June Toastmasters - Tips and Discussions

Posted by amc on 05/29/2018 3:08 pm  /   Toastmasters


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

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


  1. Don’t overload your slides. Keep your slides concise; don’t overload them with too many talking points.


Commencement Lessons

  • Relationships Matter> People thrive in relationships. If you do not build them over time, they will not be there.
  • Words Matter> Encourage, Uplift, Recognize, Thank others with intent. Remember how others’ words have affected you.  Take the opportunity to make a difference to others.
  • You Matter> When Einstein was asked to show his lab, he pointed to his head. Before an idea can be can be put into action, someone must think of it.


Being a Good Conversationalist Aids the Job Search

  • Good Conversation is a two-way communication. It involves all the senses including non-verbal, eye contact & interested listening
  • Aim for a 50-50 balance of talking and listening.
  • Be focused when listening and talking.
  • Open-ended questions fuel the conversation. Avoid Yes/No questions.
  • Use the WAIT (Why Am I Talking) technique to judge whether you are dominating the conversation.


Nail Your Workplace Presentation

  • Choose the Main Point of your presentation
  • Select your opening and closing to emphasize the main point of the presentation
  • Practice aloud and in real time
  • Time your presentation practice so you won’t go over the time limit
  • Remember the audience needs twice as long to digest your speech as you do to present it, so slow down and uses pauses frequently.
  • If you use notes, don’t speak while looking down at them. Deliver the information to the audience by looking at them.
  • Project your voice to the back of the room.
  • Don’t be afraid to pause.
  • Use stories to illustrate or make your point
  • With slides, explain the relevance of each slide to the story.
  • Transition gracefully to the master of ceremonies or next speaker, as appropriate.
  • If presenting online, look into the camera as much as possible, rather than at your notes or screen.
  • If presenting online, test your technology ahead of time to minimize real-time issues.


-“Being a Good Conversationalist” Excerpted from Houston Chronicle article of May 18, 2018, by Kimberly Thompson

-“In the Beginning” Excerpted from Toastmaster magazine, May 2018, authored by Will Newman

-“Nail your Workplace Presentation” Excerpted from Toastmaster magazine, May 2018, authored 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 predominantly 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.   


We’re Growing!

Posted by amc on 05/29/2018 3:05 pm  /   Spotlights

by: Tom Goebel, PMI Houston Director of Communications

PMI Houston is taking its duty to keep our members informed very seriously. Last month I told you about our efforts to increase the Chapter’s visibility through social media. We are focusing especially on Twitter and are working to make that the primary platform where members can access information quickly and easily.

The Outreach Committee is also growing. We are bringing fresh voices into our mix who are providing great ideas about how we can continue to improve our connection with the membership. I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce the two newest members of our staff.

Chizzy Menkiti is our Newsletter Content Editor. Chizzy is an IT professional working in the oil & gas industry here in Houston. She is a PMP and Agile ScrumMaster and earned a B.S. in Computer Science. She also holds an MBA from Imperial College London.

Chizzy is married and has two daughters. She has lived in Europe, Africa, and North America. Best of all, she loves to laugh! We are looking forward to her input and guidance!

Ted Vincent is our new Writer/Blogger. A native Ohioan, Ted is a PMP with experience in training, broadcasting, and presenting.  He has worked with transformation PMOs, IT projects, and SAP Enterprise Resource Planning projects. Ted will be expanding our reach by providing podcasts in addition to articles and traditional media.

Ted lives in Northwest Houston with his wife, Misty, and daughter, Gabriella.  He is an NCAA basketball referee and in his free time, he loves to play golf and perform stand-up comedy.
Please help me welcome Chizzy and Ted as we work to get information to our members via as many channels as we can. I am excited about the promise of our growing team and look forward to working together to reach PMI Houston!

Analog vs Digital

Posted by amc on 05/29/2018 2:58 pm  /   Spotlights

by: Keith Willeford, PMI Houston Content Writer

I have found myself pondering retro technologies lately.  In a country where digital technology is ubiquitous and I spent most of my waking hours staring at an electronic screen, it is refreshing to sometimes ponder older technologies.  Analog technologies, if you will.  Note: It is not a perfect dichotomy.  Things that are not digital are not necessarily analog, and vice versa. 

