Showing posts with label communication. Show all posts
Showing posts with label communication. Show all posts

Presentation Skills : Basics

How many times have you been told to present and you have bailed out?

Worried who’s going to listen to you after all? How to hold on to everyones attention and really what do I tell?

Here are some tips that over the years I have relied on:

  • Do your Research- Use more numbers, specially when you start your presentation, that gets everyones attention plus it looks like you know about the subject. 
  • PPT should tell a Story- don’t just read through line by line, I prefer mine to have pictures than bullet points. Now people are looking at you, not reading through the PPT.

  • Practice- Practice through multiple times, now even you are nervous you will end up saying what you practiced, thats way better than mumbling.
  • Keep Eye Contact- Look at the people you are giving the presentation to, not at the PPT. Ask questions, stop when required and allow participants to ask questions or talk. 
  • Q&A- Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer to every single question, just be honest and mention you will have to look into but it will get in touch with them with the information. 
  • Contact Details- Make sure your your email or office number are clearly mentioned. 
Have a favourite tip, don't forget to share with us.

Decision Making: Why its so difficult?

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“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” he said. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”   – Obama 

The term Decision Making itself sounds complex: you have to choose one over another. This seems to be about people who are rational and not impulsive, who gather data and analyses them without being impulsive and who have taken calculated risks and have eventually won.

But get ready for a surprise, decisions are supposedly taken more emotionally than rationally

So, how do you really decide?

Here's what Ruth Chang thinks......

A study suggests that it relies on two separate networks to do so: one that determines the overall value — the risk versus reward — of individual choices and another that guides how you ultimately behave. Perhaps that’s why we mostly choose the one that’s safe.

Some decisions are easier than others, like I decided to move countries much more easily with of course some amount of fear than the fact that I have been postponing driving in Hyderabad, India.
So, what allows me to make some decisions easily but others not… I am not sure. May be it’s the analysis of the reward and the threat. Moving countries seemed rewarding to me- new culture, better career, travelling and trying out cuisines which I all enjoy.

While driving for me mostly means fighting thoughts of crazy traffic, lack of strict rules or being stuck in traffic for hours and the eventual loss of freedom because  I can’t read or listen to anything while I drive.

So, I evaluate and decide, driving doesn’t seem like a very good idea even though rationally I should be driving to save me loads of money and flexibility of time.

Have you ever made a decision than turned into a bad one?

Creativity- How to bring it back in your life?

Who do you consider to be a creative?

Are they people who have the freedom to pursue their art, are they people who value their freedom- freelancers and artists? What about you? 

All of us are creative as a child, as we get trained more and more in our schools we all fall for the mundane, we forget who we are and become what we are expected to be.
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Creativity as it seems comes with a price, in her article Nancy C. Andreasen, who is the Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and the former editor in chief of The American Journal of Psychiatry talks about creative people having it either passed on via generations or have higher rates of mental illness “The creative subjects and their relatives have a higher rate of mental illness….The most-common diagnoses include bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety or panic disorder, and alcoholism. 

There could be extreme cases of eccentricities involved for a lot of creatives, however in regular life to extract more satisfaction from life creativity is of utter importance. It could be an author who breaks into the publishing scene and takes the world by storm like J. K. Rowling., it can be content creators who look at life differently and are able to replicate that in their content and gain huge followers through the social media platform, it can be poets like Rupi Kaur whose poetry has been in controversies but has rightly brought in the young generation in touch with themselves through words and not selfies.

So, where is creativity for you and me while we are part of regular jobs?

Image result for creativeWell, creativity still needs sustenance and that could mean the fact you have a job is a good thing.  You are free to spend here and there for things you love to engage in like a local pottery class or take a class or travel. Creativity isn’t limited to a certain profession any longer. And as it turns out “depending on the stage of the creative process, and what you’re actually attempting to create, different brain regions are recruited to handlethe task.”  

