Series Introduction


Communicating Projects – The Series
Article 1

By Ann Pilkington

The PR Academy

United Kingdom

Nobody would argue that good communication is essential for project success, but what does good communication look like?

During the coming months I aim to challenge a few common perceptions about communication, explain why communication on projects is different and set out what good communication looks like.

One of the things that really frustrates me is the notion that communication is a “soft skill”. It’s one of the perceptions that I am going to be challenging. Good communication is grounded in research, sets outcome objectives and provides evidence of its success – that’s actually quite hard!

I’m a communicator, not a project manager, but I have tremendous respect and enthusiasm (yes really!) for the project management discipline. It’s why I put pen to paper, so to speak, to write a book on topic – Communicating Projects – published by Gower.

Those of us in the world of PR and communication can benefit hugely from an understanding of project methodology and I hope to show how project managers can benefit and learn from commissioning good communication. But commissioning it requires an understanding of it and that is what we are going to be developing during the months ahead.

So, what will I be covering?

I want to start by thinking differently about communication. Projects by their very nature are about change and that calls for a particular approach to communication. Rather than “selling” the change and endeavouring to get every stakeholder being positive, let’s think about how we engage people in a genuine two way dialogue. It isn’t enough to just sell the benefits. People may rationally agree with the benefits case but if they have underlying worries – for example, security of their data in an IT change, whether or not that fear is justified, they still won’t be convinced.


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Editor’s note: This series of articles on effective project communications is by Ann Pilkington, founding director of the PR Academy (UK) and author of the book Communicating Projects published by Gower in 2013. Ann is one of the UK’s leading experts on communications; she shares her knowledge with project managers and teams around the world in this series in the PM World Journal.



 About the Author

Style: "Neutral"

Ann Pilkington

United Kingdom



Ann Pilkington
is the author of Communicating Projects published by Gower in 2013. She is a founding director of the PR Academy which provides qualifications, training and consultancy in all aspects of communication including change project communication and project management.

Information about Ann’s book, Communicating Projects, An End-to-End Guide to Planning, Implementing and Evaluating Effective Communication, can be found at http://www.gowerpublishing.com/isbn/9781409453192.

Ann can be contacted at [email protected]

To see previous articles by Ann Pilkington, visit her author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/ann-pilkington/