Digital. Adjective.  dig·i·tal. ?di-j?-t?l. 4: composed of data in the form of especially binary digits • digital images/photos • a digital readout • a digital broadcast [=a broadcast employing digital communications signals] – compare analog

Analog. Adjective. an·a·log.  ?a-n?-?l?g, -?läg.  2 a: of, relating to, or being a mechanism in which data is represented by continuously variable physical quantities; b: of or relating to an analog computer; c: being a timepiece having an hour and minute hands • an analog watch

Maybe the word analog just appeals to my inner hipster.  Maybe that’s why I wear one of these. My interest in older technology goes back to my brief time as an armed forces communications officer. 

In some ways, the military has some pretty advanced technology (especially in the Air Force and Navy). 

In other ways, military equipment lags behind what you could get off-the-shelf at your local outdoor store (especially in the ground forces). 

The reason for this is the underlying specification for equipment.  Durability, ruggedness, and weather resistance are sometimes more important to the Army or Marine Corps than size, weight, or comfort. 

A good example of an analog signal is the human voice, carried over a series of continuous waves.  A good example of a digital signal is whatever it is in the computer translating my keystrokes into these words.  Our digital technologies definitely make us more efficient.

Can you imagine going back to Mad Men days, where a room full of secretaries had to pound out memos on typewriters?  Now we have word processors on our desks and communicate across the globe nearly instantly.  So why do we need older tech?  Why do we need analog?

Sometimes the older, the analog, is more reliable.  Talking to someone for five minutes can often get across a complicated point.  Spending an hour drafting a complicated email is likely to result in confusion (especially because tone and emphasis cannot be inferred appropriately). 

The other great thing about an analog signal is the error resistance.  Because an analog signal is continuous, parts of the conversation can be lost or garbled without affecting the overall transmission of the message. 

Back in the day, your poor broadcast tv reception would result in a snowy screen – but you could still see, hear, and understand what was going on.  With a purely digital signal, losing too many 1s or 0s can result in much of the message being lost.  If your satellite tv feed is distorted, the image may be too pixelated to make out or completely frozen.  And, sometimes the older technology is just a good fallback plan.  What happens if you lose your GPS signal when you’re in the middle of nowhere?  Hopefully, you know how to use a map and a compass.

Side note: the above examples are the simplest I can come up with.  It blew my mind to realize that you can encode analog information on a digital signal, and digital information on an analog signal (that’s how the radio receiver in your car can tell you the name of the song and artist).  We will leave all that for another conversation.

The point: Am I making the correct decisions with the project tools at my disposal?  It is easy to send out many emails a day.  But how effective are my emails, mixed in with the dozens of other emails we all receive daily?  It is more difficult to schedule and run well-disciplined meetings.  It is difficult to simply practice “management by walking around.”

On the other hand, there are some cases in which digital tools are an enormous force multiplier.  Through the miracle of web conferencing, I can have effective meetings with people on the other side of the planet – communicating with both electronic documents as well as good old analog voice.

I once got to take an off-road driving course.  The mantra of the driving school was “slow as possible, fast as necessary.”  The reason for this was the need to preserve equipment.  The last thing you want when you are miles from assistance is to needlessly break your own gear.  (Side note: “Slow as possible, fast as necessary” is pretty much how I drive in my daily life.  This vexes my wife who, as a native Houstonian, believes fast is necessary.) I bring this up because I have been pondering what would happen if I took an “analog as possible, digital as necessary” approach to my projects.

I suspect that I would be more thoughtful about the tools employed, based on the requirements of the job.  Perhaps a physical Kanban board really would be the most effective means to communicate among my project team.  Or, if my team is geographically dispersed, maybe we need to go digital and use an electronic one. 

And, I wonder if using some analog tools can make my project resilient in the event we lose electricity or internet.  Your thoughts, please.  Bear in mind, I had to condense this to 900 words.  So, feel free to be as civil as possible, as rude as necessary.