Project Management Toastmasters Clubs - Tips and Discussions

Posted by amc on 09/29/2016 11:05 am  

Project Management Toastmasters Clubs - Tips and Discussions 

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

Tip 7. Relax.?Breathe and stretch before taking the stage. Pause for a few seconds, smile and count to three before speaking.???  



I would like to challenge the audience to submit their favorite nuggets mined from their personal journey or favorite authors.  Send your favorites to [email protected] for inclusion in a future newsletter. 

My favorite nuggets of personal wisdom come from Stephen Covey's best seller "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" 

  1. Be proactive 

  1. Begin with the end in mind 

  1. Put first things first 

  1. Think win-win 

  1. Seek first to understand, then to be understood 

  1. Synergize 

  1. Sharpen the saw 

  • Habits?1, 2 and?3?are focused on self-mastery and moving from dependence to independence. 

  • Habits?4,5 and?6?are focused on developing teamwork, collaboration, and communication skills, and moving from independence to interdependence. 

  • Habit?7?is focused on continuous growth and improvement, and embodies all the other habits. 



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.??? 

Visit a Project Management Toastmasters meeting to discover the benefits of membership!? 

Houston Galleria Project Management Toastmasters? 

North Houston Project Management Toastmasters? 

Southwest Houston Project Management Toastmasters? 

Woodlands Project?Management Toastmasters? 

Houston Baptist University? 

Denny's Restaurant? 

Schlumberger Sugar Land Campus? 

Sam Houston State University? 

Atwood 2 Bldg, Rm 202?? 

7502 Fondren Rd? 

Houston, Tx 77074? 

12697 Gessner Rd? 

Houston,Tx? 77064? 

South of FM 1960 off FM249? 

The Forum? 

210 Schlumberger Dr? 

Sugar Land, Tx? 77478? 

3380 College Park Drive, 4th Floor? 

The Woodlands, Tx? 77384? 

1st, 3rd & 5th Wednesdays? 

6:15pm - Networking? 

6:45pm - Meeting Starts? 

1st, 3rd & 5th Tuesdays? 

6:00pm - Networking? 

6:30pm - Meeting Starts? 

2nd & 4th Wednesdays? 

6:15pm - Networking? 

6:30pm - Meeting Starts? 

2nd and 4th Tuesdays? 

6:15pm - 8:00pm? 


Managing Up at the Southwest Venue

Posted by amc on 09/29/2016 10:57 am  

Managing Up at the Southwest Venue  

By Petar Vlasic, Southwest Venue Ambassador 

If managing ourselves can at times be hard, and managing our employees and their various personalities, skills, talents, and goals can sometimes make us want to pull our hair out; well then, managing our supervisors might appear to be a rather insurmountable task. That is at least what we often subconsciously might tell ourselves when we are faced with having to drive our bosses to make a decision or otherwise help us push our projects along to completion, the topic covered at the August Southwest Venue Meeting at Schlumberger’s Campus in Sugarland, presented by Margaret Johnson of Ideal Training, Inc.  

Keeping in line with the Southwest Venue trends, this informative session was filled with activities to help illustrate points, including a game of Red Light Green Light aimed at determining our risk tolerance. So just what is managing up partnership and how do we do it?   

First and foremost, our partnering with our boss starts through establishing trust with our boss through consistency, integrity, communication, and consideration. Once mutual trust exists, partnership can start growing.  

Second phase in this partnership consists of understanding our and our bosses’ strengths and weaknesses.  

Third aspect of our partnership is to understand each other’s work styles and expectations so we understand how to fulfill our duties.  

Finally, we learned that communication plays a major role in our ability to partner with our boss. We must communicate efficiently if we are to successfully go through all the partnering steps.   

The August meeting was a great success.  We look forward to more awesome times rest of this year and we would love to see you there. We meet third Wednesday of each month, so come and join us for more sweet time filled with great speakers, learning, and networkingAll you have to do is register at and come to the Schlumberger Forum at 210 Schlumberger Drive, Sugar Land, TX  77478Parking and snacks are free for all attendees! 

How I Do It: Communication Tools & Tips

Posted by amc on 09/29/2016 10:53 am  

How I Do It:  Communication Tools & Tips 

By Elizabeth Harrin, Director of Otobos Consultants, Ltd. and Founder of “A Girl’s Guide to Project Management”  

I wanted to tell you how I run stakeholder communications on my projects (I’ve also covered?the ‘how’ of stakeholder comms before). Not because I have amazing results from the strategies I use or anything, but because it’s always interesting to find out how other people do it. 

Communication Strategy #1: Meetings 

I don’t avoid meetings. In?a recent discussion on commented that the goal should be no meetings, but I don’t think that’s feasible or realistic on the projects I do. 

However, I do aim for as short as possible and as infrequently as possible. In reality 45 minutes once a week is my norm. I don’t remember the last time I had a regular team meeting face-to-face. With a team split all over the place we do them on the phone. 

