February 2020: Toastmasters Tips & Discussions

Posted by admin on 01/31/2020 12:04 pm  /   Toastmasters

Project Management Toastmasters Clubs

Tips and Discussions


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


  • “Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic, they are ideally set up to understand stories.” --  Roger Schank, Entrepreneur


  • “Great stories happen to those who can tell them.” – Ira Glass, NPR Radio Host and Producer


  • “I’m writing my story so that others may see fragments of themselves.” – Lena Waithe, Screenwriter


  • “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” – Rudyard Kipling, Author


From Toastmaster International's "90 Tips From 90 Years"


  1. Know the dress code.Research the culture of the audience and how they dress. Dress one level higher than the audience – typically business or business casual.


Storytelling Tips from Craig Valentine

  • Don’t just establish a conflict, escalate it.
  • Invite your audience into your scene. You might say, “Imagine you were in my shoes”.
  • Condense to connect. When you create a scene, don’t tell us everything, just tell us the main thing.
  • Come out of your story and talk to the audience. You may look into the audience and ask a question to keep them focused on active participants instead of passive spectators.
  • Make your audience curious from the beginning. Tease them before you tell them.
  • Don’t keep repeating your message. If you keep talking after you have made your point, your audience will lose interest.
  • Create characters. Use posture, positioning, and change of voice to bring characters alive.
  • Show the emotional change in your character. After you transcend your conflict, make sure your audience recognizes the transformation. If there’s no change, there’s no story.
  • Be subtle with most of what you do delivery-wise. Look up to show a child is talking to an adult.
  • With a few exceptions, keep your stories short. The longer you work on a story, the shorter it should get.


 “Using Stories to Breathe Life into Every Speech” Excerpted from December 2019 Toastmasters Magazine article by Craig Valentine


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.   

Setting Reminders Everywhere

Posted by admin on 01/31/2020 12:00 pm  /   Home Page Highlights, Spotlights

Setting Reminders Everywhere

Jeff Meyer, PMI Houston Contributor


Have you ever missed a deadline or event despite your best planning and preparation? We all have, it’s part of being human, we all make mistakes, but mistakes can be limited. Misses can be detrimental for a project manager with a critical schedule. Most people use common proactive steps, like marking calendars, using sticky notes, and setting electronic reminders, but they can still experience the occasional miss. Some less conventional reminders might assist you in meeting goals and preventing critical errors. Before you start tying a string around your finger, look at the examples below to get some ideas about what works best for you.

Arranging to have people remind you about upcoming milestones is a great way to stay sharp and is easy to incorporate into your current processes. Set up meetings to verify progress, or have people get back to you with information on details that may or may not be critical to the project; details that can help remind you to follow up on the activities associated with that piece of the project. If you cannot find a particular reason for a person to follow up with you, just ask them to get back with you and remind you. You might be surprised at how many people are willing to help you if you just ask.

For short reminders, while you are away from your desk, you can send yourself an email. This can help you gather your ideas quickly without losing focus on your current task, and allows you to return to it at a more convenient time. It also provides you with a running history of your work for future reference.

Checklists and notes are pretty conventional, but uncommon placement can be key. If you just keep notes in the “notes drawer” you will only look at them when you feel the need and they won’t serve as timely reminders. This leads to complacency eventual forgetfulness. Alternatively, if you place your notes somewhere where they can serve as a barrier requiring moving before you can proceed, this will help keep you on track. Place notes on the top of your briefcase, lunch bag, door handle, mirrors, monitors, anywhere that you cannot move on to the next step of your life before removing the note. You can also do this electronically by keeping windows or emails open until you have dealt with the issue or set up the next reminder.

Another good way to set a reminder is by association or mnemonics. Make up a rhyme or a song to help remember someone’s name, you can also use this technique to keep your projects on track. Although these pictures, words, acronyms, etc., may not really be related to the project directly, they can help you remember important milestones and triggers. For example, try naming each project phase after a different band you commonly hear on the radio and your subconscious will make a connection to help you remember later.

In summary, even a small item can seem trivial until it’s forgotten. By then, it has become a real issue and difficult to keep on top of. Different memory devices work for different people, situations, and environments. You need to figure out what works best for you. Explore your options continually and utilize as many reminders as you can. You should never stop trying to improve your processes. No project manager wants to be the one who dropped the ball and forgot to order the pizza for the pizza party.



Minutes with Marisela: Obsolete Change Management Models

Posted by admin on 01/31/2020 11:53 am  /   Home Page Highlights, Spotlights

Minutes With Marisela


Dr. Marisela Jiménez

When was the last time you took the time to review your organization’s systems? No, I’m not referring to technology systems but human capital systems.  I’m talking about people in your organization and their thinking systems that influence the organization’s overall performance.  In a recent review of consulting companies, I discovered that many consultants are still using outdated change management models with their clients.  Why are outdated change management models still used by many consulting companies?  Every industry is changing, and the volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity, and global competition are defying the most robust companies.  Many leaders in most organizations seem unable to create and execute visionary and sustainable business strategies, and as a result, the organization’s economic value and human capital talent capabilities dimish.

To help leaders proactively engender their organization, the following  21st Century Organizational Change Model is recommended:

ABC Change Management Model

  1. Leaders must review their Thinking Systems that derail organizational capabilities and be savvy in leveraging empirical solutions comprised of Human Capital with technical and soft skills aligned with the business's future needs.

  2. Leaders must fully know the organization’s future business needs and evaluate current systems to strategically align emerging market demands.

  3. Leaders must consider demographics of the emerging workforce, review organizational benchmarks, and establish relevant learning systems aligned with present and future organizational strategic goals.