Project Management

3 Things That Help Project Managers Be Good Persuaders

Speaking is an easy task. If you don’t suffer from any kinds of disability, you can speak as much as other people. But to speak persuasively and influence the decisions and perception of other people is a challenge. It may take years of experience or learned skills, or is simply a gift. For project managers, being able to speak persuasively is vital in determining the success of a project and also forging a personal legacy. Project managers should spend more time persuading. In writing for Voices on Project Management, Dave Wakeman offers three tips on what project managers should do to enhance their persuasive communication skills:

  1. Think in terms of what the other person needs to know.
  2. Ask yourself what the next logical step is you need someone to take.
  3. Frame your conversation around the benefits.

Speak for a Reason

It is not by accident that Aristotle became famously known; his treatise on the art of persuasion and how to apply rhetoric into everyday life is still practical and useful up to this day. If we are persuaders instead of pure communicators, we can do a much more effective job of influencing the decisions and thinking of our friends, family, colleagues, clients, stakeholders, sponsors, or team members to see things the way we do.

For project managers, to talk other people into your goals and vision is to communicate mindfully and with a purpose, to know what to say and not to say, to highlight and focus on certain aspects, and to touch on things that can interest others. Don’t be a boring and indecisive project manager who gives redundant information and shows no resolution on how to deal with a vast source of data. Be someone who may not speak often, but whenever you speak, you make others listen carefully and follow your words. Create power for your speech and make others value every moment that they can listen to you.

Wakeman goes on to say this:

We have so much information coming at us that we might feel like the best course of action is to just give everything to everyone. The problem with this is that it is ineffectual and overwhelming. And too much information usually causes people to punt decisions or fall back on previous decisions.

That’s why it’s important to think about the people you are communicating with before you say a word.

What do they need to know? What actions do you need them to take? What do they already know?

Ask yourself questions like this and try to figure out what your audience needs to know to stay up to date, take action, or buy in.

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