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Communicating Effectively

Communicating Effectively

Author: Jeff Carroll

This lesson reviews the essential elements of communicating effectively as a project manager.

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Source: Image of microphone at podium, male project sponsor, female presenter, Creative Commons, Kelly Eddington; Image of stack of papers, three person meeting, whiteboard, pie graph, house, images by Video Scribe, License held by Jeff Carroll; Image of bar with steps, Public Domain,

Video Transcription

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Hi, I'm Jeff, and in this lesson, we'll discuss how to communicate effectively. Every project manager must be clear with their communications, while still giving stakeholders and team members all the information necessary to make decisions and perform the work needed for a successful project. So let's get started.

Every project manager should develop and improve their ability to write clearly, communicate well face-to-face, and organize and lead meetings so that they reach the desired goals. In order to be concise and clear, however, it's important that project managers become intimately familiar with the project information and with effective methods to present this information. They must also understand what the audience needs to know about a project.

To make project material accessible, a project manager should present complex information using simpler visuals. The proper visual can be a substitute for words, or it can be used to focus on details contained within the words. If you use visuals, the audience must understand what you're presenting. And don't replace words with visuals that convey little information.

When speaking or writing, use simple and clear language. Avoid technical jargon that might only be known to a few audience members. And if you use an acronym, be sure to explain what the acronym means. And avoid academic or overly complex language. For example, there's no reason to say the project difficulties were ameliorated with sustained exertion, when we worked hard to fix the issue could be used instead.

Often project managers will be called upon to deliver bad news or warn stakeholders of project problems. At those times, it's important the news is delivered to stakeholders in a clear and comfortable way. When the news is troubling enough to be communicated beyond the team, the first person to be notified should be the project sponsor. The project manager and the sponsor can then discuss how the information should be delivered to the other stakeholders.

Bad news is best delivered face to face in group or one-on-one meanings. Then the project manager can better gauge and manage stakeholder reactions and immediately address questions. The goal of these meetings should be to reduce confusion so informed decisions if needed can be reached. When the issue does require a decision, the project manager should prepare recommendations and inform the meeting attendees of the steps necessary to solve the problem.

The project manager should then seek consensus on the solution. For example, if construction on a new home project is going to be delayed two weeks due to issues with the weather while building the foundation, the project manager might present a solution where multiple trades work inside the house at the same time in order to partially make up the time lost. Always when discussing problems, the project manager should avoid placing blame. Discussion should be about the solutions.

And those are the guidelines a project manager should remember when preparing communications. Good job. In this lesson, you learned how to effectively communicate with the team and stakeholders, and you learned how to deliver bad news. Thanks for your time, and have a great day.

Terms to Know
Meeting Management

The process of meeting regularly with project team members and or project stakeholders to share information, solve problems and make decisions that will have a positive impact on project success.