Active listening in project communications

Communication is crucial for project management. Poor communication will lead to misunderstanding in deliverables, misalignment on delivery and project failure as a consequence. And communication should be 2 ways when we not only focus on conveying messages but also listening from others. Being a good listener will benefit us as PM in day to day works with variety of stakeholders. Members will feel easier to share, issues are easier to be solved through team collaboration, customers are more likely to get what they truly need. 

How to get those benefits from Active Listening:

  • Focus on the speaker with 100% attention. It shows the care and motivates others to share with us even the hard facts.
  • Be open and encourage honest communication no matter what the hard facts are. Usually, it will lead us to the root problems that need to be solved.
  • Show that we are actively listening: eye contact, body language and confirm how we understand the received information.
  • Respond appropriately with needed questions to discover underlying facts; ideas or proposed actions from the speakers; share thoughts in a brief and clear way. 
  • Silents and pauses are also powerful in conversation. They bring spaces for us to think a bit more deeply and allow the other to finish their sayings. 

More guidance for active listening and high quality conversation:

How to Learn to Listen and Make others Listen to You, Rima Evans, apm.org.uk

The Art of Active Listening, Jorge Martin, projectmanagement.com

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