Project Management Communications

An essential skill for any Project Manager is the ability to communicate directly with other people effectively, which in essence means being able to clearly deliver your message through whatever medium is most appropriate to the designated audience(s) of that message. Of course the success with which you deliver your message is a complex process in itself and goes way beyond having successful MS PowerPoint skills. Speaking of which, there are plenty of articles elsewhere dealing with the effective use of MS PowerPoint, so this article focuses on addressing your ability to personally address an audience.

Virtual and Real communication.

You need to appreciate that the way you communicate in the real world may well need to be different to the way you communicate in the virtual world. Taking the most simple example here if as a Project Manager you send an email around to explain a decision, or request input, you can be very direct and matter of fact about it. However, if you wanted to convey the same message face-to-face with other people it will be important to have regard to the facial expressions you use, body language/hand gestures and voice tone etc. Also, even ****if you wanted to express the same message through face-to-face contact and through a video-conference the way you conduct yourself in the real world will have to be different to the virtual world. Remember that when in a video-conference for communication to remain coherent ****it is vital that only one person speaks at a time. So, whereas in the real world you might talk over an interruption to continue with your message, in a video-conference you will have to give way to the other person.

Audience diversity and culture.

Don't be caught out by cultural differences in your presentations.
Finally, and here the same is true for both real and virtual communications, as the Project Manager you must be aware of the diversity of the audience and even the cultures from which your audience come. Audience diversity could simply mean that you have a mixture of technical and artistic/design staff listening to your message. To ensure that all are able to engage with your message it needs to understandable by all. Similarly an audience of mixed genders may mean that you have to express your message in different ways to ensure that all are able to fully understand and/or engage with it. However, especially in these days of international contracts, being cognizant of cultural differences when communicating a message can be even more important. Never presume that an international audience shares your sense of values or humour etc. Before preparing the presentation take some time to establish what the audiences social mores are and, most importantly, what type of approach will best engage them.