FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

PM4DEV Blog

Ideas, suggestions and general thoughts about project management for development.

Communications Management

How to Develop Effective Communications

b2ap3_thumbnail_effective-communications.pngOne of the biggest factors for low performance of project managers is poor communication skills. Project managers are too often promoted for their technical accomplishments, without any assessment of their communication skills. If the project manager is not a good communicator, then he or she shouldn’t be a project manager. Otherwise, the organization increases the risks to the project and increases the work that senior supervisors need to do in order fill in for this gap.

Essentially, communication means transferring ideas, but communication is more than speaking, the spoken words are only 7% of communication and that body language, facial expressions, tonality, and style constitute the rest of the 93%. To be a good communicator is not difficult, but requires practice and good coaching, here are some basic tips that will help any project manager improve these skills:

1. Listen, listen, and listen. Spend time to learn to listen, hear what your staff and stakeholders are saying before sending any communications, listening will give opportunities for clues about what the intended audience is prepared to hear from the project. Communication is a two-way street, so it is important to listen carefully when the team members, beneficiaries or other key stakeholders are speaking

2. Ask questions and ask for questions –When hearing something that it is not clear, then people should ask about it. It is important that everyone understands exactly the message. Equally important is to let a team member asks questions to clarify a point and it should be answered in a timely manner. The team member may be bringing up a crucial detail that could make or break the project’s plans.

3. Don’t delay key messages. Make the effort to ensure that those who should know about any project changes know about it as soon as possible. Not sending the communication to the right people at the right time may result in work may not get done; or worse, work done in an area that has been cancelled.

4. Be consistent with your key messages. Nothing confuses more than sending inconsistent messages about the project. If one communication tells a message that the project is on track, but another says there are delays, the project manager w
ill be seen as not having a clue on what is going on and that deteriorates the image of the project. Revise the communication for inconsistencies before sending the to their intended audiences

5. Know your audience. It is a great mistake to assume that one message can fit all the project audiences. The project lives in an environment that is made up of people from different backgrounds and levels of understanding about the project. Even cultural differences call for a need to customize the communication. Make an effort to communicate by expressing the message from the point of view of the audience.

6. Make the message simple, concise and to the point. Nothing breaks down communications than sending long and complex messages. Long speeches or long documents filled with information that is not relevant will cause the audience to lose its focus and concentration on the message. Make sure that your message is easy to read, calls for action or informs without using a lot of explanations.

 

7. Pay attention to nonverbal communications. As much as 93 percent of the meaning transmitted between two people in face-to-face communication is nonverbal. Nonverbal communications include gestures, body language, facial expressions and eye contact. Project managers need to take into account their nonverbal cues when communication verbally, ensuring a good posture, good eye contact and the right tone of voice is used that do not contradict the words that are being spoken.

Rate this blog entry:
5
1092 Hits

Making the Right Presentations

b2ap3_thumbnail_making-the-right-presentations.pngHere are some tips to help you prepare for your next project presentation.

The purpose of any presentation, written, oral or visual, is communication; and to communicate effectively, the information must be stated in a simple, concise and interesting manner. Your audience should be able to understand the purpose of the presentation; this involves knowing the audience, the occasion, and the expectations of the audience. This will be a critical determinant in what information is presented and how it is presented. You have to tailor the message to the audience - understand their needs, desires, knowledge level, and attitude toward the topic while being concrete, specific, practical, and relevant.

People learn and retain more information when learning is reinforced by visualization. Simple, clear, concise visual images, will lend support to the spoken words. This leaves the audience with a positive attitude toward the content of the presentation.

A good presentation is made up of four basic components:
 

  • The Opening. Participants are introduced to the purpose of the presentation. It should be a brief summary or outline of the points to be covered. This helps keep your audience oriented properly within the framework of your presentation.
  • The Body. This is where the subject matter is presented. The body should be separated into smaller, easily assimilated modules. Each module or sub-section should make a single point or convey one idea. These sub-sections should each have their · own simple opening, body and summary.
  • The Summary.  This portion should be very brief and simple. It is a chance to reinforce the central theme and purpose of the presentation. The goal is to briefly emphasize the key points and main ideas of the presentation.
  • The Closing. The points that were raised during the question and answer session are summarized and any handout material that was not required during the presentation is distributed. This allows the audience to review the subject and assures that the ideas presented will remain fresh in their minds.


Using PowerPoint Slides
 

  • When making a presentation that is using a PowerPoint Slide or other type of visual aid, do not read the text, unless people in the room do not know how to read. Repeating the text that is on the screen is just a waste of time.
  • Make eye contact with all the audience and speak in a clear voice, adding more content to the ideas presented to draw the audience attention.
  • On the day of the presentation, arrive and set up early. Have spare projector bulbs and extra copies of the handout material close at hand.
  • Images and text should be legible for anyone; a good test is to go to the back of the room and see if the text is readable.
  • Try to use large letters and 4 or 6 lines of text per slide, don’t clutter the slide with graphics or use too many colors and different fonts. Use font sizes large enough to view from anywhere in the room try not to use fonts smaller than 28 points.
  • Excessive use of Clip art, sound, fonts, colors, backgrounds, transitions can be distracting and can misdirect the attention of the audience from the intended content.

Another good strategy is to deliver the hard copy of the slides at the end of the presentation that will keep people from reading ahead of you and miss your talking points. Make sure that you go over all your materials the day before the presentation to ensure that you have all that you need.

Rate this blog entry:
6
1638 Hits
Go up