Opening Lines of Communication for Project Managers

If you are new in project management or if you’ve had some bad experiences communicating with colleagues, suppliers or clients, spend some time (and take an online training) about effective communication skills. It can greatly enhance your skills, and it will definitely pay off in the long run.

Communication, rather effective communication, involves a lot more than just talk. What makes a good communicator? Regardless of your position, whether it is the Project Manager, the Janitor, or the CEO, effective communication is an important aspect in our lives.

A good communicator isn’t simply the person that is outgoing and likes to be social and can talk to any one about anything.  A lot of the time these individuals aren’t actually good communicators.  They are so busy talking they don’t take the time to actively listen and observe the situation.

Good communication is all about Skills & Methods:


A good communicator can provide the right information, at the right time, to the right people, and with the right tone.  In order to deliver, a good communicator is an attentive listener and places careful consideration to the situation.  Good communicators are proactive and are constantly thinking of the bigger picture and how their actions, the actions of others, or an event will impact a project, and will require informing others of the change, etc.

Whether in person, on paper, or electronically … always be clear and concise.  Say what you mean, and mean what you say.  Understand who your audience is and think about how they will perceive the information, and how they will benefit from it.  Another aspect to consider is cultural differences.  Be cognizant of who you are dealing with and the cultural and language barriers that you might incur.

Your ideas and messages should be delivered clearly, and you should also understand the information that is being conveyed to you by those you interact with.  When you function in this type of environment, projects run much smoother, as creative ideas are easily expressed.

Don’t forget that communication is a two-way street.  By understanding and learning the skills you need to communicate effectively, you can better manage your projects and team.


The method of communication selected plays an important part as well.  If it is complex or personal in nature, it is probably better delivered verbally.  Other general information might be better left for a group email or via memo.

When you write letters or send emails, be sure to provide all the background information the receiver requires.  Don’t make assumptions and take short cuts.  Don’t just make a brief reference to another email or trail of emails, and make the receiver dig through them all.  For one, they might not bother.  And, if they do take the time, you are losing the effectiveness of your message and making it difficult.  Also, they might not locate or get all the information you intended them to find, which is a great way to create confusion.

Also, avoid long-winded messages and poorly typed messages with typos and grammatical and punctuation errors.  It really lessens the readability of your document and portrays your message in poor light.  You will gleam more respect out of being known for providing well-crafted, concise documentation.