3 Communication Skills for Project Managers to Master using TED Talks

Darragh Broderick
By | Updated June 19, 2017 | 4 min read

Communication is one of the truly key skills that project managers need to develop in order to drive their project success. From their ability to listen and negotiate to their public speaking skills, project managers need to be excellent and rounded communicators.


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Of course, communication is a skill that needs to be developed and continuously honed over time so let’s turn to TED Talks for the best content to help us on our way to becoming great communicators.

TED Talks has become an absolutely incredible resource, with truly helpful and inspiring presentations given by tremendous individuals the world over.  Here are 3 Communication Skills for Project Managers to Master using TED Talks, with 6 brilliant presentations that are well worth your time. Get bookmarking!



3 Communication Skills for Project Managers to Master

1.  Negotiation

William Ury’s ‘The walk from no to yes’ is an 18-minute masterclass on negotiation. Ury lays out the way to create agreement in even the most difficult situations — from family conflict to the Middle East. So this approach must surely be enough for project managers to excel in those tricky negotiations with project stakeholders and contributors! Learn about the different ‘sides of conflict’ and how to satisfy all parties and find that “18th camel” as Ury described!


A more unconventional presentation here from Colin Camerer, but it offers an absolutely fascinating take on negotiation at a more conceptual level.

When two people are trying to make a deal — whether they’re competing or cooperating — what’s really going on inside their brains?

Behavioral economist Colin Camerer shows research that reveals just how little we’re able to predict what others are thinking.

And he presents an unexpected study that shows chimpanzees might just be better at it than we are. The chimpanzee example is certain to reassure some project managers in their ability to negotiate!



2. Listening

As the world gets louder and louder, says sound expert Julian Treasure, “We are losing our listening.” In this short, fascinating talk, Treasure shares five ways to re-tune your ears for conscious listening — to other people and the world around you. Julian explains that we spend 60% of our time in conversations listening but we only retain 25% of what we hear!  An enthralling presentation that is hugely valuable not only to project managers but to any of us who want to improve our communication skills.


Four-star general Stanley McChrystal shares what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military. How can you build a sense of shared purpose among people of many ages and skill sets? By listening and learning — and addressing the possibility of failure. If you underestimated the importance of listening as a communication skill, listen to this incredible talk from Stanley McChrystal as he commands the attention of the room and reveals how the ability to listen is crucial in defining a great leader.





3. Public Speaking

Have you ever felt like you’re talking, but nobody is listening? Here’s Julian Treasure to help you fix that. As the sound expert demonstrates some useful vocal exercises and shares tips on how to speak with empathy, he offers insight into the strengths of the greatest speakers and certainly provides the project manager with the ability to elevate their communication skills as a whole.


There’s no single formula for a great talk or speech, but there is a secret ingredient that all the best ones have in common.

TED Curator Chris Anderson shares this secret — along with four ways to make it work for you. Command the attention of your audience, whether they are your team members or executives and project stakeholders who are awaiting your pitch with arms folded.

Take Chris Anderson’s brilliant learning and master that most difficult of communication skills and become an enthralling and informative public speaker.

Darragh Broderick
Darragh Broderick

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