Product Management

The Unsung Superpower for Product Managers in 2022

Whether you're managing stakeholders or just want to get a project out the door, good communication is essential to creating great products.
Jacob Koshy
5 minites

According to the Fifth Annual product management report by Product Plan, communication is ranked as the most essential skill for Product Management. 

Mastering this soft skill is an important key to success! Acting as a Product Manager requires cross-communication with many teams. Therefore, the Product Manager spends a significant amount of time communicating ideas, plans, designs, and assigning tasks to the teams, which involves sending many emails and having daily meetings.

Effective communication is important for understanding who your consumer is and what they need or want. Every step of the way, whether you're managing stakeholders or just want to get a project out the door, good communication is essential to creating great products. 

Having Effective Communication

Communication is not a skill that everyone is born with. Still, with a few simple tips, Product Managers can better get their messages across and make others feel understood.

1. Show Empathy 

The best communicators can put themselves in other people's shoes to understand their situation from the other person's perspective. By walking a mile in somebody else's shoes, Product Managers can practice empathy and build trust for their products.

2. Define your Message Clearly

Product Managers need to be sure and know what they want to say and be respectful and consider different points of view when developing an understanding of the goals of the entire product cycle. 

3. Be patient and don't assume anything. 

While communicating with other people, Product Managers need to keep people in the loop by asking questions as often as possible to ensure they continue to understand what the manager is saying.

4. Be clear with your intent.

The manager's tone of voice and gestures should focus on making their point rather than bragging or putting somebody down.

Why is communication vital for Product Managers? 

As Product Managers, you spend a significant amount of time communicating. It is hard to prove the value generated while speaking. The quality of the job is not measured by the number of stories done during a specific sprint. Instead, it is to make the team ship the right product at the right time, ultimately making the users succeed. 

Three streams of communications 

PM communicate through various streams depending on the people's positions with whom they share. And all the interactions are different. However, the majority of professional communications fall into three categories. 

1. Horizontal Communication streams 

As a Product Manager, horizontal communication is the lifeblood you need to function. Being a Product Manager, you spend most of your time communicating with those involved in implementation and execution, including cross-functional team members. Therefore, you need to know what needs to be done to produce an effective project.

2. Vertical Communication Streams

As a Product Manager, you reside in unusual strata within the organization. You need to communicate with the top-level executives to follow up on the plans and strategies. You also need to communicate with low-level executives to bring out the products per company requirements. 

3. External Communications streams 

Finally, sometimes you might find yourself communicating outside the company as a product manager. You'll be speaking with your customer base, potential users, partners, media, and analysts about what's happening behind your project's scenes. 

These people have different interests, shifting from internal to external concerns as they move from working on specific features to launching the application after developing it. Consumers' primary concern is simply what's in store for them regarding your project and when they can get their hands on it.

Three Principles for effective communication for Product Managers

Just communicating is never enough. Product Managers need to have effective and efficient communication. To do that, you should follow the three principles of effective communication. 

1. Reciprocity- Communication is a reciprocal process. Product Managers need to reciprocate and form back-and-forth communication between both parties. You need to ensure dialogue and not just one-way communication. This leads to the enhancement of ideas and better creativity among the executives and product developers. 

2. Medium- Product Managers need to ensure that the message and communication are not lost during the transmission. Many of the mediums the teams communicate are fraught with opportunities for confusion. As a Product Manager, you need to create a bridge to fill the gaps with technologies and better communication channels. 

3. Context- Context is another critical factor that needs to be considered once the product manager initiates the communication. Product managers need to have empathy for the current political, social, and company environment and should encourage effective communication. 

How to deliver a significant impact while communicating? 

Communicating without adding value or delivering a significant impact is of no use. Product Managers need to make the most of the communications they undergo. You need to provide a big impact while communicating, and you can follow the following tips to have effective communication. 

Create a meeting agenda and stick to it

Meetings are an endless component of Product Manager life all around the world. Product Managers worldwide can control how effective their meetings will be through a clear agenda. A clear plan helps guide and even push forward your teams. In this way, you can save time from your busy days and remind everyone what the important points of any meeting should be in order not to get distracted or sidetracked from the most significant impact.

Use road mapping software

For Product Managers, knowing how to communicate their strategy is quite important. As a Product Manager, you must be able to state the process clearly. Furthermore, it's vital to have the right tools, like dedicated Product Road Mapping tools. Road Mapping software (like zeda.io) is crucial for the project over tools like Microsoft products (Powerpoint, Excel), which are more used for business presentations and data-sharing than the needs of product teams and their unique challenges.

Click here to join the waitlist for this product which is, to date, one of the best road mapping tools in the market. 

Communication: the savior for product managers 

A good conversation can be the best way to learn something new. So effective communication is vital when building a process that gets everyone on the same page and ensures everyone is working toward a similar goal. 

Knowing your audience through communicating with them will ensure that you have the right people taking care of different aspects of your project; for example, send surveys, get feedback and adjust your roadmap accordingly.

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