January 2020: Toastmasters - Tips & Discussions

Posted by admin on 01/07/2020 7:57 pm  /   Home Page Highlights, Toastmasters

Project Management Toastmasters Clubs

Tips and Discussions


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


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

47. Know when to lose your script.Gauge your audience’s response to your message and know when to change or lose the script. If your audience seems bored or uninterested, move onto to something else.


There is No Sweeter Sound to a Person Than Their Own Name (Dale Carnegie)

  • Today, 85% of people middle-aged or older have trouble remembering names.
  • Techniques to help remember names
    • Use the person’s name immediately more than once, “Anne, I am glad to meet you. Anne, how do you know Beth?”
    • Ask the person how to spell their name, “Anne, is your name spelled with an ‘e’?
    • Create a mental image related to the name.


Everyone Has a Story

The human mind is wired to be receptive to stories.  If you want to connect with others, share a story.  Everyone can relate to stories with a universal theme.   Some popular story themes:

  • Your family history. To make it memorable, tie it to a learning point or universal truth.
  • Consider these topics for stories: First day at school, First pet, Childhood best friend, First girlfriend/boyfriend, First breakup, Favorite vacation, First job, First home on your own.
  • Check out stories at: The Moth (themoth.org), StoryCorps (www.storycorps.org), This American Life (www.thisamericanlife.org), or Serial (www.serialpodcast.org)


Storytelling Tips from Craig Valentine

  • Build a “foundational phrase”. Keep it under 10 words. (i.e. “Don’t get ready, stay ready”)
  • Don’t start every story from the beginning. Mix it up.
  • Get to your stories quicker, then go rapidly into the conflict and hook your audience.
  • Don’t be the guru of your own story. Let someone else offer the life-changing advice.
  • The longer you work on a story, the shorter it should get.
  • Pause and look. Remember you can’t rush and resonate.  Add pauses for effect.


Remembering Names excerpted from “How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

“Everyone Has a Story ” Excerpted from December 2019 Toastmasters Magazine article by Craig Harrison

“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.   


The Great Project Manager - What You Need to Know!

Posted by admin on 01/07/2020 7:52 pm  /   Spotlights

The Great Project Manager - What You Need to Know!

Paula Arthur, PMI Houston Contributor


Every year around this time, people take a moment to reflect on past experiences, what went well, mistakes and our future goals. As a foundation, project managers must learn to become stronger communicators, planners and problem solvers. If we improve these skills, past experiences will only propel us into a successful future in any industry. First, it is important to know what you know, and become the subject matter expert if you will. Learn your craft, sharpen your abilities to expand our foundation of better tools and resources, whether it is technology, engineering, client relations, science or financial analysis.


Secondly, we all know communication is a critical factor in our field. If managers cannot work in diverse settings, the projects will simply not get done. Communication affects teams in any environment and it is best to know your audience. Ensure every person you are interacting with understands your message. Thoughtful, frequent and creative communication will ensure that everyone is on the same page and help to avoid any misunderstandings in future. Although not easy, managers must take time to get to know the team players teams well including internal dynamics, weaknesses and strengths. By developing a communication plan, managers will have stronger connections with different personalities to adapt the best  strategy from project to project.


The client’s perspective is different. Communication is about project status, challenges or providing other details is absolutely essential. Taking time in this arena will aid in reinforcing key messages and build rapport in the future. Recent studies indicate that status meetings and progress reports with our teams are invaluable to keep teams on track with next steps, action items, project risks, budgets and process.


Surprisingly, planning is an area that many managers do not pay much attention to. What is a project manager without a plan? It would be like a wandering traveler without a map. How will you arrive at the destination? Our ability to organize tasks in the right direction, hit the right outcome at the right point in time is a major part of our role. Planning is all about finding ways to do all that you need to do as efficiently as possible. It is absolutely critical as project managers, we give scheduling the focus it deserves to ensure the tasks are completed timely.


Project managers are natural problem solvers. What happens when things don’t go as planned? How the project manager handles an unexpected outcome is an essential skill. The project manager must be proactive to the extent that you’re always ten steps ahead and always know ‘what’s next’. That means not only for success but for the disasters too. A skilled project manager must able to multitask and always have a contingency plan  up their sleeve.


PMI defines project management as a systematic process to consistently meet objectives and create timelines for varied competencies involving areas of communication, planning and problem solving. Yes, we must have knowledgeable and the right tools, but critically, we must know how to apply the right techniques to our projects. We are looking forward to new opportunities in 2020 and beyond. Please join the movement to become the best.


January 2020: Letter from the President

Posted by admin on 01/07/2020 7:49 pm  /   Home Page Highlights, Presidents Letter

It is with great pleasure that I wish you a Happy New Year full of success both personally and professionally.


As you know, PMI Houston has served as the authority for the local project management community for 45 years. From facilitating top-notch training to executing best in class conferences, we have consistently delivered and have done it with excellence. Now entering into 2020, our 46th year, in a new decade, with a new Board of Directors, and a new look, I can’t help but ooze with excitement about all that is in store for 2020.


My excitement and service to PMI Houston began nearly a decade ago as a conference volunteer -- meeting and greeting attendees and serving as speaker support. Shortly thereafter, I was designated to lead the Galleria venue as Venue Director. A year later, I was selected to be a speaker for our annual conference and invited back the next year to be a speaker and a full-day workshop facilitator. Years later, I was nominated and elected to serve as Vice President of Marketing for two years, then Senior Vice President, and now proudly as President.


Like many of you, I’ve worked in the project management industry for years consulting, coaching, training and leveraging the knowledge and skills I’ve learned over the years to manage award-winning, cutting edge projects and to right the wrongs of those pesky “bad news bears” projects. I know firsthand how mission-critical it is as a practitioner to always have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the project management industry, as well as keeping your eyes and ears open for new methodologies and trends. This is especially true here in Houston, the most culturally diverse city in the nation, which just happens to be well-known for its diversity in industries as well. Houston is the energy capital of the world, home to the world's largest medical complex, and a thriving and robust market for multi-million dollar construction, innovation, and IT projects.


All of which is why my 20/20 vision for PMI Houston is two-fold. First, to explore how these companies and industries are leveraging project management to deliver projects successfully and spotlight the great project management professionals that are leading the charge. Second, to be the HUB that companies, practitioners and PMP hopefuls from all industries rely on for workshops, training, and resources.


I look forward to serving the over 4,000 PMI Houston members alongside the dynamic 2020 Board of Directors as your President, continuing the great legacy of PMI Houston, and powering the Project Economy together.


God's Speed, 

LaToshia Norwood, PMP 
President, PMI Houston