Project Management

4 Simple Ways to Personalize Project Communications

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and project manager living and working in London. She runs The Otobos Group, a project communications consultancy specializing in project management.

Never send another email that ends up unread. With a few personalization techniques in your toolkit, your project communications will be so much more effective. Ready to learn how?

Have you ever received an email from a vendor or recruitment agency that starts, “Hey there!” and goes on to offer you a whitepaper or something? My default response is, “No thanks, company that doesn’t even know my name.” Into the trash you go.

You are at risk of evoking the same response with your project communications. “All hands” messages or “Dear team” emails (argh, I sent one of those this morning) lack personalization. And they just might end up in the trash.

In Yes! 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion, Goldstein, Martin and Cialdini write about the diffusion of responsibility that happens when personalization is absent. They give the example of a doctor who wanted someone to cover his shift while he attended a wedding. The doctor was respected and liked, and had covered for colleagues in the past. So why did no one volunteer to help?

“By sending out the mass e-mail in a way that made visible the large number of colleagues being asked, no one felt personally responsibility for helping—instead, they all probably assumed that someone else on the list would agree to help,” the authors write.

If the …


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If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

- Jack Handey