Skip to content

Communication techniques for effective project management

Added to your CPD log

View or edit this activity in your CPD log.

Go to My CPD
Only APM members have access to CPD features Become a member Already added to CPD log

View or edit this activity in your CPD log.

Go to My CPD
Added to your Saved Content Go to my Saved Content
Shutterstock 1410209819

Projects are more likely to reap success through strong teamwork and effective communication. For project managers, it’s paramount to have solid communication techniques. Studies by Project Management Institute found lack of communication was classed as the biggest contributor for project failure.

Having open communication is essential and should be available to all project stakeholders, including workers and contractors. Whether in person or through virtual means, regular communication guarantees workplace morale and business success.

There are three main communication techniques we can use for effective project management:

  • Interactive communication
  • Push communication
  • Pull communication

Interactive communication 

Interactive communication is used most when sharing sensitive and important information. Usually, it’s immediately acknowledged and actioned, mostly through:

  • In-person meetings
  • Phone calls
  • Video conferences

Interactive communication usually involves meeting people face-to-face, however foreign that might seem to us in recent times. But the societal shift towards virtual communication has forced us to adapt.

Videocalls have proven just as effective for conveying messages; your persona, body language, even tone of voice, are just as easily portrayed as they would be in person. We can think of this communication as a conversation.

Interactive communication is the best way to gauge what you require from clients. And it’s great for presenting any methods and updates necessary for the project, especially those needed from third parties like contractors or suppliers.

Push communication 

Push communication involves sending information without expecting an immediate response. It’s usually through:

  • Emails
  • Newsletters
  • Project outlines

It’s best for when you need to convey information that isn’t time-sensitive or urgent. Usually push communication is used for updates, benefits, or changes to projects.

It’s good business practise to ensure all your methods don’t revolve around push communication, as it could come across as unreceptive or neglectful for the team, stakeholders and project needs.

Try to restrict push communication to weekly emails or monthly newsletters. Or of course when sending a lot of information or documentation changes to clients. Perhaps combine this with interactive communication – share the brief information via a phone call and the details via email.

Pull communication 

Pull communication usually allows us to access information whenever we desire. Forms of pull communication include:

  • Website and landing pages
  • Knowledge base
  • Management software and apps

It’s especially effective when clients want to access project information at their own leisure. Or when information needs to be relayed to stakeholders or contractors. This involves clear transparency and demonstrates a high sense of trust between you and your project team, managers and stakeholders.

Gauge what the team and client’s want, and then decide how to and where best to share information. We should try to use all three methods fluidly and appropriately:

  • Interactive communication for immediacy.
  • Push communication for large amounts of information.
  • Pull communication for accessibility.

So how can I ensure effective communication during projects?

Hold regular meetings

Having regular meetings with team members increases a shared understanding for objectives and deadlines. The meetings can also be a platform for project members to share any ideas or concerns they have, which in turn will help them feel supported and valued whilst working with you.

Be sure to regulate the time for each meeting so they don’t become too lengthy. And provide time for people to share any admin tasks and future agenda ideas.

Be inclusive

Try not isolate anyone when sending out project reports or inviting people to meetings. Keep relevant people in a shared loop, so they’re at least aware of any project changes or new developments.

It’s always better to send a little too much information than too little. Ask your colleagues what form of communication technique they prefer, as some methods may exclude some people.

Be clear and precise

Whether you’re sending updates or requesting feedback, try to limit time wasted during actual communication. Have your purpose of the email or phone call ready beforehand and take a moment to outline your thoughts.

Also consider exactly who you’re communicating with. Are they a team member who you need updates from? Or are they clients who should be addressed in a different way?

Present what you need in a clear and accessible structure, allowing everyone to easily understand your points and opinions.

Take everyone’s opinions into consideration

Sometimes a shared viewpoint can be more productive than listening to one person’s view, so make a habit to consider multiple opinions rather than just your own. Recognise when you’re wrong about something, or when someone else’s idea is better. Your team will respect you further and communication methods will remain intact and undamaged.

We face several situations that benefit one specific type of communication method. Choosing the right one will help determine whether targets are met and changes are understood. But be sure to use all three, helping to build great rapport and in turn project success.

The results of effective communication comes from having great levels of engagement, understanding and comfort in working with your team on various tasks. As a project professional, you really need to have an arsenal of qualities, but good communication skills is one of the biggest drivers for business success.

Listen to Ann Pilkington, Tim Lyons and Elizabeth Harrin discuss how to be a great communicator on the APM Podcast

You may also be interested in:


Join the conversation!

Log in to post a comment, or create an account if you don't have one already.