Are you Listening to me or Hearing me?


By Alfonso Bucero

Madrid, Spain

Communication is a critical skill for project managers. Some leaders are able to listen to and other people are always hearing instead of listening to their membership. Some project managers do not spend enough time understanding how they communicate to his project team and rest of project stakeholders. Effective communication among team members is a key for project success. Because of time unavailability many people use written communication much more that verbal, but many times we are not conscious about body language communication is more than 65%. I learned, over the years that not all project managers are conscious about the amount messages he/she may transmit to their people with his body language; and mainly how those messages may affect them positively or negatively.

To communicate well and being a good listener is not easy but it is not impossible, it takes time, learning from your mistakes and practice, practice and practice. In my experience as a project manager I consider effective communication skills are a critical element in your career as a project manager. We all must use a variety of communication techniques to both understand and be understood. If we want to be effective we need to assess our communication skills periodically.

Have you thought about what are your communication goals in the project you are managing?

Probably your goals are related to: change people behavior, or to get action, to ensure understanding, to persuade some team members or stakeholders or perhaps to get and give information. In any case you always will have some distortions in communications:

There are several factors that affect the sender and the receiver in Communication. For example when we talk about the sender we need to take into account willingness, time, location, cost/consequences, competition. When we talk about the receiver we need to take into account cost/consequences, role expectations, behavior consistency, sensitivity, timing, appropriateness, belief systems, motivating factors. What is true is that we need to improve our communication as 70% of our communication efforts are: misunderstood, misinterpreted, rejected, distorted or not heard.


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About the Author

Alfonso Bucero


Alfonso Bucero, DEA, PMP, PMI Fellow, is founder and Managing Partner of BUCERO PM Consulting, based in Madrid.  Alfonso was the founder, sponsor and president of the PMI Barcelona Chapter until April 2005, and belongs to PMI’s LIAG (Leadership Institute Advisory Group).  He was also the President of the PMI Madrid Spain Chapter. Alfonso has a Computer Science Engineering degree from Universidad Politécnica in Madrid and is studying for his Ph.D. in Project Management. He has 29 years of practical experience and is actively engaged in advancing the PM profession in Spain and throughout Europe. Alfonso is a contributing editor and international correspondent for PM World in Spain.  Alfonso Bucero can be contacted at [email protected].