March 2019: Project Management Toastmasters Clubs - Tips and Discussions

Posted by admin on 02/28/2019 3:36 pm  /   Toastmasters

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"

37. Be Passionate.

Find topics that mean a lot to you. If you are asked to speak to a topic that you don’t feel connected with, look for a connection that interests you.  Find something that you can take away from the message.


Who Are You Targeting and Why

  • When speaking, Focus on the audience above all else.
  • If we don’t connect with the audience, there is no reason to be there.
  • We can only engage our audience if we relate to their interests. And we can only relate to their interests, if we consider who they are.
  • Before developing a presentation, consider the purpose of the presentation. Do you want your audience to take action, accept an idea you are presenting or be entertained?


Questions are a Speaker’s Best Tool

  • Think of questions as the Swiss Army knife of presenting.
  • Questions foster engagement and move the audience out of passive listener mode.
    • Rhetorical questions build intrigue, and prompt the audience to think about an issue.
    • Polling questions make the audience part of your point. The become engaged.
    • “What if” questions inquiring about a possible future, or a historical past root your presentation in time. They focus attention in a certain time period.
  • Here are three ways to use questions to improve your speech:
    • Ask yourself, “What does my audience need to hear from me?” Instead of viewing speaking as a performance, think of it as being in service to your audience’s needs.
    • Outline your talk using rhetorical questions as prompts for what you need to say. This will make your presentation more conversational.  Conversational delivery is often better remembered by audiences.
    • Ask yourself a “back pocket” question to give yourself a break. A reserve question can serve to re-center your speech and wake up the audience if needed.


Drop those Crutches

  • Learn to let go of the ‘ahs, ums’ and other crutches or filler words that are bad habits.
  • The best way to change a habit is to replace it with another behavior.
  • Embrace the Pause, Slow down and Know where you are going. If your speech is more intentional, you will not have to pull out your crutches.
  • Practice! Record yourself, if possible, so you can recognize your bad habits.



“Who are you Targeting” Excerpted from January 2019 Toastmasters Magazine by Dan Strum

“A Speaker’s Best Tool” Excerpted from January 2019 Toastmasters Magazine by Matt Abrahams

“Drop those Crutches” Excerpted from February 2019 Toastmasters Magazine by Joel Schwartzberg


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.   

Comfortable Customers

Posted by admin on 02/28/2019 3:33 pm  /   Professional Interest

By Jeff Meyer, PMI Houston Contributor

Customer relations are becoming a more significant attribute in the Project Management toolset. 

The outcome of your project is not as simple as putting the square peg in the square hole, but rather comes with completion to the satisfaction of your customer. The lack of satisfaction could even be at a stage in which the project might be considered incomplete. Having a good relationship with your client is an important tool to weld in satisfying your customer, creating client confidence and securing the next project.

Our interpersonal skills have adapted to today’s age. Communication is now a key component to having a good relationship with your customer and making them comfortable with you in charge.

With advancements in technology, we are now able to communicate with groups of people all over the world. Specifically, with a focus on customer service, we need to optimize all the benefits these technologies afford us.

Conference calls can allow individuals or a group to call into another group and provide communication across the board. Skype, Webex, and GoToMeeting are a few communication programs being used today. Most even have video conferencing features which can help empower the human aspect in communication and strengthen the relationship bond between the project manager and the customer. Video conferences can also provide important body language cues which could be missed on simple voice calls.

Physical proximity to your customer is one of the best ways to communicate. You get all the benefits of body language but an even more in tuned focus on their undivided attention. It’s always much harder to give a negative answer to someone in person than not, so this is not only a great way to deliver bad news but also a good way to strive to get the answer you wanted.

Never underestimate the power of the human touch. Studies show that actually touching a person, like a handshake, a hug, or even a fist bump, makes them feel closer to you and is a great way energize those bonds with a customer.

Another great way to bond with your client is to seek some recreational time. It doesn’t always have to be work. Spending a little leisure time with your customer will go leaps into building a quality relationship. In much the same way as you may go on team building exercises with your staff, you can do the same with your client or even something as simple as an offsite lunch. Increasing your customer’s ‘casual factor’ with you increases their opinion of how they feel about you.

It’s easy for a project manager to get wrapped up in the operations of the project, as we are eager to see the more mechanical pieces fall into place. However, we must be open to nurturing our relationship with our customers as well.

Always remember that the customer is not just buying the outcome of the project, they are also ‘buying’ you to perform it.

Rice University: Project Management Professional Development Is Available At the Glasscock School of Continuing Studies at Rice University

Posted by amc on 02/05/2019 9:49 am  /   Sponsor

Are you interested in enhancing your professional growth by adding the knowledge, efficiencies, and tools of project management? Rice University’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies is offering three project management classes this spring to help you advance your career.


Strategic Project Management (online and on-demand)

Discover how to apply strategic thinking to step beyond traditional project management and fulfill overarching business goals in this short course. Learn More.

On-demand, Feb. 20-April 10


Fundamentals of Project Management

Whether you are new to project management, experienced but lack formal structure or a business professional seeking to improve your skills, the Project Management Fundamentals course provides you with the practical knowledge and tools that you can apply immediately to increase your personal success and the success of your projects. Learn More.

Mondays and Wednesdays, April 15-May 8, 6-9 p.m.


Registration is now available. If you have any questions, please contact a member of our professional development team by calling x6167 or email [email protected].