March - Tips and Discussions

Posted by amc on 03/06/2018 9:24 am  /   Toastmasters

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

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

24. Pause. Before addressing your audience, pause for a few seconds. This will gain their attention and increase impact.

The Four Cs, How to Grow Happiness and Unplug from the Commercial World.

  1.       Connect: Face-to-face connection with friends or loved ones drives neurons that increase empathy, boosting your serotonin.  Facebook is not the same.  Carve out time to be with someone you care about.
  2.       Contribute: Add to the betterment of those you care about and the world around you.
  3.       Cope: Three ways> 1>Get adequate sleep; 2>Increase mindfulness and cut down trying to multi-task (only 4% can actually multi-task, the rest of us serial task and add to stress); 3>Exercise.
  4.       Cook: Cooking for yourself and family means you know what is in your food and is a good source of downtime and relaxation.


Mind Matters (How Mindfulness can enhance your life):

What is Mindfulness (Three perspectives)

  1.       The Moment> Mindfulness means “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally”. 
  2.       The Mind> Mindfulness is “nonjudgmental awareness of mental states.” The practice helps us cultivate mental and emotional health and resiliency.”
  3.       The Present> When focused on the present moment. we will be more accepting of our emotions and those of others. When we listen, we can completely listen.  When we speak, we can focus on communicating our message.  When we lead, we lead with sensitivity that from feeling good about ourselves, connecting with others and having the mental clarity to focus positively on what really matters.


Storytelling Techniques from the Best TED Talks


  •         The one thing that all great Ted speakers have in common is that they are master storytellers.
  •         If you don’t grab your audience’s attention in the first 30 seconds, they will tune out.
  •         Grab the audience’s attention with personal story.
  •         The element that makes a story irresistible is conflict.  The stronger the conflict the more irresistible.
  •         No conflict = No curiosity = No interest
  •         Bring your characters alive by providing details about the way they look, act, or behave.
  •         The more senses you communicate with, the more interest in the story. Use all 5 senses.
  •         Positive message stories are inspiring.  Leave your audience on an emotional high.
  •         Use dialogue, not narration to keep the listener’s interest.
  •         Your story must contain the spark that allowed the character to overcome the conflict.
  •         Show the change in the character.
  •         Leave your audience with your key takeaway message.


-From “The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains” by Robert Lustig

-Excerpts from Toastmaster magazine, February 2018, authored by Caren Schnur Neile, PH.D.

-Excerpts from Ted Talks Storytelling by Akash Karia


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.   

March - From the President

Posted by amc on 03/06/2018 9:16 am  /   Presidents Letter

Terry Minhas, President of PMI Houston

PMI was established nearly 50 years ago to advance and advocate for the Project Management (PM) profession. This organization, which spans the globe with over 450,000 members, is primarily run by volunteers. The Houston Chapter is no exception. Volunteers are the heart and soul of our Chapter.

Through its programs and activities, the Houston Chapter offers numerous volunteering opportunities resulting in learning new processes, techniques and technologies. The Programs Committee organizes Monthly and Bi-monthly meetings at 7 different venues in the Greater Houston area along with Lunch & Learn program at various locations. Speakers from a variety of disciplines share their knowledge with attendees. These services are planned and executed by volunteers.

The Professional Development (PD) Committee organizes training programs for the PM community. These training programs range from PMP & CAPM Prep courses to Project Management Framework classes. These offerings are aligned with PMI’s strategy to help project managers develop their skills and enhance their careers. The PD Committee is run by dedicated volunteers.

The Membership Committee organizes networking and volunteer appreciation events. These events allow the PM Community to network, share ideas and have fun! These events are generally held at restaurants with a variety of delicious food and beverages. Their popularity is on the rise. These events are organized by volunteers.

Similarly, the eBiz, Outreach and Marketing Committees are diligently working to communicate with the PM Community through the website, the newsletter, social media and videos, to name a few. These Committees are run by volunteers.

Our volunteers have collaborated with Rebuilding Together Houston to help neighbors in need, collected toys for children at Christmas time, supported our sister organizations, and so on. The PMI Houston Annual Conference and Expo is primarily planned and executed by volunteers. The list goes on.

Houston Chapter’s success is a result of our volunteers’ efforts. My hat’s off to all the volunteers who make this happen!

