Communication Skills: Incredibly important skills for Product Managers
Product Managers has to communicate with a lot of different people to get things done.
On a day to day basis, you must be using a lot of different formats to communicate effectively like written, verbal, face-to-face, emails and documents like PRD (product requirement documents). As a PM, it’s super important to communicate your ideas effectively and get people excited about them. In this blog, we will discuss a few topics needed for you to sharpen your communication skills those are:
- Active listening
- Story Telling
- Being Persuasive
Active listening: Listening is imperative! You need to listen actively to understand other perspective and needs.
- More than just listening: Read between line as to how it was said.
- Being an engaged listener: Paying attention to the person who’s speaking.
- Fully understand other points of views: You don’t necessarily always agree with, but you need to follow these views.
- Not imposing your views: You role is not to judge or offer alternative perspectives. It’s just to listen and understand
- Importance: Builds strong relationships, promotes understanding, builds empathy.
Tips: Make eye contact and smile when appropriate. Encourage, don’t interrupt, ask clarifying questions when needed, paraphrase.
Story Telling: A powerful tool that allows you to express your vision and thoughts through more compelling, tangible narratives.
- The story tells about what and why? It explains what the problem is and why it’s necessary to solve the problem.
- The story also has an emotional response. When you tell a story audience tends to attach with the outcome of the story.
- Storytelling is a core role of being PM.
- Start with the big picture, think about who is your audience and what you want them to do at the end of the story.
- How your product helps the hero to reach the goal?
Tips: Keep it simple. Make it memorable, always show why things matter rather than telling, Practice, Practice, Practice!!!
Being Persuasive: Persuasion is essential because you work with lots of people and need to align the team needs to be aligned — but you don’t have direct authority over everyone. Instead, you have to convince them!
- Three types of persuasion: Ethos (credibility), pathos (emotion), Logos (logic)
- The best persuasive message has all three: For example, having durable logic and data will increase your credibility and using a particular piece of data might provoke a specific emotional response from the audience.
Below are the ways as to how you could build persuasive messages:
- Know your audience: Tailor your message according to the audience you are going to speak to
- Pick a viewpoint and explain why this is the best option.
- Know other perspectives: Always listen and understand from other’s perspective.
- Be data-driven: Have a data point handy to discuss
- Discuss objections: this shows that you care about the other opinion.
- End with the call to action: It’s clear for everyone as to what is the next step.
Negotiation: It’s is all about trying to reach an agreement when there is conflict.
Strategies for negotiation:
- BATNA (best alternatives to a negotiated agreement): You want to understand what each sides BATNA is. Think about what would happen if you weren’t able to reach an agreement. What would be the outcome be for each party?
- Focus on interests: It’s beneficial to know what each side are interested in and why. It will help you to understand where to focus during negotiation.
- Make the pie bigger: You want to look for the ways where you could increase the value of the negotiation. It can be done by knowing the other side of interest.
- Use objective criteria: It helps the conversation based on reality.
- Multiple solutions: Create numerous solutions when you do this, you get the feedback as to what other side feels about these options.
- Negotiation Styles. Refer to the image below:
Presentations: It’s a great way to communicate your ideas. It’s essential to learn how to create presentations that can effectively communicate your message.
- Three parts of the presentation are Introduction, Body and Conclusion.
- Introduction: Background information or context. It could be telling a story.
- Body: “This is what we’re here to talk about.”
- Conclusion: “This is what you explained” and the next steps
Tips: Presentations need to stand on their own, Rehearse, Pre-brief key stakeholders before big presentations
Thanks for reading! Start practising these skills on day to day basis. Try using a storytelling tool when you want to share your ideas next time. Also, use some of the negotiations strategies it will be useful for you to ground the conversation and handle tough discussions easily. Be Persuasive, and I will e-meet you in my next blog about Product Management.