Product managers communicate with many different backgrounds and teams in a day. You shift between many different hats: listener, presenter, convincer, negotiator etc. In order to create strong relationships within your organization, you need to be an effective communicator.
Communication is the primary skill for a product manager for creating a successful product development process.
In this article, you will learn how you can implement communication skills in your workspace and how you can change the common mistakes as a product manager.
An effective communicator is someone who speaks clearly, directly and simply so the listener can understand the exact message. Additionally, they’re understanding and sensitive to the person they’re communicating with.
You can differentiate them from their successful body languages and the feeling that you have been listened to and understood. They make eye contact. You may feel they are forcing their thoughts on you, but at the end you can see that they’re open to your responses and ideas.
Effective communication requires an affirmative approach. You might hear “I totally understand you,” “as I understand correctly,” or “you mentioned your concerns as.”
Sometimes to be able to create a successful communication you need to paraphrase what you heard and wait for approval. If the speaker approves your understanding, you can continue.
The soft skills of an effective communicator should consist of the following:
To succeed in communication, be as direct as possible. You need to be sure about what you want, the goal you want to achieve, or the purpose of the conversation.
A successful communicator uses their body language carefully, selects the right words, listens and cares for the other person. The trust between individuals can be built naturally. Also, being reliable and persistent while communicating helps build trust. If you are a trusted communicator it means you are approachable and can help others.
Effective communication often comes from someone who is already in the center of the organization (you as a product manager). You shouldn’t practice poor behaviors. Instead, you should be the one who sets the correct ones.
To build healthy communication your coworkers should think of you as an honest person. You need to create your own characteristics of communication so that others will recognize and remember the things you shared.
When communicating with others, dividing the topic into understandable parts is important. You need to be able to explain in an easy way even the complex topics. For example, as a product manager, you must prioritize projects for an old technology rather than customers’ requests.
You also need to be able to explain bottlenecks the old technology causes and how it will create an impact in a simple way. By communicating in a simple and humble way, you avoid misunderstandings between audiences.
Effective and healthy communication inside the organization requires a continuous effort.
As a product manager you need to be the one who communicates with everyone clearly. Effective communicator will help you lead others. Try to implement the following into you product management practices:
Imagine a meeting where one person listens to the presenter and actively attends the conversation. You will start to listen without noticing because of the body language and speaking type of the person. You can change the course of the meeting with your communication skills.
In my current company, we run one week sprints. Developers have three days to develop all the features. A lack of communication (even a day) can lead to sprint failure. If I don’t answer the questions during the day and wait for the closing, people can lose focus on the topic.
Even if you are in the meeting, you can try to provide hints or the names who can help. Rather than just ignoring it.
While you are approaching someone, don’t forget who you are representing. As the product managers we have many hats. You need to know your target audience because it will change multiple times in a day.
Your body language, speaking style may vary accordingly. For example, while I am talking with my development team, I joke all the time and make the meeting more bearable. With a business team or customers I try to look more professional and change my style according to the meeting profile.
In office days, I try to chit chat with the people I don’t have the opportunity to talk much with. Face to face communication is way much warmer than online meetings. If you have the chance, I recommend you try your best to reach everyone in the office.
Lastly, for online meetings I strongly recommend you to open your cameras in every meeting. Hearing a cold voice is way harder to listen to and create a bond with.
We talked about what you need to learn and how you can avoid common mistakes while communicating, but communication requires a special bond between individuals. You need to find your own dynamics with everyone you communicate with. Remember, being an effective communicator requires you to be stable and predictable.
Featured image source: IconScout
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