PRODUCTHEAD: Communication toolkit recap

PRODUCTHEAD: Communication toolkit recap

PRODUCTHEAD is a regular newsletter of product management goodness,
curated by Jock Busuttil.

million dollar product


In case you missed it: recap of the communication toolkit

a favour: please share this with other product people

every PRODUCTHEAD edition is online for you to refer back to


Just a quick one for you this week as I’m also working on a longer form article for I Manage Products.

In the article I’ll be looking at billion dollar platforms, the ingredients for their success, and what you need to make your platform product a success also. I’ll publish it on the website on Wednesday morning (UK time). If you’d like it delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for the separate, long-form mailing over on I Manage Products.

Moving on — while everyone was on their summer vacation, you may have missed a series of PRODUCTHEAD editions covering one of the most important skill sets for a product manager: communication.

There are five skills in the toolkit:

1. Active listening

2. How to read more effectively

3. Writing for the needs of your audience

4. Efficient note-taking

5. Presenting to inform, educate and entertain

As always, for each topic you’ll find my usual article coupled with the links to other great content I’ve curated for you. It’s always worth brushing up on the fundamentals.

Speak to you soon,


what to think about this week

Active listening

» Being a better listener can improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate

» Psychological safety partly depends on your team feeling they are being listened to

Communication toolkit #1

[PRODUCTHEAD / I Manage Products]

How to read more effectively

» Read a format that suits you best, whether physical or digital

» As you read, ask yourself questions of the content to keep yourself engaged with it

» Analytical reading allows you to understand, then accept or reject the key idea being presented

» F-shaped reading occurs on web content because people are short on time or engagement

Communication toolkit #2

[PRODUCTHEAD / I Manage Products]

Writing for the needs of your audience

» What you write online is there to serve the users’ needs

» Writing for the web = using short sentences

» People read differently on the web than they do on paper

» Tools exist to help make your writing easier to understand

Communication toolkit #3

[PRODUCTHEAD / I Manage Products]

Efficient note-taking

» A mind map is helpful for noting non-linear information

» The Cornell note-taking method can be useful for learning

» Sketchnotes allow more effective visual communication

Communication toolkit #4

[PRODUCTHEAD / I Manage Products]

Presenting to inform, educate and entertain

» Story structure and the right content give your presenting more impact

» Try to create presentations that captivate, not subdue

» A perception audit helps narrow the gap between how you perceive yourself and how others see you

» Good breathing technique when speaking both calms you and produces a better sound

Communication toolkit #5

[PRODUCTHEAD / I Manage Products]

recent posts

An exercise in stakeholder alignment

When your stakeholders each have their own interpretations of the product strategy, this lack of stakeholder alignment will cause you no end of problems. Here’s what you can do about it.

A practical exercise you can run

[I Manage Products]

The 4 unintended side-effects of risk aversion and what to do about them

When we become more worried about risk, four unintended things also tend to happen: bottlenecking, erosion of trust, ossification of process, and a risk appetite that tends towards zero. Here’s what you can do about them.

It’s all about the safety net

[I Manage Products]

The agency trap

How can product management fit into an agency business model when requirements or specifications are often contractually set in stone by the client up-front? Spoiler alert: not easily

Product company or agency?

[I Manage Products]

can we help you?

Product People is a product management services company. We can help you through consultancy, training and coaching. Just contact us if you need our help!

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Helping people build better products, more successfully, since 2012.

PRODUCTHEAD is a newsletter for product people of all varieties, and is lovingly crafted from piles of second-hand books.

Read more from Jock

The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management book cover

The Practitioner's Guide To Product Management

by Jock Busuttil

“This is a great book for Product Managers or those considering a career in Product Management.”

— Lyndsay Denton

Jock Busuttil is a freelance head of product, product management coach and author. He has spent over two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, which provides product management consultancy, coaching and training. Its clients include BBC, University of Cambridge, Ometria, Prolific and the UK’s Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS). Jock holds a master’s degree in Classics from the University of Cambridge. He is the author of the popular book The Practitioner’s Guide To Product Management, which was published in January 2015 by Grand Central Publishing in the US and Piatkus in the UK. He writes the blog I Manage Products and weekly product management newsletter PRODUCTHEAD. You can find him on Mastodon, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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