Increasing Communication Effectiveness

Why This Session?

Duration: 2 days

lrn-ice2Some people call them “soft skills”. They are more appropriately labeled “hard skills”, because they are so difficult to master. No matter how great your technical skills, your effectiveness in communicating with others in each of the different Project venues makes the most difference in whether you succeed or not.

A current PM exam might deal with the question of what percentage of your time Project Managers spend in communication. Those preparing for that exam are usually shocked by the answer. What should be even more shocking: most Project Managers and team members have never had any training in how to spend that 90% of your time effectively. Instead, most training involves what to communicate, rather than improving how well you communicate it.

And now, with distributed projects, offshore development teams, and increased need to communicate with all your bandwidth, these skills are more important to Project Managers and key team members than ever before. “ICE” your next project, your next presentation, or your next Status Report with this Increasing Communication Effectiveness session.

Beginning with a self-assessment of communication strengths and improvement opportunities, the class is more a survey of methods, unlike our other skill-building sessions. It explores each major facet of communication, in some cases opening participants’ Johari Window (how you know yourself, vs. the observations of others), in other cases, reaffirming your strengths. The session results include a fresh self-assessment of communication skills, and action planning for improvement.

Learning Objectives; after this session, participants will be able to …

  • Evaluate your communication methods, identify which ones are weakest and which are strongest, and then develop an action plan to improve your weakest communication links.
  • Identify the greatest barriers to improved communication.
  • Describe the importance of communication in the project environment.
  • Discuss the need for using more of your senses and the resulting benefits in communication.
  • Discuss advanced and special communication situations, and identify key practices that improve results.


This session is especially for Project Managers, and is of value to Sponsors, Executives, Managers, key team members, and anyone else in your project environment that can benefit from improved communication effectiveness. Many organizations that offer “soft-skills” training through their Human Resources organizations can still benefit from this class, because the content specifically focuses on the most important aspects of Project-related communication, rather than general business communication.

Session Outline

1. Self-Assessment of Communication Strengths and Weaknesses
  • Barriers to More Effective Communication
2. Communication Basics by the Senses
  • Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking
3. Project Communication Venues: Integrating the Senses
  • Persuading
  • Interviewing
  • Managing Productive Discussions
  • Meeting Management
  • The Art of Meaningful Emails
  • Giving and Getting Feedback
  • Online vs. Paper Differences
  • Style Differences: Reader/Listener; Thinking Style Impact
  • Reading Body Language and other Non-Verbal Signs
4. More Advanced Applications
  • Formal vs. Informal Settings
  • Speaking; Presentation Differences with Audience Size
  • Methods of Verifying Communication
  • Facilitating Larger Groups
  • High-Level or Detailed: Matching the situation and the audience
  • Using Graphics and Words for Higher Communication Bandwidth
  • Explaining Complex Concepts
5. Special Communication Situations 
  • Communicating in a Crisis
  • Cross-Cultural Communication Issues
  • Matching the Communication Skill(s) and Style to the situation; e.g. VideoConferencing
6. Integrating Results and Action Planning
  • Revisiting the Self-Assessment
  • Action Planning for Weaknesses
  • Building a Follow-up Plan
  • Summary and Closure