The Project Management Institute (PMI) released the PMBOK 6th Edition on September 6th, 2017. Some certified project managers may respond with, “Ho-hum. I’m glad I got my certification behind me.” However, I think PMPs and other certified project managers should actually read the PMBOK 6th edition. Why?
PMI conducts Role Delineation Studies for each certification every five to seven years. These studies help PMI understand how project managers perform their duties and lead cross-functional teams within the constraints of schedule, budget, and scope.
As a project manager, you will sometimes be asked to make presentations to a board, to a senior leader team, an external vendor, or to your organization. Here are opportunities to help your stakeholders understand your projects. With every presentation, you can try new things and learn to improve your presentations.
Improve Your Presentations
1. Plan your presentations.
Want to present more effectively? Create your presentation with good structure. The structure will help you with recall and more importantly, will help your audience follow your presentation. Here’s a simple but effective structure:
Introduction. Present the big idea. What is the major challenge or opportunity you want to see your audience to think about?
Body. Give your audience three practical action steps to achieve the big idea.
Conclusion. Restate the big idea and summarize the action steps.
Not complicated, huh? That’s the idea–keep your structure simple.
2. Arrive early.
It is a good practice to arrive early at the location of your presentation. Make sure everything has been set up as you’ve requested. Check out the equipment to make sure that things such as your microphone, PowerPoint, remote, and projector are working properly.
Project managers spend a large part of each day communicating—facilitating meetings, emailing stakeholders, responding to texts, writing reports, and having one-on-one conversations. We are so busy, we rarely take the time to think about the effectiveness of our communication. How can we become a better communicator?
Here are five practical ways. Pick one or two and work on improving your communication this week.
Becoming a Better Communicator
1. Join Toastmasters.
Howard Hendricks said, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent.” How true. Just because we speak or make presentations a lot does not mean that we are improving. We can actually become worse. Individuals need feedback and coaching to become better.
Consider joining an organization like Toastmasters International. This organization provides education and public speaking resources. More importantly, you’ll have regular opportunities to speak and to get feedback in a safe environment. If you like, you can even compete at different levels allowing you to further hone your skills.
Communication is the vehicle for successful projects. From the beginning to the end of a project, the project manager and team must plan, execute, and deliver the required products and services while interacting with stakeholders. What are you doing to improve your project communication?
Project managers are not lone rangers. Projects involve interdependent relationships such as the sponsor and other leaders, the project manager and the project team, and users interacting with the systems. Consider the following project activities that require communication:
Developing a project charter
Completing a work breakdown structure
Negotiating a contract
Presenting a project overview
Conducting one-on-one meetings
Defining a change order
We all have room to grow in our communication skills. Let’s look at five ways to improve your project communications.
Ineffective communications is the primary contributor to project failure one-third of the time, and had a negative impact on project success more than half the time. -Project Management Institute
What’s your life calling? Frederich Buechner wrote that calling is “the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”
My greatest joy is teaching.
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock
I got it honest, as we’d say in the South. My father taught farmers how to farm and my mother taught students high school chemistry. As a result, farmers put food on our tables, and students went on to be doctors, engineers, and to perform research all around the world. I remember students returning to my small hometown — Donalsonville, Georgia — years later to thank my mother.
While I’d never say our family was wealthy, daddy and mama lived rich lives. They found their joy in serving and teaching others. Some of the world’s deep needs were met. I know mine were.
My career has included work in the financial, healthcare, and agricultural industries. Each part of my career journey has afforded me the opportunity to perform and teach project management.
Five years ago, I followed in my twin brother’s footsteps who blogs at CPA-Scribo. I started blogging at the Project Risk Coach. I could not imagine what would happen in the following years.
My blog traffic has grown from 100 people to about 5,000 visitors per month, and my mail list has grown to more than 1,000 people. I’ve had the pleasure of connecting and teaching people from all over the world. For a guy who grew up pulling weeds in peanut fields, I’ve been in high cotton.
Opening a New Chapter in My Life
I’ve had a growing sense that it was time for me to transition from my job as an Enterprise Risk Manager at the Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company to invest my full time and energy in my LLC – the Project Risk Coach. And January 1, 2017, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing.
Some of you are a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) or as a Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP) so this test may be a good review for you. If you are preparing for the PMP or PMI-RMP exam, this exercise will certainly be helpful. For others, give it your best shot; see what you know and don’t know.
Colin Gautrey, an author, trainer and executive coach who has specialized in the field of power and influence for over ten years. He combines solid research with deep personal experience in corporate life to offer his audiences critical yet simple insights into how to achieve results with greater influence. He is the creator of the Stakeholder Influencing Masterclass
I first started out I worked for a branch of the intelligence services. Nothing terribly exciting, just a communications and IT specialist. Well okay, some of the time it was very exciting, but I can’t go into that.
Courtesy of Adobe Stock
Embedded in the culture was the concept of “need to know.” To minimize the risk that secrets would leak, you were only told things that were essential to perform your role. Nothing more, nothing less. For this to work, we all had to rely on someone at a more senior level making an accurate judgment about what we needed to know. Only they were allowed to see the bigger picture.
In fact, it was even a little risky asking questions lest suspicions were aroused. So generally people kept their heads down and did their job.
Why am I sharing this little snippet from my deep and distant past with you today?
I am excited to announce my second series — The Smart Stakeholder Management Series — smart changes that you can make today to dramatically improve your project results. For the next three weeks, I will publish articles, videos, and freebies on Monday through Thursdays.
Colin Gautrey from Learn to Influence and I will be contributing to this series. I am super pumped about having Colin helping me lead this series. Why? Because I don’t know anyone who has more knowledge and experience in the realm of stakeholder management and influencing than Colin.
Colin and I will be covering a lot of ground. Here’s a list of the articles we will provide:
Welcome to the Smart Stakeholder Management Series (Harry)
Four Reasons Why You Struggle to Engage Stakeholders (Colin)
How to Create and Use a Stakeholder Register (YouTube Video – Harry)
What Project Managers Need to Know About Stakeholder Management (Colin)
10 Wonderful Ways to Make Your Stakeholders Happy (Harry)
Responding to Unrealistic Demands (Colin)
How to Turn Stakeholder Conflicts on its Head (Harry)
Colin Gautrey on Influence (YouTube Video – Colin)
10 Beautiful Benefits to Stakeholder Management (Harry)
Guilty of Annoying Your Stakeholders (Colin)
Six Essential Requirements of an Influencing Strategy (Colin)
Wrap Up for the Smart Stakeholder Management Series (Harry)
Have you ever had problem team members? These individuals hide missed deadlines, possess bad attitudes, and criticize other team members. They seldom volunteer to help other team members or jump in to pick up the slack.
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock (edited in Canva)
Bonus: Keep an eye out for the FREE bonus at the end of this article.
Project managers are more than managers – they are leaders. Team members watch project managers to see how they respond to problems. A project manager’s failure to confront and resolve poor attitudes, behavior, and actions can be costly on many levels.
“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” -Babe Ruth
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