Yes. I am going to repeat it.
Communication is one of the most essential skills for a product manager.
Today, I talk about a scenario that product managers frequently face: informing / updating stakeholders about a critical issue.
Every time there is a problem that impacts business, product managers need to communicate all the details about the issue, impact, and resolution to a large audience, including the c-suite.
The below guide highlights the common mistakes that product managers make and the tricks to avoid them.
What to do instead
Always know your audience.
Communication is alway between two parties: the sender and the receiver. Remember: the receiver, not the sender, decides the effectiveness of the message.
Decide the tone, length of the message, and level of detail based on who your audience is.
A CXO might not be interested in the specifics of who is fixing the issue, but she will be very interested to know the impact and the time required to resolve the issue.
Have a clear goal for every message.
Have a clear and single goal for each email. Always.
In our example, the goal is to inform all stakeholders about the issue.
Create a subject that clarifies the intent
According to Statista, we exchange 269 billion emails a day. If we average that across 4billion people (who have access to the internet), every person receives ~70 emails per day.
Provide enough information that allows each recipient to decide, just by reading the subject, if and how urgently they should read the email.
Write the summary first
If there is one thing you take from this guide, it is this: have the summary first; start with the main message.
Summarise the required information at the beginning. Help the readers understand the situation without reading the entire email.
Then include appropriate (but brief) details. Add links to relevant documents. Those interested should be able to get more information.
Use basic formatting rules to make reading easy
- Use lists to organise content. Use numbers when the sequence is essential, and bullets when the sequence is not relevant.
- Bold to emphasise important text. This allows readers to scan and still discover the essential sections in the message.
- Italicise to draw attention to text that is important, but not important enough to bold.
That's all for today. I hope this helps you become a better product manager.
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