So creativity is not only a breath of fresh air it’s actually good for the brain health. Multiple ways we can still encourage ourselves to be creative:
  • Find out what interests you, mind mapping is a great technique to find out what you like
  • Learn/practice something new – It’s said that creatives are better self-learners than learning from others by being spoon fed. If you are looking for great deals, find out the offerings/giveaways of bloggers as well. You might get a month free or sometimes courses half off. 
  • Find the time for yourself (self-care), sabbaticals might not be for everyone however why not try remote working once a month and use the time for commutes to try out something new..
  • It doesn’t have to be perfect to start with, its okay to fail. I struggle with this a lot because I feel I have to be at par with the best. Over the years I am okay to try out something new even when I know its not at its best. 
  • Stop thinking about what others think while you plan a solo vacation. Do things what interests you. Here are 12 habits of successful creatives.   
(Pic courtesy: Google Images)

Interactions within Agile Teams- The SCARF Model

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“In a world of increasing interconnectedness and rapid change, there is a growing need to improve the way people work together. Understanding the true drivers of human social behavior is becoming ever more urgent in this environment.”- David Rock

We talk about creating self-organizing team and encouraging team dynamics in Agile but what we forget to mention is how it should be done. This is where SCARF model comes in- Social neuroscience explores the biological foundations of the way humans relate to each other and to themselves. From this a theme emerges from social neuroscience- Firstly, that much of our motivation driving social behavior is governed by an overarching organizing principle of minimizing threat and maximizing reward.

Which simply put means we have to ensure our Lizard brain (the part which tells you not to change, take a risk and ensure you continue to live by keeping you safe from trying out unknown things) doesn’t feel threatened at any point.

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The SCARF model involves five domains of human social experience: Status, Certainty, Autonomy, relatedness and Fairness. These 5 domains will either trigger the rewards or the threat thought process.  This also means even during conversations you want to “rewards” trigger to go. This will ensure positive discussion and participation plus engagement.

Certainty and Autonomy out of the five is directly related to you. For example- do you feel empowered that you can make your decision in the current job title? The empowerment  cannot be influenced by anyone else.

The other three Status, Relatedness and Fairness are all influenced by “others”…. Like do you feel you are treated fairly?

So, this is a mix bag of social influence which allows you to feel empowered and positive or otherwise. The dynamics can be created, so if you are a team member or scrum master or manage a team- you need to ensure that these 5 fundamental cornerstones are all in the positive side of things. If by using all of these, we can ensure that a sense of fulfillment, balance and progress within team members can be created- the self-organization will start forming very soon.

Here are 3 ways to build on the improve the team collaboration:·
  • Explain the change (why) - don’t enforce without talking about the big picture.
  • Show why it matters to them(how)- how it can impact them and what usually happens
  • What is expected from a specific role (what)- being articulate about the responsibility of a scrum team/member

If we are successful in ensuring all of these are considered, the team  dynamics and communication will be positive. 

(Pic courtesy: Google images)

Scrum Master: 5 Kinds

Whether you are in an organization that follows Agile or not chances are you already have pre-determined notions about Scrum Masters- their roles and responsibilities.

In my experience of working within the Agile domain in India, there are five kinds of Scrum Masters I have come across:

  • Managers- This specially happens when the organization is moving into Agile initially. Reasons are often genuine and till a scrum master is identified in a team, the team manager in some cases will volunteer for the role. Also, managers who like to know what exactly is happening in the team so they step up into this role which always might not be a very good sign.
      • Pros- Understanding the role will eventually help the manager better appreciate the role. Boosts positive communication within the team and change in process.
      • Cons- it shouldn’t be the case where micro management is the agenda and so why not take up the role and still be the decision maker instead of allowing the team to self-organize
  • Tech Leads- Some organization focus on having adequate experience required for the role of the Scrum Master, the focus is on people who have considerable domain knowledge and its mostly been in the industry ten years or more.  
      • Pros-The vast experience of a lead could help the team manage the domain and deliver work with better quality. 
      • Cons-It shouldn’t end up being a practice that others don’t speak up because the lead is always right. 
  • Project Manager- The team project manager takes up the role as natural transition in a lot of cases. While the project will definitely be delivered with this one in charge, being a servant leader might not be something that will be easy to adopt to; where team calls the shots.
      • Pros- Communication, delivery and milestones will always be in check.
      • Cons- unless the right mindset has been achieved, you don’t want to encourage/continue with the command and control situation.
  • Functional Team Members- This happens commonly as a core team member is either assigned or volunteers to take on the role. This means a split of hours for being a Scrum Master and performing the core competency work.
      • Pros- Buy in within team is easier
      • Cons- Time management during deadlines; the time split doesn’t mean when extra hours are required you drop the scrum master responsibility and take in more hours to finish for example testing.
  • Full Time Scrum Master- Very few organizations will go ahead and hire full time members into this role. When it does happen one Scrum Master is assigned to at least two teams and the unit is very confident of the them working within Agile methodologies. 
      • Pros- Someone available and accountable to ensure the process is in places and problems are looked into and resolved immediately.
      • Cons- Dedicated scrum masters don’t mean they are administrators for the team, filling out details (like in the agile tool) that should be done by everyone themselves. Also, lack of discussion on what the role is about and the responsibilities are by management can create misunderstanding within team members. 

