effective communication skills

Top 5 Effective Communication Skills for Project Managers [Infographic]

May 25, 2017 by

According to the PMI (Project Management Institute), project managers spend 90% of their time on communication-related activities!


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The success of a project largely depends on how effective the communication process is. This process beings during the first stage of your project (project initiation) and continues right through each stage into the final stage as you close out your project.


Why is communication important to my projects?

The word communication evolved from the Latin word “communis” which means common, general or public and “communicare” meaning “make something common”.

When we communicate, we are trying to establish “commonness” with an individual or a group. We have a requirement to collaborate and share information, ideas or thoughts among the team involved in a project.

Communication is not like time, it is not a finite resource. However, we need to use this resource effectively and efficiently. You can never assume that the receiver of information will interpret the message the same way as the sender intended it.

Because of this, a project manager needs to consider all factors that can impact on effective communication;  the communication method and type, the diversity of your project team members, location,  language and culture barriers, and the intended meaning versus the perceived meaning

Below is a list of our top five communication skills for project managers.


Top 5 Effective Communication Skills for Project Managers

1. Active Listening

The receiver confirms the message is being received through feedback, questions, prompts for clarity, and other signs of confirmation. Listening and not interrupting, asking questions to benefit both parties to check understanding. This will aid in getting people to open up, and due to that lots of misunderstandings and conflicts can be resolved.


2. Non-Verbal Communication

“Only 7% of our communication is verbal—the content of our communication. Thirty-eight percent is conveyed through the quality of voice—tone, volume, speed, and pitch. Fifty-five percent is through posture, movements, gestures, facial expressions, breathing and skin-color changes.” (Project Management Institute)


3. Friendliness, Trust, and Respect

Using a friendly tone or simply a smile, you will encourage your project team to engage in an open and collaborative communication process with you. Trust and respect are the cornerstones of personal relationships. They are earned, not a right, and come from an experience of our honesty, integrity, and expertise. People will be more open to communicating with you if you convey respect for them and their ideas.


4. Open-Mindedness

An efficient project communicator should enter any conversation with a flexible, open mind – ready to listen and understand the other person’s point of view, rather than simply getting a point across. Be willing to engage in conversation, even when there is a difference in option, resulting in a more honest, productive conversations.


5.  Feedback and Collaboration

In a collaborative environment, team members support and encourage each other rather than focusing solely on their tasks and responsibilities. They are willing to share information, ideas, and assets to help each other, cooperate and collaborate to reach the end goal. This collaborative environment, in turn, provides a constructive atmosphere for giving and receiving feedback – which is a vital communication skill for project managers.

Feedback may be positive, negative, or neutral, indicating the receptivity of the sender or receiver.


Image credit


Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook

Ciara McDonnell

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