Wednesday 9 February 2022

How can the project manager communicate smoothly with the owner?



In general, project managers spend 75% to 90% of their time in communication, which shows the importance of communication in project management. the communication of the project manager includes the internal communication of the project team and the external communication of the project team, of which the communication with the owner is particularly critical in the external communication of the project team, because it determines the success or failure of the project to a large extent.

However, in the face of owners with various personality traits and knowledge backgrounds, how to achieve effective communication with the owners, and ultimately benefit the project? this is probably a challenge for most project managers with technical backgrounds. the following is a summary of the five appropriate and five taboos of communication with the owner, hoping to bring help to the project manager in the communication process with the owner.

it is advisable to be modest and courteous, and avoid "arguing according to reason"

the project manager must pay attention to respecting the owner. when communicating with the owner, the project manager needs to have a good attitude and a humble attitude, and the tone of communication should be polite and soft, so that the owner feels that you are not only a great expert but also a noble person, so that it is easier to win the cooperation and understanding of the owner.

some project managers present themselves as experts and technical experts, believing that their opinions or practices are superior to those of the owners and preferring to argue or "argue with reason" with clients, which is very disadvantageous. we must understand that we are to solve the problem, to do a good job of the project, rather than to compare the ability and insight with the owner, if we insist on "arguing according to reason", it is likely to make the owner resentful and unfavorable to future cooperation, and ultimately affect the success of the project.

of course, avoiding "arguing according to reason" does not mean that we do not need to express our views and opinions to the owners, but we need to pay attention to the ways and methods of expression.

it is advisable to think in a different position and avoid deliberate persuasion


in the process of project construction, it is often encountered that the owner puts forward new needs, in order to avoid changes in project needs as much as possible, some project managers are often eager to start from the "own" interests and find ways to convince the owners, which is not advisable.

for the needs of the owner, when we are difficult to understand or accept, we may wish to think in a different position, from the perspective of the owner to experience and analyze the reason for the owner's expectations, so that it is easier to understand whether the owner's demand is reasonable. if the results of the analysis show that the needs put forward by the owner are not needed by the project, we can guide the owner from the perspective of the value of the project to the owner and eventually let the owner give up; if the requirements raised by the owner are indeed required by the project, we can influence those changes by implementing the requirements change process (the result may be a termination change, a gratuitous change, or a paid change).

as a project manager, really thinking from the perspective of the owner, the owner can feel it, and can ultimately win the owner's approval. if you always try to persuade the owner for your own selfish interests, you will be alienated by the owner and eventually lose more than you lose.

it is advisable to leave a buffer and avoid rejecting it on the spot

inexperienced project managers, when communicating with the owners, will always unconsciously give the owners a "yes" or "no" conclusion on the spot, in fact, this practice is inappropriate, especially when rejecting the owners on the spot. because doing so, on the one hand, there may be an inappropriate conclusion to reply to the owner, and on the other hand, it will also make the owner feel that you are not treating their needs with care.

when the owner proposes a change in demand, especially some of the changes in demand that we think are more difficult, it is absolutely impossible to reject the owner on the spot, and the correct approach should be to record the problem first, wait for the change assessment or report to the superior for approval before replying to the owner, and even ask your boss to communicate with the owner. doing so will not only make this matter get a more proper solution, but also make the owner feel that you are a steady person, a person with rigorous thinking, and a person who is responsible for things, so as to lay a good foundation for future cooperation.

it is advisable to have a clear theme and avoid the sea and the sky

sometimes, we may need to communicate with the owner about some project problems or introduce and report to the owner about the project, at this time we only need to explain the theme concisely and clearly, instead of talking about some topics that are not related to the theme. because doing so on the one hand wastes their own time and the owner's time, on the other hand, it may also lead to the things that should be said not clearly stated.

remember, we communicate with the owner, not give a speech, to serve the construction of the project, not to show how good our eloquence and knowledge are.

it is advisable to communicate in person and avoid discussion behind your back

in the communication with the owner, it is inevitable that there will be some misunderstandings and even some conflicts with each other, how to deal with these problems? some project managers are afraid or unwilling to communicate with the owners because they are party a, and choose to complain behind their backs or talk to friends. in fact, this approach is not helpful and can even lead to deeper misunderstandings or worsening relationships, because talking about others behind your back is the greatest disrespect to others, and your complaints behind your back are likely to reach the ears of customers.

a good practice is to communicate openly and honestly with the owner in the appropriate way in the appropriate environment, because doing so will at least make it clear to the owner that you are "dissatisfied" with him and that you are willing to resolve the "unhappiness" that exists between you head-on. this will benignize the relationship between each other and ultimately solve the problem.

The practice has shown that by adopting some of the above principles and methods to communicate with owners, we will pay less and achieve higher customer satisfaction.

The people who are good at communication, a clear statement; people who are not good at communication, a hundred words are not clear. the communication between the project manager and the owner does not mean that the project manager is good at talking, and it is good at talking to solve the problem, but more importantly, the project manager must have enough ability to guide the project construction.

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