January 2019: Toastmasters Tips and Discussions

    Project Management Toastmasters Clubs - Tips and Discussions

    Quote: "Those who tell the stories rule the world” – Native American Proverb

    Toastmaster International's "90 Tips From 90 Years"

    1. Learn about your personal leadership style. Everyone has a different leadership style. What’s yours? Learn about your leadership style and embrace the positive attributes and make an action plan to change the negative.


    How to Build Your Confidence

    One thing successful leaders have in common is CONFIDENCE.  Confidence can be practiced and improved upon. Toastmasters is an ideal environment to practice and grow your skills.

    • Make daily efforts: Break your skill development goal into small steps & practice on manageable chunks. Make practice a habit!
    • Build skills before you need them: Remember that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Focus your practice on desired areas of improvement. 
    • Practice new skills and prepare for success through volunteering: Confidence comes to you faster when you practice in a low-risk volunteer environment. Volunteering allows you to learn to work more effectively with diverse groups of people.  You will expand your network of contacts as well.
    • Work through learning curves: The experience you gain recovering from small failures compounds over time. The ongoing feedback Toastmasters offers will help you identify where you need to grow and how to do it.  Building your skills to a deep level of mastery does not happen overnight. With practice you will develop a deeper awareness of yourself, leading to greater confidence.


    What To Do When Your Train of Thought is Derailed

    Losing your train of thought in a presentation can happen to anyone.  Having Recovery Tactics in place will greatly reduce your anxiety, and may allow you to recover without discovery.  Proactively practice these Recovery Tactics before they are needed:

    • Pause: Catch your breath. The Audience will likely think the pause was for effect.
    • Maintain eye contact: While paused, maintaining eye contact with one person may be calming.
    • Rewind: Repeat the last sentence or phrase. This may trigger your memory. 
    • Fast-forward: Jump ahead to content you do remember. The audience will not be aware of content not spoken.
    • Take a sip of water: You will look in control and relaxed.
    • Go to the next slide: Slides may server as a teleprompter. Avoid reading every word.
    • Smile: Smile like you have a secret, and just look at the audience.
    • Have prepared backup content: A short relevant anecdote is a good way to adjust timing.
    • Get the audience involved: Initiate a short Q&A session.
    • Proactively practice a “blanking” recovery plan: It’s like a disaster drill for public speaking.


    “Build Your Confidence” Excerpted from December 2018 Toastmasters Magazine by Jill J. Johnson

    “What Was I Saying” Excerpted from December 2018 Toastmasters Magazine by Diane Windingland

    You can learn more about telling your stories at a Project Management Toastmasters Club! 

    Project Management Toastmasters clubs are open to all, but members are predominately professional project managers. Houston Area Project Management Toastmasters Clubs are sponsored by PMI Houston and aligned with the goals of PMI International.   Certified PMPs receive Professional Development Units (PDUs) for participation.   

    Happy New Year: The Future of Project Management

    By: Tom Goebel, PMI Houston Director of Communications

    Happy New Year!

    It’s hard to believe we’ve put another year under our belts. And Project Management Institute is celebrating its 50th birthday this year! PMI was founded in 1969 to bring standardization to a rapidly evolving field and to provide a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas.

    Project Management as a practice arose in response to needs that emerged in the 1960s in various industries: aerospace, medicine, finance. Yet, despite the perceived need for standards and credentials, the first Project Management Professional (PMP) certification was not issued until 1984. Others followed, and PMI now offers eight different certifications!

    How about the next 50 years? Where do we go from here? The industrialized and organizational world is changing, and it’s hard not to imagine that much about the field of Project Management will change with it. For starters, online connectivity will create a huge impact as onsite work is minimized. As meeting and communication tools improve, many projects in the future will be run remotely.

    Speaking of computing, many aspects of IT – including some that didn’t even exist a couple of decades ago - are requiring the involvement of project managers. Cybersecurity is a burgeoning field. While conducting the project, the project manager also acts as the conduit between customer and provider. For highly technical projects, an understanding translator and stakeholder manager is required. The same is true for Artificial Intelligence projects. The diligent project manager can now speak ‘Technical’.

    Not long ago, I encountered a classified ad for a job in Project Management. The job was in Sales. My first instinct was to laugh at the absurdity of it all. After all, we PMPs have been told that sales is antithetical to project management (which, as every first-year project manager knows, is about activities that clearly have a beginning and an end). But as I thought more about it, I realized that while sales is an ongoing process and therefore doesn’t seemingly qualify as project management, each sale can be viewed as a project in and of itself. Each sale can be viewed as having a beginning and an end, with financial, scheduling, and scope objectives. I mention this because this is one of the ways that our profession is changing: the very definition of project is undergoing change.

    But while our understanding of what constitutes a project may change, the underlying processes that make up good project governance or management remain firm. In other words, those skills we learned to earn our PMP certification are as valid today as they were twenty years ago, and will continue to be so. Project definitions and make-up may change, but the solid principles that allow a project manager to conduct a project remain.

    These are the principles that will guide PMI and project managers over the next fifty years.

    Bring it on!