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Communications
for Project
Managers
Frank Newman, C.H.R.L.
Newman Human Resources
 37 years HR experience
 20+ years managing projects
 Special Projects
 Hired 300 people in 18 months
 Plant Start-ups and closures
 Jan Arden/Colin James Millennium concert
Learning Objectives for Today
 Strengthen your communication skills in
managing projects
 Mini-toolkit on:
 Communications Essentials
 Overcoming resistance
 Coaching
 Managing Virtual Teams
Project Launch meeting…
Why do Projects fail?
 Project Management
 Sponsorship
 Unclear scope
 Poor timelines
 Lack of funds
 People issues
 Role clarity
Communication Challenges
for Project Managers
 Leading indirect teams
 Engaging/disengaging sponsors
 Fending off resistance
 Coaching & giving feedback to SMEs
 Sharing bad news
 Being seen as the spokesperson for
change
 Managing virtual teams
Communications
 It’s not about delivering the message – it’s
ensuring the message is received and
understood
Active Listening
 An active listener:
 Is patient, calm and focused
 Doesn’t interrupt, complete sentences, rush
to fill in pauses
 Waits to be asked for advice or opinion
 Offers balance and perspective without
judging
 Asks questions
 Listens as much for intent as for content
Worst Listening Habits
 Allowing interruptions
 “Get to the point”
 Completing others thoughts/sentences
 Making suggestions
 Debating points
Asking Questions
 Asking questions at the right time in the
right way:
 Fact-based questions – uncovering data,
schedules, budgets
 Value based questions – uncovering
opinions, ideas & reactions
Asking Questions Tips
 It’s not the Spanish Inquisition – set the
right tone
 Avoid rapid-fire closed questions like an
interrogation
 Ask questions in a logical sequence
 Allow time for response
 If you don’t agree with the answer, ask
another question before criticizing or
rejecting the response
Providing Actionable
Information – MOST formula
 Will the recipients of this information be
able to apply it appropriately and
effectively?
 Meaningful – value and significance
 Objective - no opinions, emotions or
judgement
 Specific – detailed and concrete
 Timely – transmitted efficiently – valid,
applicable or useable
Overcoming Resistance
Ask Questions
to
explore/clarify
Paraphrase/empathize to
show understanding
Provide
context/background
Invite their
suggestions
If necessary,
offer relevant
facts/outline
benefits/ideas
Test for Reaction
Blessing White
Coaching for Results
OPPS Model
 Objective – what do you want?
 Present – what’s happening now?
 Possibilities – what could you do?
 Solution - what action, when?
Coaching for Results
10 Coaching Questions
 What needs to happen?
 What’s missing?
 What’s getting in the way?
 What does the ideal outcome look like?
 What else?
 What’s worked best for you?
 Say more about that?
 What needs to exist?
 How will you know when you have it?
 What are you willing to do?
Managing Virtual Teams
 Create your own humanity
 Build connections
 Understand cultural differences
 Use lots of visuals in video conferences
Virtual Communication
Realities
 Asking questions & listening actively
 Providing actionable information
 Communicating benefits
 Handling resistance
 Setting & supporting goals
 Delegating responsibility
 Optimizing performance
Conclusion
 It’s not about you!
 People first, project second
 Never be afraid to say you’re sorry
 You’ll be remembered for how you handle
your people, not how well you handle the
project
Thank You!

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Communication for Project Managers

  • 2. Newman Human Resources  37 years HR experience  20+ years managing projects  Special Projects  Hired 300 people in 18 months  Plant Start-ups and closures  Jan Arden/Colin James Millennium concert
  • 3. Learning Objectives for Today  Strengthen your communication skills in managing projects  Mini-toolkit on:  Communications Essentials  Overcoming resistance  Coaching  Managing Virtual Teams
  • 5. Why do Projects fail?  Project Management  Sponsorship  Unclear scope  Poor timelines  Lack of funds  People issues  Role clarity
  • 6. Communication Challenges for Project Managers  Leading indirect teams  Engaging/disengaging sponsors  Fending off resistance  Coaching & giving feedback to SMEs  Sharing bad news  Being seen as the spokesperson for change  Managing virtual teams
  • 7. Communications  It’s not about delivering the message – it’s ensuring the message is received and understood
  • 8. Active Listening  An active listener:  Is patient, calm and focused  Doesn’t interrupt, complete sentences, rush to fill in pauses  Waits to be asked for advice or opinion  Offers balance and perspective without judging  Asks questions  Listens as much for intent as for content
  • 9. Worst Listening Habits  Allowing interruptions  “Get to the point”  Completing others thoughts/sentences  Making suggestions  Debating points
  • 10. Asking Questions  Asking questions at the right time in the right way:  Fact-based questions – uncovering data, schedules, budgets  Value based questions – uncovering opinions, ideas & reactions
  • 11. Asking Questions Tips  It’s not the Spanish Inquisition – set the right tone  Avoid rapid-fire closed questions like an interrogation  Ask questions in a logical sequence  Allow time for response  If you don’t agree with the answer, ask another question before criticizing or rejecting the response
  • 12. Providing Actionable Information – MOST formula  Will the recipients of this information be able to apply it appropriately and effectively?  Meaningful – value and significance  Objective - no opinions, emotions or judgement  Specific – detailed and concrete  Timely – transmitted efficiently – valid, applicable or useable
  • 13. Overcoming Resistance Ask Questions to explore/clarify Paraphrase/empathize to show understanding Provide context/background Invite their suggestions If necessary, offer relevant facts/outline benefits/ideas Test for Reaction Blessing White
  • 14. Coaching for Results OPPS Model  Objective – what do you want?  Present – what’s happening now?  Possibilities – what could you do?  Solution - what action, when?
  • 15. Coaching for Results 10 Coaching Questions  What needs to happen?  What’s missing?  What’s getting in the way?  What does the ideal outcome look like?  What else?  What’s worked best for you?  Say more about that?  What needs to exist?  How will you know when you have it?  What are you willing to do?
  • 16. Managing Virtual Teams  Create your own humanity  Build connections  Understand cultural differences  Use lots of visuals in video conferences
  • 17. Virtual Communication Realities  Asking questions & listening actively  Providing actionable information  Communicating benefits  Handling resistance  Setting & supporting goals  Delegating responsibility  Optimizing performance
  • 18. Conclusion  It’s not about you!  People first, project second  Never be afraid to say you’re sorry  You’ll be remembered for how you handle your people, not how well you handle the project