The Product Manager’s role is to manage and improve all the things that are happening inside a software product. However, it is very important to understand that a Product Manager should not be an autocrat who dictates how things should run. Instead, his job is to create a vision for the product; ensure that the right people are involved in the process; coordinate them; and guide them towards achieving desired results.
One of the most important characteristics of a highly effective Product Manager (PM) is their ability to communicate effectively with team members and stakeholders.
Therefore, we collected 5 tips for you which will help you master this skill:
Tip 1: Check your tone
It’s easy to forget how much words affect others when communicating via text messages or emails. Just because you’re typing it doesn’t mean the message doesn’t come across in your tone.
Tip 2: Be empathetic
Be empathetic to other people’s feelings, especially when you’re communicating bad news or negative feedback. Just remember how would you feel if someone was telling this to you; what is your emotional response? Then try to use words which match that feeling. This will make it easier for you but also for others. They won’t be offended and even might accept the news more easily.
Tip 3: Keep it short and clear
Here’s a simple hack of writing – say everything on one screen/paper, so there is no need of scrolling up and down while reading. This way your point of view will be clearly visible and the person you’re talking to can also easily find it.
This is especially important if you have very negative feedback for someone. If you keep repeating the same thing over and over again, others might stop listening to your message and just focus on all this repetition: “Why do I hear the same things again and again?”.
Tip 4: Use empathy statements
Using empathy statements in your conversation helps to inject emotional intelligence into conversations, which facilitates better understanding among people. It’s a good alternative when we tend to give advice too quickly without understanding what the real problem really is. To make it work properly, remember these rules:
“I feel like…” (empathy statement) + “because…” (why)
Example 1: You: “I feel like you’re avoiding me because I said something that bothered you and now we can’t really talk about it.”
Example 2: You: “You seem to be bored with the conversation, what’s wrong?”
Note 1: To show empathy, avoid using judgmental words such as ‘stupid’, ‘wrong’ etc. It only uncovers negative feelings and usually ends up in a conflict.
Note 2: Empathy statements also include other body language signals other than your words, such as tone of voice or facial expressions.
Tip 5: Always try to understand the perspective of people who disagree with you.
When we don’t agree with other people’s points of view, instead of criticizing them, try to seek for why they believe what they do. It helps you understand where the other person is coming from and find out if there are any aspects of their point of view that make sense or not.
Example 1: You’re arguing with your spouse about who’s going to take care of your children this weekend, but he/she insists that it should be him/her (point of view). Instead of saying “You always leave the responsibility to me!” (criticizing), say “I wish I can take care of them too, I’m feeling pretty busy lately.”
Note 1: If you come up with an understanding of his/ her point after much effort, try to figure out how much time you can afford to spare this weekend and let him/her know, but do try to avoid making the same mistakes again.
Example 2: You finally found a job offer that you think it’s suitable for you (fact). Instead of saying “I want this job!” (evaluating), say “This sounds like a good offer.”
Note 2: Never lie or make false statements, as this will only distance you from other people and cause more problems in the long run.
How it helps: When we’re too attached to our own point of view, other people feel ignored and not listened to. Knowing how to understand their point of view first helps us be receptive towards what other people have to say and stop seeing them as obstacles trying to ruin our plans.
Example 1: Your friend wants to go out Saturday night, but you already made plans with your other friends (fact). Instead of saying “No way! I am not ditching my friends for you!” (evaluating), say “My other plans sound more fun. Can we do something next weekend?”
How it helps: This guideline is all about showing empathy towards others and being considerate of their needs. Accepting that your friend also has a life outside of you will make them feel more comfortable around you and they may even come up with alternative options if it’s really important to them. On the contrary, coming off as self-absorbed instead of curious about what they have planned will only push them away, potentially ruining both of your evenings.
If you’re wondering how to talk about this guideline with your friends, just remember that the best social interactions usually involve two or more people. In fact, research has shown that being part of a group is essential for lasting friendships . It’s also important to keep in mind that not everyone likes hanging out all the time. If someone you think is cool doesn’t seem interested in spending time together, don’t take it personally, they could be busy with other things. It’s much better to trust someone who has good intentions than to try and convince them otherwise (and end up blowing it).