Much can be said about communication when it comes to project management. Everyone on the team needs to be clear on their assignments and understand the goals of the project. Where some project managers need improvement is in the area of listening and providing feedback.
Being a better listener leads to higher productivity and improves the potential for influencing and persuading others as well as negotiating effectively, all which lead to better project management.
First of all, let the speaker know you are paying attention and hearing what they are saying. A nod of the head doesn’t mean you necessarily agree, but the speaker will know you are listening. Stop what you are doing and use body language such as leaning forward a bit. This will also help you to pay attention and keep your mind from wondering.
Don’t interrupt. Let the person speaking finish and, after a few seconds of silence, respond. At this point what you say is very important. You can either recap what has just been said, ask a clarifying question or make a relevant comment that lets the speaker know you understand the message.
The feedback you give is important. Acknowledge to the speaker that you understand their points even if you don’t agree with them. Just knowing you have listened and taken their position under consideration will earn respect and encourage future sharing of ideas.
Finally, don’t rush to judgment. If what the speaker says makes sense, be open to changing your mind, especially if it will improve the project management process.