Project Practitioners > Communication Skills

Posts Under "Communication Skills"

Think You're Not In Sales? Think Again
By ProjectConnections Staff
I always find it ironic that individuals outside of the sales profession think they're not in sales or that they don't need to become effective at selling or that it's somehow beneath them. The reality is that each of us is engaged in selling, every single day and some days more than others - we just call it persuading or influencing. But the fact is, as leaders, we're "selling" all the time, whether it's in a meeting, during a one-on-one or while delivering a major presentation. Whether it's "selling" a sponsor on an alternative solution, "selling" a functional manager on... Read More»

Don't understand them? Don't even like them? Too bad!
By Cinda Voegtli
What makes working on projects hard is, all too often, working with the dratted people! :-) As we start work this week ---- who are we dreading working with? Who are we mentally already bracing to interact with? Who have we not communicated with for a while, just because our styles are so different that it's easier to stay away? Put like this, such issues might even sound a little childish if admitted out loud. Yet it's just human nature. But it's also dangerous. If we really believe that communication and collaboration are key to project success and to the... Read More»

Beginning Steps in Becoming a Complete Project Manager
By Randy Englund
While working in a field service office, I observed how a variety of firefighting activities seemed to repeat themselves: sales made commitments to customers and did not inform service, installations began before the site was ready or all equipment was on site, “rough-in” drawings were incorrect for the equipment ordered, etc. Being a process-oriented person, I made a vow to keep these “fires” from occurring again. I also knew that I had reached a plateau in my development at the job and was ready for a change. So I took the initiative to propose a revised process and structure to... Read More»

Conversation Starters for PMs and Sponsors - Part 2: Planning
By Sinikka Waugh
What do you say to your Sponsor during Planning? No single communication relationship in a project is more critical than that between the PM and the Sponsor, but not every PM and Sponsor know how to connect. Every project is, by very definition, unique. But there are predictable moments, and critical conversations that need to take place throughout the project. Assembled in this 4-part series are some conversation starters - prompts, if you will - to help PMs and Sponsors have more effective exchanges at core moments in the project. Read them, make them your own. If you are a PM - use them to engage your Sponsor. If you are a Sponsor - use them to engage with your PM. Read More»

Conversation Starters for PMs and Sponsors - Part 1: Initiation
By Sinikka Waugh
No single communication relationship in a project is more critical than that between the PM and the Sponsor, but not every PM and Sponsor know how to connect. Every project is, by very definition, unique. But there are predictable moments, and critical conversations that need to take place throughout the project. Assembled below are some conversation starters - prompts, if you will - to help PMs and Sponsors have more effective exchanges at core moments in the project. Read them, make them your own. If you are a PM - use them to engage your Sponsor. If you are a Sponsor - use them to engage with your PM. Read More»

Who Put the #$!&@ in Teams?
By Michael Aucoin
To adapt a line from the movie Animal House, "Teams–can't live with them, can't live without them!" That may be the conclusion of a 2013 survey commissioned by the University of Phoenix that revealed some troubling findings about the nature of teams in the workplace. 95 percent of those surveyed recognize that teams serve an important function, but only 24 percent prefer to work in teams. 68 percent who have ever worked in teams have had at least one experience with a dysfunctional team. 40 percent of those who have worked on teams have witnessed a verbal confrontation between team... Read More»

Organizational Structures, Modes of Power, and The Prisoners’ Dilemma
By Alan Zucker
Say you are assigned to a new project. What process do you follow to determine your approach to engaging the team? Do you analyze the project’s organizational structure? How do you decide which role and power type to use? The project’s organizational structure influences the formal power and role of the project manager. The way the PM chooses to exert power affects the type and quality of the team relationships. The Prisoners’ Dilemma provides insight into the impact of collaborative versus competitive behavior. Organizational structures, modes of power, and The Prisoners’ Dilemma can provide the PM with insight into leading... Read More»

Tactical Communication
By Margaret de Haan
How many times, when managing a project and something unexpected happens (or doesn’t), do you get reactive reasons/excuses a while after the fact? Don’t get me wrong, you need to understand the why to be able to avoid the same thing happening in the future at the micro level, but how could it have been avoided altogether? The longer that I manage Projects, the more that I think that it comes down to 2 things – communication and managing expectations. I believe that if you can do that well, many of the “oops” won’t happen. Yes, yes, I know, there... Read More»

Creating New Team Connections
By Jeff Richardson
Resist the urge to “get right to work” when bringing new team members together to launch a new project. As the project manager, you’ve already gotten a head start by working for days, weeks or even months to build the business case and initiate the team’s kickoff. I’m constantly amazed at how haphazard the process for assigning project team member is at successful tech companies. So often engineers or support staff showing up at a kickoff session with no information about what’s going on or why they are here. Individuals coming together during this “forming” stage of team development1 may... Read More»

Continue reading "Creating New Team Connections" »


Shift Their Mind Paradigm
By Margaret de Haan
I’ve decided that I have become too much of a creature of habit, and so I have decided to start ignoring most of what I know works. I know, it sounds bizarre, doesn’t it? I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking and observing lately, and I’ve come across some interesting perspectives that my brain has spun together. The result looks like something that could have significant value in changing the current process paradigm. Ultimately, if we keep performing things in the same way, based on the scientific method of investigation and learning, how do we deviate away from basic... Read More»




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