest, trusting relationships with their team and stakeholders. This will eventually lead to more successful projects and a higher rate of investment (ROI).
6 Ways Project Managers Can Utilize Their Communication Skills At Work
Every year, poor communication costs companies over $62 million. But you can avoid that by implementing strategic communication and ensuring that the entire team is on the same page.
So if you’re a project manager, the following are 6 ways you can put your communication skills to work:
Central to any project’s success lies collective effort. If the team works together as a unit, tasks are likely to be done efficiently.
Since a project depends on everyone’s contribution, if even one individual cannot meet task requirements, it can negatively impact the entire project.
For this reason, the project manager needs to ensure there are no hindrances in the workflow. If any of the members have a problem, the manager must actively listen to it and address it in the best manner possible.
Similarly, if a conflict arises – whether between team members or the stakeholders – the manager’s responsibility is to listen to each side and develop a reasonable solution.
If the team members are caught up in personal feuds or stakeholders aren’t happy with your work, the project will likely fail.
But if there is honest conversation between everyone, it will lead to a smooth flow of information and ideas. In turn, collective brainstorming results in more desirable outcomes.
Furthermore, your stakeholders will only trust you if you’re truthful, loyal and freely communicate your strengths and weaknesses with them.
Ultimately, strong communication fosters long-term connections by building meaningful relationships based on trust and respect.
Setting Clear Priorities
Before team members can deliver quality results, they need to know what is expected of them.
It is where a project manager comes in. By clearly identifying goals and outcomes for the project, the manager lays out the blueprint for the team to work on.
As a project manager, you need to be clear on the what, where, when, why, who, and how of the project. But, more importantly, you need to communicate all of it with your team, so they are on the same page.
This way, you will regularly update all the stakeholders about the project strategy. Additionally, team members will understand their technical priorities and the bigger picture they need to work for. This will enable them to meet all the project goals, making it a success.
Establishing A Communications Framework
Before starting work on the project, you should set a communications framework – a plan that enables structured communication with your team, stakeholders, executives, and clients.
This means that before initiating the project, you will decide on who communicates what, to whom, when, and how. Ensure that the people responsible for internal and external communication are well aware of their tasks and responsibilities.
Following are all the features your communication framework should include:
- A purpose
- A clear outline of the project requirements
- A list of communication methods
- Timelines and deadlines
- Roles and responsibilities of all team members
Planning And Conducting Meetings
As a project manager, you will be conducting many meetings – both internal and external.
The purpose behind meetings is to inform all project stakeholders about the progress, requirements, deadlines, etc. Therefore, you must utilize these events effectively to communicate precisely all that you have to.
Also, make sure to listen to others.
What are the problems they face? Do they have any suggestions that can make the project better?
Incorporating feedback will make them feel valued and will only benefit your project.
Moreover, remember that meetings can be time-suckers that take away from actual work time. So plan meetings accordingly. Consider the objectives of the meeting beforehand and include only those who need to be involved because bringing in people who have nothing to add to the meeting will only waste their time.
The biggest reason for a project’s success is a collaborative effort. When team members support and encourage each other, they will complete tasks on time.
Project managers need to make sure that the team is operating in a collaborative environment. This means that instead of focusing only on their own tasks, the members should provide a helping hand to others when required.
It would be best if you created a culture of cooperation, so your team feels comfortable sharing ideas and assets to help each other.
But not everyone is born with excellent communication skills; just like any other skill, it requires practice and dedication to communicate effectively. If communicating with others doesn’t come naturally to you, consider ways to improve your communication skills.
How Can Project Managers Improve Their Communication Skills?
Research has shown that effective execution of projects requires project managers to develop their skills beyond technical capability.
In an environment of increasing project complexity, project managers need to have management and communication skills.
Following are 3 simple tips that can help you become a better communicator:
Practice Mindful Listening
Remember, communication is two-way, which means it’s more than just about conveying your message.
It also includes listening to the other person – not only to reply but to understand their problems and needs.
Some ways you can practice active listening is by following these:
- Don’t interrupt
- Pay attention to non-verbal cues
- Ask thoughtful questions
- Adopt an objective standpoint
Use Project Management Technology
It can be challenging to know what task each team member is assigned at all times. If you’re managing a bigger team, it is almost impossible to retain every tiny detail about what is happening in your group.
But with project management software, you no longer have to worry about that. Software like Asana and Slack make it easy to keep tabs on what’s happening in your team. It also allows members to communicate in a streamlined manner.
Get Specialized Education
One of the best ways you can emerge as a well-rounded project manager is by getting professional help. For example, a diploma in project management online will train you to be a better, more successful project manager.
Specialized education will enhance your existing technical skills and equip you with holistic knowledge of your field and the desired communication skills needed for your job.
Taking on the responsibility of a project manager means you need to have more than just technical knowledge. Since you have to manage teams, facilitate commitment, manage stakeholder expectations and communicate project milestones, it is pertinent that you have all the skills that make you a good leader.
Even when you possess problem-solving and management skills, if your team doesn’t work in cohesion or cannot solve conflicts, it will adversely impact your project execution.
But if you have professional certification, you’re likely equipped with the necessary communication skills that you can apply to your work.
On the other hand, if you don’t have desirable communication skills, you should enrol yourself in courses that can help. If you’re working full-time, you can explore online options near your location. For instance, you can sign up for an online project management diploma in Australia if you live nearby and are looking to expand your skillset.