The Product Manager's Magic wand: Communication Skills
You must have mastered all the possible hard skills, be it the data analytics, user experience design, or digital marketing. But have you ever felt that in spite of knowing these skills, you are not able to put them forward in the correct way? Stakeholders are not getting convinced by your ideas and arguments? Lets put it this way, if you want to lead a Product Vision, you will need to know how to communicate effectively.
Here's the most interesting twist of communication's role in the Product Manager's day-to-day life: As a Product Manager, most of your day is spent in multiple meetings with the stakeholders.
It’s hard to prove the business value in spending time communicating, especially because the people you work with (developers, marketers, designers, sales, and support teams) spend more time executing than communicating, as they should.
The quality of your job is not measured by the number of user stories done during a specific sprint or the number of documents created in a week. Your job is to make your team ship the right product at the right time, make the marketers project it in the right way to the users, which in turn will make your users value your product more.
HOW STEVE JOBS DID IT?
The phases of communication in any Product Manager's day-to-day life,
Communicating with Customers
Communicating with Stakeholders
Communicating with other teams
Whomsoever you are communicating with, you need to keep your audience Hooked and Engaged in your conversation. And for the audience to stay engaged, they want to hear a story that will benefit their interest. For example, an increase in revenue will be the stakeholder's interest, an increase in conversions will be the sales team's interest and the addition of ideal features will be the customer's interest.
As Steve Jobs said, The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values, and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.
Let's take an example of the 2001 iPod Launch Event which according to Steve Jobs was a QUANTUM LEAP IN LISTENING TO MUSIC. In his storytelling, he followed 3 basic steps,
and here we will discuss those steps in the execution in his words.
1. He discussed the "Ideal Future" where the iPod will be placed perfectly,
In his words, "Music is part of everyone's life. Music's been around forever, it will always be around". Here he tried to build an Emotional Connection with the audience's interest of listening to music.
2. He stated the Present day's issues which the iPod attempts to solve,
He compared the then ways to buy portable music in simple terms, Price, number of songs, and price per song. Notice the simple and relatable metrics used to tell his optimistic story.
He tried to motivate the audience to believe in iPod just because the price per song was the cheapest in Hard Drives.
3. He explained how the iPod will solve the Present day's issues,
In his words, "iPod is an MP3 music player, has CD-quality music and it plays all the popular formats of digital music. Your entire music library fits in your pockets". The audience here got a ray of passion and optimism in with the thought of using an iPod forever. The audience's interest in carrying their WHOLE music library with them every time was addressed so beautifully.
Being a good communicator will help you become the greatest leader. It’s important to communicate with trust and empathy because a lot of people are going to be looking at you to know what’s next. They need to know that everything’s happening for a good reason, and to be bought into your vision. That's where the Product Manager comes into the picture.