As it is said in the overview short paragraph, communication is the essential and vital part of any successful project, company or people relationships. That is something which comes naturally but good communication skills are not the same as just communicating with people and ordinary chatting. Communication in the company, between teams and managers, managers and owners, managers and stakeholders, team members and other team members are different and as any other skill, communication needs practise.

As much time as you put in the practice, you will be better each and every day. Communication skills are extremely important for one project manager and can be considered as his or her main weapon to get to the certain goal, satisfied team members and successful projects.

One project manager has two main channels of communication, one with the stakeholders and other with team members. Since the reason and subjects are different between these two channels, the way of communication is also different but there are always principles which should be followed, no matter to whom you are speaking to:

  1. Listen before you speak: this is probably the most important part of communication - listening! People naturally tend to speak, and to prepare the answer even before they hear the end, sometimes missing the point of the story. That is why it is very important to practice and learn how to listen actively first, in order to understand the other side and to provide the best answer and proper help.

  2. Be clear and concise: try to be concise as much as you can. Nobody is interested in long stories, with long introductions without relevant information. Also, you are saving time and energy, of yourself and the person who is listening to you, and as well provide higher value if you say clearly what you need, and be precise with it.

  3. Be honest: whatever the situation is, there is no point making it better or worse. If the team member made a mistake, you should definitely address it, because in that way the person can improve its skills and avoid it for the next time. Of course, you should be aware of the words which you are picking and show the understanding. The person will appreciate your effort and get the feeling that he or she can talk about issues openly. The same is with stakeholders, if something can’t be delivered on time, or can’t be created in the way how they wanted to, you need to say it, but again with confidence and show the other side that the issues are addressed and you will find the way to solve them.

  4. Show empathy: try to understand what team member is going through, and with kind words and compassion, you will gain people’s trust and create atmosphere where people matter

  5. Put yourself in other people’s shoes: always try to understand why somebody is telling you certain things and how they feel about it. Try to think what you would do if you are in that situation and how would you react to it

  6. Create an atmosphere where people want to talk: if you have team members who are struggling with something, they should express it, not keep it quiet about it. You will manage to create proper atmosphere by asking question, encouraging people to talk about their issues, react to their mistakes by compassion, understanding and ensure everybody that they are not alone by helping them to pass it through

  7. Do not talk about job only: show interest in your team members hobbies, interests, personal life too. Share something small about yourself and they will open to you too, which will bring your relationship and trust to the higher level

  8. Show that you are human too: we are all humans, and we all have similar feelings and concerns. Act and talk as a part of the team, which you are, always say “we” not “me” or “you”, since that will increase team connection and mutual trust

  9. Learn the body language: beside the verbal communication, it is very useful to learn more about body language. Sometimes you will feel like something is wrong and that words are not showing the same as the person’s face expression or body language.

Also, it is very important to establish and develop ways of communication for each situation, so the team members will know where to look for the help if they need it and how they should communicate. For example, the internal, and everyday communication should go through e.g. Slack, the task issues should be addressed through a project management tool, the personal requests should be sent on email, et. The same is with stakeholders. They should know how they can reach out to you, where to send project feedback, changes or if they need to address their concerns, how they can schedule a meeting.

As we said in the beginning, communications skills are crucial and if you find yourself at the project manager position, make sure that you are practicing and learning this skill every day. In time, you will see and notice a lot of benefits and your team members will see in you a person from trust, who can be relied on.

Tamara Golubović
Tamara Golubović

Tamara is a dedicated Project Manager with a passion towards business development and process implementation.