If you have good collaboration tools, then maybe you can get away with fewer meetings as long as your tools are adopted and really do meet the needs of the team in terms of working together. 

I do tailor project meetings to the stage of the project. We have more meetings with more senior stakeholders in the early days, and then again towards the close. In the middle it’s more operational meetings to keep the project moving on. I include these because I feel strongly that the project team is also a stakeholder group in the project, so they need the same consideration and respect around project comms as anyone else. 

I talked more about how I split my time and who gets communications when in?this article about engaging stakeholders. 

Communication Strategy #2: Phone 

As I mentioned above, I use the phone a lot for team meetings. Having said that, I rarely text stakeholders. I’ll reply to texts but I don’t ever really think about them as a first choice when I need to say something. 

On days where I need to get a lot done I will default to the phone, but generally my personal communication preference is… 

Communication Strategy #3: Email 

I love email. I don’t love the feeling of?information overload?when my inbox spills over 100 messages, but I do love email. 

I’m a writer. What would you expect? I type quickly too. 

So: Email, Phone or Other? 

I choose based on what’s easiest for me but also on what I’m communicating. 

You should define what the message is, who it is going to and then work out the best way of getting the message across. 

Don’t let people tell you that you shouldn’t ever use a particular way of communicating. No way is inherently bad for communicating but you should bear in mind that they are all good for different things. 

Getting the Tone Right 

I try to adopt a professional and polite tone, erring on the friendly. I can pull out my stern voice for when actions aren’t getting done. It’s the same one I use for when my preschoolers draw on the dining room walls with chalk. 

It really depends on what I want to achieve and who I’m talking (or writing) to. 

You know your team members best and the right tone for your communication heavily depends on the culture of the organisation. 

Other?Comms Tools I Use 

Here’s a picture of the other types of communication tools that I have used on projects, today and in the past. 


Basically, I try to use loads of methods because it’s more interesting for me and more relevant for the people receiving the messages. 

Plus, different methods give you different feedback loops, because communication isn’t a one-way thing. You’ll get more feedback from a presentation than a desk drop (that’s a paper leaflet you leave on someone’s desk the morning a change goes in or a project goes live, telling them what’s new), so again, it depends on what I am trying to communicate and who to. 

Communications to Persuade 

Most of what I’ve said so far is fine if you are just generally briefing people, or managing the day-to-day stuff on projects. You need to take a slightly different approach when trying to persuade people. 

I’ve had a chequered track record in the persuasion stakes, from managing just fine to failing miserably and on one notable-for-the-wrong-reasons occasion pulling rank when my persuasion techniques didn’t work. Not my finest leadership moment. 

I try to look at what’s in it for them, seeing the situation from their point of view. It’s no different to persuading a toddler to go to bed, although I’m failing pretty badly on that right now too. 

There’s also a distinction to be made on some projects between persuading and telling. Depending on the project I sometimes do find myself in situations where I can tell someone that’s how it is going to be. If you are working on a mandatory, legal or regulatory project then you may find yourself in a similar place. 

If you need to convince someone to help out with a task then you are persuading. Things I have tried when persuading that work OK: 

  • Getting their line manager involved and supportive of the task. 

  • Stressing the benefits of the training, experience, exposure, learning opportunity, networking etc that the project will offer them. 

  • Avoiding being patronising (but you’d do that anyway, in all comms, wouldn’t you?). If they don’t understand, explain rather than roll your eyebrows. Even if you are doing it for the 50th 

  • Avoiding jargon and talking “their language”. 

  • Thinking about what you can offer them in exchange. 

It really helps to know what motivates the individual(s) if you have the time to work that out. Often I don’t but I can guess. 

My Stakeholder Communication Tips 

The two top tips I have for you based on my experience at talking to hundreds (thousands??) of stakeholders in my years of managing projects are: 

Communicate the benefits.?Constantly reiterate the benefits of the project and the value that your project is adding to the company. Do this in language that stakeholders understand, using terms and reference points that are relevant to them. 

Communicate more than you think you have to.?It’s very hard to communicate too much. If you’ve ever had someone ask you a question and think, “We covered that in the team meeting last month!” or, “Didn’t they read the email?” then you’ll know where I am coming from. People are busy and often the comms you send won’t reach them at a convenient time. Do it over and over again and try to stop before people think you are boring. 


Elizabeth Harrin is Director of?Otobos Consultants Ltd, a consultancy that focuses on project management copywriting. We help people tell the story of their project more effectively. 

A Girl’s Guide to Project Management is an award-winning blog.? It won the Project Management category of the Computer Weekly IT Blog Awards in 2008, 2009 and 2010.? In 2010 I was also named?Computer Weekly’s Blogger of the Year?and in 2011 I was named Computer Weekly’s?IT Professional Blogger of the Year.