Communicating within your team – Advice from within

During a recent conference, one question that came from attendees was: How can I improve and become an effective communicator within my team? and I wanted to spend some time to answer this question and also share some knowledge from my experience.

What can you do to become an effective communicator?

1.Listen!

This may sound counter intuitive but to be a good communicator you need to listen to what you are being told but also what you are not hearing. Listening and being an active listener is one of the most important skills of being a Project Manager and it’s something that you cannot underestimate.

2. Be concise in your communications

When you are communicating to your team, don’t waffle! Be clear, concise and use appropriate wording. You need to understand who your audience is and make it appropriate to them. If you’re working a lot with Senior Management, it may not be appropriate to go into technical details.

3. Have a plan

One of the core competencies of a Project Management is having a good communication plan. Are you looking at everyone that you need to be talking to? What should you be telling them? when should they be informed? I’d also recommend getting colleagues/ PMO input to make sure that you’re including everyone that needs to be communicated to and that it’s at a frequency that they will appreciate.

4. Communicate effectively

Have you ever been in a presentation and thought: What on earth am I seeing? or getting frustrated because the presenter hasn’t understood the brief or audience that they are presenting to? When I start a new project, I like to ask the following questions:

  1. What format would you like to receive the project updates?
    1. Examples being: Face to face, emails, presentations etc.
  2. When would you like to receive these updates?
    1. Examples are: Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly etc

Once I have this information, i’m able to create a plan that will allow me to communicate to the right audience and with the right form of communication

5. Make time for your team

One big complaint that I often see from Team Members is that their Project Managers are too busy and they feel bad for talking/ interrupting them. I have an open door policy and will regularly be available at lunch/during breaks to talk to my team and be ‘open’ to them. This may not always be about work but it could also be about personal things but it will also help to build your communication within your team.

6. Don’t lie/ exaggerate

One thing that I often tell to Project Managers that can be a little insecure is for them not to lie/ exaggerate to their team. This is vital for building trust within your team and having an ‘honest’ Project Manager will also help your reputation in the company. Don’t be afraid to say: I don’t know or I’m not sure. You can note it down and work it out and come back to them.

What tips do you have to becoming an effective communicator? What do you do to ensure a smooth communication exists within your team? Let’s chat!

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