Communication is an essential soft skill product managers need to master because user research is key to developing relevant products. The need to communicate correctly and efficiently cannot be over-emphasized since product managers spend more time communicating than executing. Communication in product management is not just the act of speaking; it also involves the preparation that happens before engaging in conversation and ensuring your listener gets the correct message.
Communication means reminding product team members to prepare for meetings and following up after so your team can get the most out of it during those interactions and ensure they received the message correctly. Speaking during a meeting is only a certain percentage of communication.
Hence, to communicate effectively as a product manager, adequate attention has to be given to the art of preparation to ensure proper communication flow such as spending time to think, analyze metrics, analyze market trends, do competitive research, review your backlog, and roadmap, attending conferences, engaging with other product managers, preparing presentations, etc. The more content you have, the better understanding you get and the more effective your communication skills become.
Communication as an essential skill is not only a skill necessary to have because of the team but also to effectively engage customers and potential customers.
To improve your communication skills in product management, you need to discover your communication skills gap first. This can be done by asking your friends or coworkers to give an honest critique of your communication skills such as how well you listen, how good your word choice is, how quickly you catch miscommunications etc. Since they hear you very often, they would to a large extent know the challenges they face when you are communicating with them. Once you have found your communication skills gap, you can seek professional help or take a course online on communication.
Here are a few tips that will help you improve your communication skills as a product manager;
- Be explicit about your message.
- Make sure there is no room for misunderstanding.
- Use the right tone to communicate your message.
- Make sure your message has structure and flow.
You can improve your communication skills by reading books or following blogs from other successful people in the industry. Communication isn’t something you ever stop practicing or improving. Throughout your career as a product manager, you keep encountering new scenarios and learning from them. Over time, you begin to recognize patterns that help you understand how to respond better to every scenario.
A busy schedule should not be an excuse. Learn how to communicate properly because product managers can only make an impact if communication is done right. Click here to read about emotional intelligence.