What have you experienced or observed?

(Pic courtesy: Google images)

This is How I work- Laurens Bonnema

Laurens Bonnema is an Agile Management Consultant with Xebia and an expert in sustainably aligning business and IT to improve the results of IT projects. He also helps people (re)learn how to visualize their ideas through sketchnoting, graphic recording, and videoscribing so they can communicate those ideas more effectively, help each other to solve problems, and have lots of fun.
For the past 17 years, Laurens has served in almost every role in IT. Even Project Manager! More about Laurens’ work at Xebia can be found here. Want to know more about sketch-noting, graphic recording, and videoscribing? Hop on over to

When do you wake up every day? What’s your alarm set to? 
 My alarm is set to 5:55. Most of the time, that’s also when I wake up.
Tea or Coffee? 
Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon.
Any rituals to set the tone for the day in the morning? 
After I wake up, I drink a glass of water and meditate for 10 minutes. When time permits, I read a few newspapers on my iPhone before getting out of bed. If not, I hit the shower, get dressed and go downstairs to grab some breakfast. Over breakfast, I look at my calendar to get a feel for the day, and check my Sprint Backlog to select the three most important things I want to get done today.
When do you feel most productive?
I feel most productive in the morning. That’s when I get most of my work done. After 12:00, my energy tapers off. I usually experience a small burst of residual productivity around 21:00. But between 12:00 and 21:00, I’m mostly on autopilot.
Where do you work?
Work is where the client is. For me, that’s usually in or near one of the main cities in The Netherlands: Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and Utrecht. But I’ve done assignments in Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, and India as well.
Three must have items on your desk
 If I could pick only three items to have on my desk, it would be my Leuchtturm1917 Whitelines Link notebook, Montblanc Meisterst├╝ck LeGrand fountain pen, and Apple Macbook Pro.
What do you listen to while working?
To concentrate on work, I listen to classical music. Mostly Mozart. When I need less focus, I switch to podcasts. At the moment, the Tough Girl Podcast by Sarah Williams is my favorite.
What are you reading currently?
I’ve just finished “Your Press Release is Breaking my Heart” by Janet Murray and am currently reading “Verbaal Meesterschap (Verbal Mastery)” by Remco Claassen. Remco is one of the most celebrated public speakers in The Netherlands. Next up is “Ego is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday.
How do you organize?
I use Scrum to stay organized and productive. I have a Product Backlog spread out over several Trello boards. Every two weeks, I select items from those boards and put them in Todoist. That’s my Sprint Backlog. Every day, I select the three most important items to get done from Todoist. Some days I do more, almost never less. I don’t distinguish between personal and client items. When I did, the personal items never seemed to get done. Now, I have a nice work-life-swirl going that suits me much better than work-life-balance.
Any hacks you prefer for work?
 Learn something new! And start teaching it to others as soon as you’re somewhat competent. It will keep you engaged, fresh, and enthusiastic. That translates to all the other stuff you do. Even the stuff you don’t like as much.
What are your favorite gadgets?
At the moment, my favorite gadget is my iPad Pro. I love it! It’s a wonderful drawing tool that also functions as a powerful tablet. Highly recommended for anyone getting into digital drawing!
What apps can you not live without?
 It’s a bit of a list I’m afraid, but I’ll try to keep it brief and limit myself to the eleven iPhone/iPad apps I rely on the most that aren’t time-wasters: Mail, Trello, Todoist, Calendar, Fantastical, Buffer, Overcast, OPTIMIZE, Headspace, Adobe Draw, and Concepts.
Any new addition to your routines?
The newest addition to my routine is guided meditation with Headspace. I’ve been meditating for years without guidance, and I love the way Headspace makes it easy to stay focussed. I’m still a bit on the fence about it though. Maybe in a few weeks I’ll discover I prefer unguided meditation after all.
Also, I’m trying to make habits of exercise and writing. Mostly failing at that so far. So tomorrow I’ll try again!
How do you recharge?

