7 Things Project Managers Can Learn From the Weatherman

Weathermen have an allotted time to forecast the weather. How do they deliver the most important information in a brief amount of time? How do weathermen determine what to say? Let’s explore seven ways to communicate more effectively.

Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com (edited in Canva)

Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com (edited in Canva)

Upping Your Communications Game

  1. Know your audience. Weathermen (men and women) know their audience. If the audience has an interest in NASCAR and football, guess what – the weatherman will give weather forecasts for those events. Other people want to know about travel conditions. Good communicators provide the right information at the right time to the right people.
  2. Keep the communications brief and to the point. Have you ever noticed? Weathermen don’t talk about wind currents at 30,000 feet or the temperature on Mars. Why? It doesn’t matter to most people. Find out what your audience needs and deliver it succinctly, particularly to individuals in senior positions.
  3. Share your confidence level. Weathermen have the daunting task of analyzing lots of variables they don’t control and making a forecast. Sometimes the forecast is a piece of cake; others times, the task is seemingly impossible with multiple weather fronts converging. Seasoned weathermen give the forecast, but they also share the factors that may impact the accuracy of the forecast. To do otherwise is to leave people thinking the weatherman knows exactly what’s coming. When providing project estimates, be sure to share the factors that may impact the actual results and when you will provide revised forecasts.
  4. Use different communication methods.  There are several communication methods that are used to share information. Weathermen use “push communication” to send information through television broadcasts. They use “pull communication” such as a website to allow individuals to access information as needed. Good communicators also use “interactive communication” which allows individuals to have a dialogue one-on-one, in meetings, or by phone.
  5. Use visuals. Weathermen are great at sharing maps and models to help their audience understand the changing weather conditions. When possible, share graphics, pictures, and other visuals to help improve your communications.
  6. Communicate through multiple channels. Wherever we go, we can get the weather forecast – on TV, on the radio, and through social media. Good communicators aren’t lazy – they disseminate information through different channels and in different formats. Everyone has a chance to get the message.
  7. Ask for feedback. Weather stations conduct surveys to find out how they can improve their services and if they are communicating appropriately. Ask your sponsor, your team members, and other project managers for feedback on how to improve your communications. Listen. Take action to make the necessary changes.

Related article: 
What I Learned About Communications From a Multi-Million Dollar Software Program