Email and phone to eliminate unproductive project management email

Email ping pong is a term that you may have heard of. It’s when people continue asking questions or commenting on an email thread. This is frustrating in most cases. There is an alternative: picking up the telephone. If you’re used to managing project communications in Microsoft Project or SharePoint, you’ll be amazed at what you can do with the phone. These questions will only get worse if you try to answer them via email.
1. Handling actual (or perceived) conflict One example is that a legal stakeholder might be concerned with risk management, while a technology stakeholder may be more concerned about increasing productivity. By calling an upset stakeholder and talking for a few minutes, many project management conflicts can be solved or reduced.
2. Answering Multiple QuestionsOh no! A half-dozen complex questions about your project were just sent to you in an email. You might even think, “I don’t even know what some acronyms mean!” It is possible that they just want to reassure you about the project. A five-minute phone call can often eliminate the need to write a 500-word email.
3. Ambiguous Comments From Management or Project SponsorsUnfortunately, project sponsors are often unable to focus exclusively on your project. Some executives manage multiple projects, while others are also involved in managing their staff.
This is why project sponsors and executives sometimes give vague feedback and suggestions. If this happens, it is a good idea to call or talk to the project sponsor as soon as possible to get clarification. It is a worthwhile investment to improve your communication skills. Although technical skills may help you succeed early in your career. Communication becomes more important as your career progresses.
Bio: Bruce Harpham is the author of Project Management Hacks (, a resource that provides ideas you can use in the office tomorrow.
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