Reading. Nothing gets me relaxed faster than reading a great novel. That, and sleep of course.

(Pic courtesy: Laurens Bonnema)

What I have been reading and why it matters to you

I wanted to share with you some random links that makes sense when you look at it from your personal development point of view.

For success, life not only has to be organized, you have to be in a very stable mental space and none of them just happen to happen. I hope you find something in these stories that helps you find that zone. 
And looking for a real pick me up, don't miss this. Malcolm Gladwell being interviewed by Tim Ferris.

"For one hour of writing, there's three hours of thinking". 

The Challenges of International Projects

This is a guest post by Elizabeth Harrin.

The world of business is continually shrinking: we work in an environment with real-time audio visual communication with colleagues on the other side of the world and online translation tools. Even small companies can operate internationally with outsourcing agreements and partners overseas, which means that project managers in organisations of any size face the challenges of managing international projects.
And that means far more than just calculating that when it’s 9am in ‘my’ London it’s 4am in London, Ohio. International projects come with two main challenges: the people you are working with won’t necessarily work in the same way as you, and the people you are working for won’t necessarily want the same things.
Having an open mind about these challenges is the first step in being able to address them on an international project team. You need a pragmatic approach, especially as national culture plays a big part in how we act, and we can’t change who we are – we can just learn how to make those differences work for everyone concerned.
This can be difficult for project managers to get their heads around. Once you are in the position of managing an international project, you may well be one of the more senior project managers in your team. You have gained that position through hard work and successful project delivery. You expect your project team members to behave in certain ways and people from different cultures won’t always behave the way you expect. As you can imagine, that causes problems and conflict on projects.

Making international working easier

Project managers taking on international projects face a variety of practical challenges. For example, time zones are important. How will you conduct real-time team meetings? Who is going to be the person who gets up in the middle of the night for a call with the Brazilian development team to go through the testing results? In the absence of incentives for the project team, the project manager will find it difficult to recruit volunteers.
Protecting the interests of the UK-based team also falls to the project manager. A project sponsor who doesn’t appreciate that you have just spent half the night on a web conference with the manufacturing supplier in New Zealand won’t look favourably on your request to send everyone home at 3pm. Project managers with international components to their teams not only have to educate team members in how to work well together, but also have to manage upwards and ensure that senior stakeholders understand the constraints of this type of project. In reality, international projects take longer and involve higher travel costs than projects where the entire team is co-located – and that isn’t always a welcome message to the executives.
Practical suggestions aside, the easiest way I have found to work with international teams is to build cultural understanding. As I found when living and working in France, you can be linguistically literate without being culturally literate. At a pub quiz I couldn’t answer the questions about children’s TV programmes or what was found under the streets of Paris (I think, if I remember rightly, that it was the river). But the pub quiz was in an Irish bar, and there weren’t many of them around so that was a change of environment for many of my Parisian colleagues.
Cultural understanding relies on the emotional intelligence of the project manager, his or her leadership skills, adaptability and ability to inform and train the teams.

