37 Practical Ways to Improve Your Project Communication

2=Planning, 3=Execution

Are you looking for ways to improve your project communication? You’re not alone. Most project managers know that 90% of their time is spent in communicating – hearing, speaking, and seeking to understand.

picture of team members communicating

Project managers constantly communicate — coaching, summarizing action items, influencing stakeholders, educating team members, listening, facilitating decisions, creating a contract with a third party, escalating an issue, and meeting with a project sponsor, to name a few. Great project managers are first great communicators. How can we get better?

Improve Your Project Communication

  1. Listen – practice active listening.
  2. Develop and execute a communications plan.
  3. Assign a communications manager for large programs and projects.
  4. Communicate through different channels (e.g., casual conversations, meetings, newsletters, email, messaging, and presentations).
  5. Repeat your messages (people quickly forget).
  6. Distribute meeting minutes to meeting participants as well as those who were absent.
  7. When receiving instructions, repeat the instructions for validation.
  8. When giving instructions, ask the person to repeat the instructions.
  9. Say what you mean; mean what you say.
  10. Create small project teams when possible.
  11. Distribute meeting agendas with the purpose before the meetings.
  12. Assign and track action items.
  13. Capture key decisions in a decision register.
  14. Ask the right questions at the right time.
  15. Use the appropriate communications technology (e.g., messaging, social media, teleconferences, video, to name a few).
  16. Set meeting rules (e.g. stick to the agenda).
  17. Engage the key stakeholders when developing the project charter.
  18. Engage the project team when developing the project management plan.
  19. Identify and analyze your stakeholder’s needs and interests.
  20. Invest the highest percentage of your time communicating to the stakeholders with high power and high interests.
  21. Handle changes through an integrated change control process.
  22. Compile and distribute status reports in a consistent frequency (e.g., weekly).
  23. Colocate team members when possible.
  24. Try stand-up meetings.
  25. Never press send/enter for an angry email.
  26. Ask for feedback on your communication.
  27. Use the GRPI technique for large programs and projects.
  28. Be aware of your nonverbal communication (which has more impact than your words).
  29. Stop back and forth emails; have a face-to-face or phone conversation.
  30. Seek to understand cultural differences of team members.
  31. Analyze and test assumptions.
  32. Improve your emotional intelligence.
  33. Seek to understand then to be understood (one of Dr. Covey’s 7 Habits).
  34. Don’t interrupt others.
  35. Use stories to get your point across.
  36. Perform postmortems.
  37. Join Toastmasters International.

Question: What would you add to this list?

About the author 

Harry Hall

My name is Harry Hall and I'm the guy behind the projectriskcoach.com and the author of The Purpose Driven Project Manager. Risks can derail projects, resulting in challenged and sometimes failed projects. I make project risk management easy to understand and practical to apply, putting project managers in drivers seat.

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