Project Management

How to Prevent 5 Common Communication Mistakes

PMI Toronto Chapter

Bruce is the founder of, a resource for growing IT project managers.

Communication mistakes are one of the fastest ways to crash your project. Make the wrong comment during a tense meeting, and you might have to spend the next day in damage control. Even worse, poor communication sometimes creates quiet resentment and resistance. That's the bad news—communication is a delicate art, and there are countless ways to get it wrong.

There is good news, however. By using the stoic discipline of premeditatio malorum (premeditation of evils) or negative visualization, you can imagine communication problems in advance. This process lets you avoid mistakes. To inform your planning, review these top five mistakes.

Communication Mistakes to Avoid as a PM

1. Overemphasizing communication speed: Digital culture places tremendous emphasis on speed. That's partially because digital tools can operate quickly. However, speed is not always the right solution. Some time ago, I made this mistake myself. I was attempting to complete some time-sensitive email based upon a form letter. The letter was going out to very senior managers at Fortune 500 firms. Unfortunately, I copied and pasted the text of the email without thoroughly reviewing it.

The result was a bit embarrassing—I referred to Company ABC in my email to Company XYZ. Yikes!

To counterbalance excessive communication speed, I recommend these techniques:

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