We continue to grow. So, opportunities do arise to volunteer for the Chapter. I encourage you to take a serious look at it. You can begin with volunteering for a few hours a month with a potential to keep building leadership skills all the way to become the President of PMI Houston. Come join and grow with us. If interested, please contact [email protected].


Food for thought: “On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.” ? Thomas Jefferson

Salad Days

Posted by amc on 11/08/2017 6:24 pm  /   Professional Interest

by Thomas Goebel

Robert Frost said, “The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” 

Afternoon has arrived for the Boomers.  Soon, it will be evening, and they will gaze after the dying sun from their porches, hoarding what little remaining heat they can from long and rewarding lives, and reaching for the aspirin. 

Don’t let that trick knee mislead you, though.  There has been no debilitating injury to the mind.  All systems are go there.  Collectively, the Boomer generation has the mental capacity and experience to rule the world.  So what’s keeping the Sixties bunch from exercising complete power? 

Culture.  Or, more accurately, pop culture.  Oh, and technology.  Don’t worry.  It’s not like Boomers don’t get the multiple streams of technology.  It’s more likely that it doesn’t excite them.  Most of them can’t be bothered.  When they do find something that interests them, they approach it cautiously, as if dipping a toe in the water.   That makes Millenials laugh.  

Ah, the Millenials. 

Who are the Millenials?  The name is whispered among older workers as if referring to a Dark Menace.  Millenials are at once spoken of with awe and scorn.  Awe because they alone possess the keys that can unlock the multiple media in which their generation traffics.  Scorn because they are perceived to be disconnected from any ties to what got us to this point.  In fact, older citizens often see Millenials (those born between the years of 1980 and 1999, roughly speaking) as out-of-touch as the younger set see them.  A standoff will surely ensue.  

The Boomers predate the Millenials by 35 years, and are the next big wave to start checking out of the workforce, voluntarily or not.  Corporate leaders, more and more, are embracing the benefits of the latter approach, and are tripping over themselves to replace exiting Boomers with fresh new faces.  We know these faces are fresh and new because we can see them in the glow of the phone screens they’re affixed to. 

To discriminate against somebody because we think they are too old is illegal in the United States and in many other places.  For proof of how effective this law is, we’ve made it illegal to ask somebody how old they are when they are applying for a job; that is to say, we don’t have much faith in ability of prospective employers to self-police.  Reality is a harsh mistress, though, and age is not a hard quality to discern.  While advanced age is an indication of wisdom and experience in some cultures, it can often be viewed as a disadvantage here in the States. 

What can be done?  A realistic approach is to accept that many companies will – either actively or passively – be reluctant to make a long-term investment in what they see as a short-term payoff.  We know all the arguments: health-care, too-high salaries, etc.  Armed with this, the mature job-seeker has alternatives. 

The first is networking.  Networking isn’t easy, and it is a skill that requires development.  Unemployment support groups feature speakers who tout the magical qualities of robust networking with the glow of the recently converted.  Indeed, realizations of the power of networking often descend on people only when they are ready to accept it.  Once you’ve crossed this Rubicon, you can get to work opening other doors. 

Everyone talks about consulting, but it boils down to this: you need to have a skill or talent that somebody is willing to pay for.  Sometimes you have one that you don’t know you have.  Sometimes you think you have one and you don’t.  As you network, ask questions and listen, you will gain greater understanding of what you can offer the market.  The same holds true for purchasing or owning a business.  It’s never too late to go down this path, but the experience you’ve gained over a lifetime should help you to wisely avoid many pitfalls unseen in youth. 

Smaller companies are ripe for exploring.  The important thing to remember here is that smaller companies often pay smaller salaries.  But accepting that you may not be able to reach your previous level is probably the smart thing to do.  In doing so, though, you are gaining leverage in the marketplace by offering more (knowledge and experience) for less (salary and headache). 

Finally, there are “back door” approaches that can open up opportunities.  Volunteering or pro bono work gives you exposure through a variety of venues, often ones that excite repressed passions.  Involvement in multiple enterprises and activities also increases your visibility.  In your perambulations, you will discover that your options aren’t disappearing.  They’re just changing. 

And don’t be too hard on the kids.  They’re as confused as you are.