Using software to help international communication

Aside from cultural understanding, your next challenge is communication. Successful communication relies on the soft skills that a project manager brings to the table. These are the ability to listen, hear the unspoken concerns and messages, and respond clearly in a way that the other person can understand.
Being able to put those soft communication skills into practice is something that can be helped by technology. People need to be able to hear and speak to each other in some format before the project manger’s emotional intelligence can be put to good use. Technology can help with the challenges of international projects, even if we have to accept its limitations with regards to the interpretation of messages communicated using it.
There are lots of technologies available to project managers with virtual teams, whether they are based all over the world or in multiple offices in the same time zone. Instant messaging gives project teams the ability to connect informally when their status is shown as online. This can promote collaborative working as team members can quickly and easily ask questions of their colleagues instead of waiting for a scheduled formal meeting. In general, the more communication the greater the bonds and understanding between team members, so provided this facility is not abused, it can help improve working relationships. In practice, it works best when all users are in similar time zones where the difference is only a few hours.
The next step up from one-to-one messaging is web conferencing, where multiple users join the same online conference. Applications such as WebEx allow you to hold a virtual meeting with the team. Web conferencing means you can make changes to documents in real time or show product demonstrations to the rest of the team without having everyone in the same room – lower travel costs and a reduction in time spent out of the office even if you don’t have the international element to contend with.
Instant messaging and web conferencing allow synchronous communication, but asynchronous communication is also useful for project managers with international teams. You could opt for something as simple as a shared calendar, where team meetings and project milestones are recorded for everyone to see. When you connect from a PC configured to a different time zone, Outlook will automatically show the meeting at the correct time where you are. However, I have been caught out by the same feature in Google’s calendar, which didn’t seem to adjust for daylight savings time for some reason – and I missed my conference call.
Whatever software you choose to use to manage your project, you will quickly realise its limitations. A good project manager knows when to use the tools, and when to set the tools aside and lead with understanding and instinct.
Spending some time with your team members overseas is the best way to understand how they work, but desk research before you go (or if budget constraints mean you can’t go) will be beneficial. You will find out a great deal about how team members will most likely react in the project environment if you see them react, but that of course relies on you having the time to do that period of ‘getting to know you’.
Even if you don’t have lots of time, be curious in the time you do have. Many people love talking about how their countries work and a short discussion early on in your project can make a big difference. This knowledge provides you with a framework to manage the differences that will occur and also the confidence that you can develop an appropriate way of working together. In a shrinking world, projects are expanding, and the keys to success in international projects are shrewd use of the available technologies and excellent cultural awareness.
 This article has been adapted from material published on A Girl’s Guide To Project Management and is reprinted with permission.
(Pic Courtesy: Google images)

How to run a successful team meeting

Mar 15, 2013 | | 0 comments |

If you are in and out of meetings all day as a project manager; you should figure out by now the best way to run them efficiently.

  • Set the objective- why are you calling this meeting? Email a clear bullet point agenda a day before the meeting. Make sure everyone is informed on the reason for the meeting so they come prepared. 
  • Required Outcomes of the meeting- If there’s some decision making happening which is the output of the meeting; make sure you mention it in the email. More information you put there, you make it easier for the members to understand. Any document required to make the decision should be attached in the email when you send out the agenda. 
  • Assign a note taker- You want someone to volunteer to take down notes or you can bring in your own note taker during the meeting. You don’t want to miss out on important points discussed during it and send out a detailed minutes after the meeting. 
  • Manage your time well- No one wants to get bored. Try standing up for the meeting, manage your team by limiting the meeting and to run your meeting like Google, read up this link.
  • Discourage taking sides- Don’t take sides during meetings, beware of what you say and how you say it. Meetings are a great way to learn about human behavior, body language and a way to understand the  reactions even before it happens.
Don't underestimate the importance of meetings, its a great way to learn about the people you work with. So, run them well, learn from them and be an expert in benefiting from them. 

Talking to successful people

So, now that you are working out the challenge series and have started the change for a much better and productive life, this video will provide you with that extra edge when you decide to talk (and network) with others and perhaps even find a job.

Remember to listen carefully to this 4.18 minute video and you can ace what to ask when you meet a prospective mentor!

What do you think? Is that how you do? What strategies have you used?

Creativity- the way of working

Apr 24, 2012 | | 0 comments |
I clearly had a lovely vacation and am a week late.

