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       SKILLS  &  TIPS

As approximately 90% of a Professional Project Manager's time is spent in Communications, it is well worth attaining skills in this knowledge area.

The following Communications Skills are common to both general management and Project Management. In every communication you are either getting information, giving information, or both (sharing information).

Further details are found in this Word. doc.


Skills for getting information:

  • Active Listening

  • Effective Listening

  • Questioning and probing ideas and situations to ensure better understanding. Ask open-ended questions.

   Skills for giving information:

  • Clarity and Concision (concise-ness)

  • Summarizing and re-capping

   Skills for both getting and giving information:

  • Non-verbal communication

  • Expressing empathy

  • Providing feedback

  • Remaining open-minded




To have an effective communication, which accomplishes your purpose, here are some tips for you to use. These tips will also help you build relationships with your Stakeholders. Using these 10 tips becomes easier and more natural the more you practice them:

  • Be friendly: Through a friendly tone, or just a smile, you will encourage open and honest communication. This is important in both face-to-face and written communications. When possible, personalize your communications such as, "I hope you had a good weekend" for example.

  • Be confident and composed: Using eye contact and a firm but friendly tone adds credibility to your message. Avoid being arrogant or aggressive. Be composed in voice volume and non-verbal mannerisms.

  • Be respectful: People will be more open to giving and getting information if you convey respect for them and their ideas. Avoid distractions like answering your cell phone in the middle of a conversation. Show up on time for meetings. Take time to edit your e-mails for spelling and grammar before pressing send as a way of showing respect for your reader. Using a person's name, and active listening are other ways to show respect.

  • Be enthusiastic: Show enthusiastic interest in the conversation or messaging. Give the impression you sincerely care about your audience and the message being conveyed.

  • Be energetic: Demonstrate a slightly higher level energy than the person you are talking with. Your energy will tend to lift people up if it is not overdone. Your voice and your body language (non-verbal) will demonstrate your energy level.

  • Be helpful: Offer helpful information and suggestions when the opportunity arises. Even if it has nothing to do with your project, most everyone appreciates well-intentioned help. Out-of-town visitors might appreciate hearing about a good restaurant, for example.

  • "Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise": This quotation from Dale Carnegie's book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" is still excellent advice. The book is worth reading. Tell people what you like about them and about their ideas, work, and so on.

  • Be a Team Player: Use words like "we" and "ourselves" to build a bond of trust with your audience. These words indicate you have common goals with your message receivers. This moves you inside the circle and demonstrates your insight and understanding. Likewise words like "you" and "yourselves" have the opposite, undesirable effect.

  • Put the other person's interests ahead of your own: While it is good to reveal something of yourself (it makes you seem more human and easier to relate to) be careful not to monopolize the conversation.

  • Pick the right medium: Consider the urgency, the audience, and the message being sent. Serious conversations are best done in person. You can follow up (document, put on file) an in-person conversation with an e-mail. A heads-up to your busy boss can be an e-mail, which closes with, "Do you want to see me about this?" Most people have cell phones so these are well suited to urgent messages. Determine how your Stakeholders prefer to be contacted and put this information on your Stakeholder Register.


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Communication Tips
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