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Giving a project update

Gilly Meek, Accredited Think on Your Feet® Trainer

Project updates are a key part of landing projects successfully – it’s really important to keep stakeholders updated on progress. The way you deliver your updates can be the difference between your stakeholders feeling comfortable and confident that you are on the ball versus them left feeling nervous that things are not going to plan.  

So, you therefore really need to consider how we give updates and make sure you do so in the best possible way.  

However, it can often be hard to know where to begin when someone stops us in the corridor and says “`How are things going with your project?”  

It’s also quite common to be invited to meetings to give an update on a project.  This however can often lead to long drawn out conversations, because:

  • there was no clear focus;
  • there wasn’t enough preparation, or;
  • the audience and the information they want to hear wasn’t considered.

Our Think on Your Feet® techniques are really powerful for giving project updates.   And this is how it all works:

  1. Consider what information you plan to give?
    Firstly, you need to decide what elements of the project you plan to update on. You can either pick these elements by considering what your listener will be most interested to know about or consider what pieces of information you most need to deliver. 

  2. Structure your updates
    Rather than just ramble on without any structure, it’s a great idea to structure your project updates. In Think on Your Feet® we using “Plans”.  

    Plans are structures we can use to package our information around. So rather than just giving a long flow of information, instead we might structure our update around three key messages or have three key sections in our update.  

  3. Consider key milestones or time frames
    A really great way to deliver project updates is to reference key milestones or time frames. For example, you could talk about where things are at this week, next week and the week after. Or you could talk about what is happening about milestone one, milestone two and milestone three.  

    Choosing key milestones/time frames and structuring your communication around this, will give the impression to your stakeholder that you are on top of things. In our Think on Your Feet® workshop, we practice giving project updates and then responding to unanticipated questions.  

Project updates are such an important element of most people’s roles, yet the majority of us don’t really give much thought to how we are giving these updates and the impression we are creating. Maybe you need to take some time to consider your communication. It will pay off. 

Find out more about Think on Your Feet® here:

  We also offer project and stakeholder management workshops:

More about Gilly Meek Gilly is an accredited Think on Your Feet®, Lateral Thinking™, Six Thinking Hats®, The Skilled Presenter™ and Stakeholder Engagement (including Simulation)™ trainer and has delivered these workshops to numerous clients. Gilly also trains in Management Skills, Negotiation Skills, Facilitation Skills‎, Impact & Influence and Time-Management.