In the last week, much has happened that has challenged me to think beyond regular stuff. Like always, am thankful for the new challenge - it has always brought me new opportunity and scope to learn.

Meanwhile, saw this video and loved it and wanted to share. If you have ever wanted to be creative or thought about creativity, want to become a public speaker- this video is for you.

By the way, the original article link is here.

Have a lovely week everyone and don't step back. Move forward everyday!

(Pic Courtesy: My vacation in Goa, India)

Newsletters- Do they change you?

If you follow me on twitter, I tweeted about 2 fav persons whose newsletter I love.

I am not a fan of newsletters, I treat them more as a spam flooding my inbox because most of the times I really don’t care what you have to sell.

However, Jenny Blake and Elizabeth Harrin are exceptionals. If you are a newbie or out of college (I’m none of these) and love entrepreneurial journey- Jenny’s newsletters (and blog) are fantastic. Need a project management update and what’s new happening in the PM Town, Elizabeth as always is a great resource.

Another great resource that I have been ignoring for a while is Ramit Sethi. I read the partial free download of his book and his blog and loved it, so I signed up for the newsletter years ago. Honestly, I have almost never read his newsletters till last week. I didn’t want to buy stuff and thought his newsletters were informative, but I didn’t know if it was for me.

Till last week, I clicked on his newsletter and saw his tips on having a great resume- that got my attention.
I read the whole thing including the links and downloaded all the videos and information. The material was great. It was stuff he was giving away to registered newsletter subscribers that he usually sells as a course.

From all that I have read and heard (still have 3 more videos to go), here are some amazing things he said:

•Resume’s should be very specific (in everything). Pack in details, research your company (where you would like to work) and your job profile well. Don’t just randomly apply to jobs (and through job boards) and then blame the system for not having a scope for you. True- my last 2 jobs have been through referrals.
•Use LinkedIn as a Tool.
•Every month, keep a percentage of your salary for meeting other interesting people.  While it may not be flying to the other side of the world, meet people in your locality who can be your mentors, career advisors, or just a great contact. Invest in yourself and your growth.

So, instead of signing up for all kinds of newsletters, look for those that helps you. De-clutter your inbox and focus on the thing you should be doing.

That is my goal for December. I have moved continents, lived in 2 cities commuting every month and postponed a lot of personal goals for tomorrow (the one that never comes).

This December, I am re-planning my life and my goals. I want to be happier, do things I have always wanted to do and find time for myself and my hobbies. Learn something new twice a year that isn’t part of my professional life (like Tennis and rock climbing).

Time to de-clutter and find yourself.

(Image Courtesy: Google Images)


PMChat has been gaining popularity and is a great way to stay updated, interact and learn more. Today's post is all about PMChat- details, where to join and what to expect.

This is a guest post by Robert Kelly;  Founder and Managing Partner of Kelly Project Solutions.  He has over a dozen years of experience leading complex, enterprise projects at companies including Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Lenovo and currently at Red Hat.  Robert’s blog, Kelly’s Contemplation, was shortlisted for Computer Weekly’s Top 10 Project Management Blogs for 2010, named a Top 10 Up and Coming Project Manager on Twitter, and contributor to ‘A Peek Into The Life of Project Managers’.

Regardless of their experience level, Project Managers are always on the hunt for new ways to grow, learn, and stay on top of their profession.  It may be learning a new technology to join a new project.  Some are looking to break into the field of project management and want to learn the basics, while others are PMPs and need PDU’s to remain that way.  Wherever you may be in your professional career as a Project Manager, I would like to introduce a new medium to your development portfolio...#PMChat

Project Management Chat (#PMChat) is a weekly discussion hosted by Robert Kelly and Rob Prinzo each Friday from 12-1pm (EST).  The topics focus on Project Management & Leaderships techniques, best practices, and so on.  In addition to both Rob’s being named to the Top 10 Up & Coming Project Managers on Twitter, their partnership offers nearly 30 years of diverse experience to the #PMChat participants.  To further add value to this platform, they will invite thought leaders from a range of project management and leadership arenas to co-host the forum.  Additionally, KPS hosts a #PMChat Pre-Game show, via KPS Chatter on BlogTalk Radio, every week from 11:30-11:45 am (EST).  During this quick, 15-minute radio show, you will hear both Roberts and their guest for the week discuss the topic that will be discussed during the Twitter chat.

