Posted on: Jul 14, 2023
How to improve your interpersonal skills for better communication
To expand interpersonal skills meaning, you may understand those as both verbal and nonverbal communication, conflict handling, teamwork, empathy, listening, and a positive attitude. Among all those interpersonal skills examples, you may easily guess, that communication skills very often come first. Recognizing the significance of interpersonal skills in project management is a must and beginning with enhancing communication skills can be valuable starting point.
The importance of interpersonal skills in project management
Have you ever tasted working in project area? If the answer is yes, you for sure know, that this work environment is truly challenging. Understanding the role of interpersonal skills in a variable and unpredictable work environment should be enhanced with being calm and adaptive. Each project member is required to be both fast and direct when it comes to exchange critical information. This necessity comes directly from the need of minimizing stops in the project and helping group members to feel less frustrated during each project. At the head of this information avalanche is the project manager, for whom the highly developed ability to communicate must be in blood.
Developing a common vocabulary for seamless communication
Starting a project in a company you are getting to know? Begin with building a strong foundation: creating a glossary for effective communication. As in different companies, employees often use slightly different vocabulary and in extreme situations use the same words to name different processes/data/positions etc. it is valuable to start a project by getting to know the environment and create a kind of a glossary. Taking over the vocabulary (especially abbreviations) from our former employers is a natural process, so starting with creation of common communication platform is a must. As common examples you could hear about PM used as both project manager or product manager and PO used as product owner or purchase order. After making sure there is common understanding among project stakeholders, there is a room for other communication interventions.
Leveraging diverse communication channels to enhance interpersonal skills
To make sure you are doing your best to gather all necessary data and feedback, and spread all crucial information among project members, do not limit yourself to calls and e-mails. There is always a room for broadening your communication horizons: exploring various channels for effective collaboration. You can choose from broad spectrum of those, as you are only limited by your imagination.
Filtering and disseminating information for clear communication
Being a project manager equals dealing with continuous large amount of information flow. It is not necessarily only correct and relevant data. This is why the ability to filter out information before spreading it to project members is inevitable. By mastering the art of information management, you should understand strategies for filtering and sharing relevant data. In the most common project structure, project manager is receiving input from steering committee, project director as well as all team members involved in the initiative. It is crucial to decide what data to spread to each level, what could be misleading and should be omitted, how to organize and edit it to be clearly understood by every stakeholder. It requires not only broad knowledge and helicopter view of processes and business relations, but also high-level organizational skills not to be sunken in the information ocean. Remember to be flexible and use different platforms for communication, depending on the current need and situation. At the end, not only filtering out data and spreading it is principal. You must not forget about ensuring yourself all parties understood information and knows what is required from them at the moment. To do so, always require feedback, for which you can choose from plenty of communication channels.
Gathering comprehensive feedback to enhance interpersonal skills
As the proactivity is always appreciated, gather feedback using different platforms, such as surveys or feedback sessions (group/face to face). For harnessing feedback power, try utilizing different platforms for gathering valuable insights. Remember to use as many open-ended questions as possible, to provoke sincere answers and build engagement in fulfilling the survey. Thinking about omitting this step as you have too many other tasks in project? Look what you can lose…
Persuasion techniques for stakeholder alignment and interpersonal growth
All projects bring a change to the organization. New tool, new structure, new process, new responsibilities, everything new… it can arouse both curiosity and fear. In the project reality, not all parties are at the beginning highly motivated to proceed with a change. They will go from denial stage, through doubt to finally reach acceptance phase. That is totally normal and the sooner we learn to recognize those patterns of behaviors and manage it, the more efficiently we will achieve our goals. First, we need to make sure all stakeholders understand what we are trying to reach and why this change is important to the organization they work for. Understanding the project goal is a proper start to accomplish it. But what about motivation? Setting clear goals is enough? Unfortunately, it is not. Luckily, there are certain tricks you can use to motivate stakeholders to help us and work according project expectations. Following them all will bring you one step closer to reaching the desired goal.
Now as you understand the interpersonal skills meaning, you know interpersonal skills examples, hopefully you feel the communication is the key to success and most probably, you already identified an area which can be enhanced, there are plenty of trainings, articles and working groups on the market you can use. Empowering success through continuous improvement of interpersonal skills in project management is for everyone and is an endless adventure for sure.