We are now going to talk about the principles of good communication when it comes to product management. We will shortly discuss how to apply these principles in both written communication and meetings / verbal communication.

The first point I want to discuss is knowing your audience, which dovetails nicely with our previous discussion about stakeholder management. You can think of this as a mini exercise in stakeholder management as we identify who we are communicating with and how to speak to them to get what we need from them, and they, in turn, get what they need from us.

In other words, know your audience. Know who you are writing to. How you write a memo to be consumed by everyone at a 10,000 person company will be wildly different than a memo sent to executive leadership. How you run standup for a group of engineers will differ from a gathering of product managers.

What you want from them

A big part of the audience you are speaking with is knowing what you want from them. Being simply informational is okay if that is explicitly what you want, but make sure you are intentional that it is what you want. Frequently you actually hope for more than just being informational: you want sponsorship, investment, resources, etc. If that is the case, be explicit, or at least tactical, about your communication and lead your audience to your conclusion so that you get out of it what you are looking for.

Opportunities for discovery

Another critical element is to make sure you are exploring what you don't know from your audience. By highlighting what you know and what you are looking for, you can entice your audience to help you clarify what you want and what is needed. A good example of this could be:

"We are working on feature X, but we do not yet know what technical problems are there." By highlighting points of unknowns, you can invite your audience to help share the context you are looking for.