If there is one thing that can be considered more necessary than building up your communication skills while trying to be a project manager, it has to be training your mind.
It’s the powerhouse, the inner core strength that will take you distances. When untrained, it’s the one that will be responsible for your downfall, the slips in your speech, one wrong action and the oops- you have done it again!
Train your mind by:
Reading more- Reading should not be limited to project management related books/articles only, don’t restrict yourself. Read anything catches your attention, browse through book stores often. You benefit by having a larger base of knowledge that will help you be much more innovative. Understand psychology or strategy - whatever gets your attention.
Toughest of times- It will be hard, it has to. But this is where you will hone your skill for the best. Staying composed in the most difficult of times will earn you that extra brownie later. Train yourself to find ways to soothe your nerves, vent out creatively and use that bursts of energy to re-channelize in something more positive- a way to get out of it. I jot down my problems and work it off like a puzzle. When I am too involved in the problem and can't think straight, I just sleep as much as I can for the next two days and I pick up the problem again later and to my surprise the intensity has weared off.
Be wise and bold- Use your opportunities wisely, be prepared. You never know when the opportunity will come and when it does, you shouldn’t have to pass. When I was learning to drive, a friend of mine told me something that I’ll never forget- never look at the car before you, always look two cars ahead; that way you know what will happen ahead of your time and you will be prepared. Work smart and get to know people.
Blow your own trumpet- If its all show and no work, this will not work. If you are really putting effort into something and doing well, make sure others know about it. You don’t have to be a snob, just make sure people are aware so you are in mind when they schedule the next resource for the special project. I put it mildly, I tell my Project Manager- Thank you for allowing me to do this, I really learnt a lot and if you are interested and have the time; this is what I did (show your work/email the matter).
Persistence will pay off- How long can you hold on to your dreams? More closer you are to achieving it the harder it gets. Train yourself, so you don’t disintegrate during the tough times. Diversify the energy, stay calm and be confident in your abilities. It helps me to read books I have been waiting to read or watch movies which inspire me a lot.
Build your confidence- There’s nothing like it. More you know about projects or the inner details of your scope of work, more confident you become. Get external help, talk to people with same job profiles, have as much as information you possibly can. Never be complacent about your job, there’s always something more.
Be Calm- Tough cookie to crack if you can master this. Everyone will tell you including your project manager with 20 years of experience that this is the toughest to achieve. This will differentiate the ready from the naïve. Pressure, conflicts, internal politics, work load, more responsibility, deadlines, miscalculations- nothing can wash of the calm from your face. Think deeply, find your strengths and weaknesses and work extra hours to know yourself. What triggers you and what you can do to stop reacting immediately? For me personally, I have tried to stretch out my reaction time. If I am mad, I write the email and let it sleep over night. I come back next morning and read the email over and over again , edit it and in some cases even delete it. Dont burn bridges, world's too small. Like one of my favorite professor told me- learn to keep a poker face, thats what my professor told me.