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The 7 communication mistakes holding back your projects

Many project managers do a great job completing and delivering their projects and satisfying their clients.

The main problem they encounter is communicating effectively with their clients and teams.

The project manager is the key link between their team, organisation, and clients. It’s essential they have a good rapport with their team and the necessary communication skills.

Plus, communication mistakes in relationships with clients and stakeholders, for example, may damage the organisation’s reputation.

Below is a list of the most common communication mistakes project managers make. By avoiding these, you’re setting yourself up for success.

Learn how to avoid project failure with our tip sheet

Speaking instead of listening to your team

not listening

A primary aspect of managing a project is assigning work, delegating, managing progress, addressing issues and coordinating the project.

It’s just as important during and after this phase, though, to check in with your team, make sure the message is understood and everyone knows their role.

Most importantly, you must encourage their input and take on board their concernsHavinng. If you listen to what your team has to say, they will feel empowered and motivated, and you might even gain some valuable information.

Remember,  50% of employees quit their boss, not their job, according to research from Gallup, so it’s important to give your team members a voice.

Having poor presentations

Having good presentation skills is essential when you’re meeting clients and stakeholders.

You should be confident and able to discuss the project in an engaging and clear way, and you need to be prepared for any difficult questions.

Your presentation should be:

  • Attention-grabbing – Who’s going to listen if you’re just reading straight from your slides in a monotone manner? No-one, as they will all be asleep!
  • Establish a clear need and goal – Don’t ramble on; keep your presentation concise and to the point.
  • Have a plan for achieving the goal – Thorough planning will help you to feel more confident delivering your pitch.
  • Actionable items – Great presentations end with actions for the audience to take away with them.

Perhaps most importantly, there must be no spelling or grammar mistakes on your slides.

Poor written communication skills

On the topic of spelling errors, a common mistake made by project managers is having poor written communication.

You are responsible for informing your team of everything happening in the business and your project, so, your messages need to be clear, concise and accurate.

While communicating on collaboration platforms is more effective than email, you should still keep in mind you need to proofread and edit your messages and comments before sending.

Here are some tools to help you do this:

Focusing too much on face to face communication

According to a study by Interact, 69% of managers claim that they are uncomfortable communicating with employees.

When it comes to communicating with clients and your team, it’s common to focus on face to face meetings or emailing.

However, what happens when your team members are based in multiple locations? Going to the office for a short meeting isn’t the best use of their time and there are travel costs to consider.

Your clients will no doubt also be spread across the country or even the world, so they will have similar issues traveling to your organisation for meetings.

Using cloud collaboration software instead allows you, your team and clients to work closely together anytime, anywhere. You can manage key documents, send out client feedback surveys, assign tasks and much more, all within one secure online platform.

Download our free guide, which contains a checklist to help you choose the right cloud collaboration tool for your organisation.

online collaboration guide

Saying yes to everything

yes man

You may often feel pressured to say “yes” to clients when you’re asked on the spot to deliver a task.

These demands may be beyond your capacity to fulfill and could put too much strain on your team.

Ronald Steers, the project manager at Stateofwriting and Eliteassignmenthelp, has a solution: “It’s always best to avoid responding immediately, but instead ask for time to assess the demand. If you’re unable to do the task, you can always offer an alternative to the client.”

Giving poor feedback (or none at all)

According to Interact, more than 37% of managers don’t like to give direct feedback on performance if they think the employee might respond negatively.

Even though many people dislike receiving feedback at the risk of being criticised, it’s important for you to provide it, to ensure your team is staying on track.

It’s much better them knowing what you’re thinking so they can adjust their behaviour accordingly.

It is also good motivation for them to know what they’re doing well, as this motivates them moving forwards. 

Providing feedback in a mild, calm tone, and constructive way will ensure they will be motivated to continue delivering positive results for your project.

Providing too much information

information overload

It’s untrue to say the more information given to clients and bosses, the better.

Too much information will overwhelm them and may lead to a lot of questions you may not have the answers too.

Instead, stick to the basics: the progress made, the problems you’re facing and your solution to them, and a budget update.

Be clear on whether you’re seeking input or merely providing an update, and keep your language simple and not technical. 75% companies struggle with overwhelmed employees, according to Deloitte. So, keep this in mind when sharing information.

Bio: Freddie Tubbs is a project manager at UK Writings. He also works as a marketing consultant at Essay Roo, and contributes article to the Vault and Boom Essays blogs.

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