Here is what folks are saying...
·“Thanks for inviting me to the #pmchat. Great stuff, SMART people! Have a good weekend!”
·“It was fun! This was my first-ever Tweet Chat. Went very well and learned. Excellent use of time! Thanks for hosting it.”
·“Thanks @rkelly976 & @robprinzo for an interesting #pmchat today. Great topic! Wish I’d had more time to participate. Next time!”

The #PMChat is truly a great opportunity to talk with some tremendous Project/Program Management professionals about leading challenges in this space.  While other hashtags have become 1-way communication and retweets, #PMChat is truly a collaborative environment where people are sharign ideas, networking, and developing relationships. 

Join us and see what all the talk is about! 

Communication 101

You can communicate by writing a paragraph or a page OR simply by a pictorial representation/graph.

Now, which one you use will depend on a lot of reason:
•Analyze which medium drives the point home better
•What your target audience prefers- words or picture?
•Which is an effective mode of communication?

Now communication is not a standard template that caters to everyone. Communication is customizable. It is personal.

How you communicate with your client/team will depend on who they are and what they want from you.

So, how will you figure out what to give and to whom?

There are a couple of ways:
See who they are- Browse their website and read about their corporate image to find out the company culture. Your presentation cannot be the same for a advertising agency and for a hi-tech industry. You want to be creative with the advertising agency and include more logic for the hi-tech one.

Do I know you? - It helps to know who will be in the meeting.  If you have names, please make the effort to find them out through Linkedin, Facebook and even Twitter. See what they like other than their jobs- it will help you strike a human bond- very essential. You’ll know what to talk (sports, films, gadgets). You will also know what impresses them- data, graphs, stories, case studies (hint: see their Linkedin profiles and analyze their background, their college degrees and even hobbies and groups they belong to).

Show you are interested- Try to make them feel comfortable. If they are global clients, write a thank you note in their native language perhaps. Duh- you don’t need to attend language classes, just use Google Translate- works like a charm.

Listen- Don’t just hear. Listen what they want, what is missing and what can be done. Let your clients speak, don’t cut them off while they are speaking just because you have handled the same question 50 times before. It’s disrespectful and makes your client look like an idiot. Take the time to listen and then solve the problem slowly- even if you have done it 50 times before, it’s the first time for your client.

Smile and be there- Smile through the phone, it shows. Even if you are stressed out and busy don’t rush your client through his session. Make him/her feel special, like your entire job for the day is to listen to him/her. Who doesn’t like to feel important?

(Pic Courtesy: Google Images)

Communication- the "it" skill

The success to any business and perhaps career is the underrated art of communication.

Last week while visiting a jewelry shop, the experience was so good that I was amazed at how much I enjoyed spending the 40 minutes there. The rep was well trained and customized behavior towards their customers was marked by their growing business even during recession.

I had similar experience while shopping for a new refrigerator in Best Buy, the rep knowledgeable and personable stole the show.

Every client wants similar experience and we as project managers look forward to make sure our clients are here to stay.

Communication is not about transferring point A to point Z to another person; it’s about being there for your client, making your relation personable and making it an experience for the client.

This is one area where “you” can come alive. Observe mistakes committed by others and study the most successful project managers; most of them if you notice are unusually good at communications. 

Bring in your own style and you to the table and chances are you will emerge a winner.

Understanding people- 7 rules you should know

Mar 29, 2010 | | 1 comments |
If you are a project manager thats because you understand people well. If you are not one and would like to be on, follow the rules taken from here.

Rule One: Never blame malice for what can easily be explained by conceit.
Rule Two: Few Social Behaviors are Explicit
Rule Three: Behavior is Largely Dictated by Selfish Altruism
Rule Four: People Have Poor Memories
Rule Five: Everyone is Emotional
Rule Six: People are Lonely
Rule Seven: Did I Mention People Are Self-Absorbed?

You can read the details here, the source for the article.