There’s a lot more to project management than tasks and timelines. You’ve got clients to keep happy too.
Juggling projects and client relationships can feel stressful—but it doesn’t have to. Effective client communication can ease the pressure and set you up for project success.
The importance of client communication as a project manager
Knowing how to communicate effectively with clients helps you earn trust—a must-have for any project to succeed. But that’s not the only perk.
Effective client communication also enables you to:
- Understand the client’s perspective and build a shared vocabulary
- Align project timelines, budgets, and deliverables with client expectations
- Keep everyone up-to-date on project status
Let’s look at some simple strategies you can use to communicate better with your clients.
How to improve client communication
When it comes down to it, good client communication is all about managing expectations. Here are a few easy ways you can set clear expectations and improve your communication skills:
- Ask questions: Questions are a simple yet powerful tool you can use to ensure you’re always on the same page with your client. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter how simple or silly it seems. It shows your client you care about their input, as well as the outcome of their project.
- Present your project plan: A good plan communicates the who, what, why, when, and how of a project. Reviewing it with your client forces discussion about the details and enables you to set clear expectations before the project gets underway. It also serves as a go-to resource for questions or issues once a project launches.
- Standardize project communication methods: When everyone uses a different way to communicate about a project, details can get overlooked. Avoid this by working with your client to determine how and when certain types of information will be communicated. For example, project status might be communicated weekly via email, while risks or issues are discussed in face-to-face meetings.
- Introduce your client to communication tools: Communication and project management tools encourage collaboration and enable you to document conversations along the way. With TeamGantt’s free online gantt chart software, it’s easy to share project updates and keep all your project files and discussions in one place.
- Establish a regular cadence for communication: Being predictable may sound boring, but it’s a surefire way to calm client fears about how a project’s progressing. If your client knows they’ll receive a status report every Thursday morning, they’ll be less likely to request random updates in between.
- Set an agenda: An agenda sets clear goals and expectations for what will be accomplished in a meeting. Be sure to provide relevant documents in advance and outline assignments for agenda items so everyone comes prepared for a productive meeting.
5 simple client communication tips
If you want to be a communication superstar, you’ll need to go beyond practical tactics. Remember, communicating well is all about relating to people, so put those personal skills to use!
These 5 tips can help you interact better with clients:
- Empathize with the client. It’s easy to get so caught up in logistics you forget your client’s a real person with their own set of fears and pressures. Taking time to understand—and acknowledge—your client’s perspective can diffuse a difficult conversation and reassure your client you’ve got their best interest at heart.
- Share your knowledge of the company. Before you meet with a client to discuss a new project, do your research. Showing your client you know what their organization is about and how it works is a simple way to establish trust from the get-go.
- Send a recap. This is an easy way to let your client know you’ve listened. It also sets clear expectations for any decisions or action items covered in a meeting or conversation with your client.
- Personalize your communication. Using an email or status report template can lighten your lift when it comes to interacting with clients. Just be sure to add a few personal touches to make your client feel special. It can be as simple as incorporating the client logo into your status report or asking about their recent vacation in your weekly email. Bonus points for sending a handwritten note!
- Ask for feedback. It’s not easy to open yourself up to potential criticism. But identifying your weak spots is the best way to strengthen your skills. A little humility goes a long way in earning your client’s trust too.
Keep clients happy with TeamGantt
TeamGantt makes it easy to keep projects on track—and people in the loop—so you can win client hearts time and time again. 😍