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That's Life

As a career professional, volunteer, mom, wife, and friend, I focus on the positive aspects of life, even when the road is rough getting there. Life is funny. How you treat others, how you handle situations, and how you live each day is your responsibility ... so are the outcomes.

Public Speaking

According to a post by News Wire Today, “The biggest fear is public speaking, with 15 percent of American experiencing a dramatic fear of it,” said Dr. Michael Telch of the Laboratory for the Study of Anxiety Disorders (LSAD) in the Department of Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin. “People have had to turn down jobs, and certainly students have dropped classes because of it.” (Retrieved from http://www.newswiretoday.com/news/17334/.) Most everyone I know does not like to get in front of an audience to deliver a message of any length. I, on the other hand, am one of the individuals, who are keen on talking to crowds no matter what size they are. The bigger the crowd, the more comfortable I feel. In my head, I cannot understand why it is so hard for anyone to execute public speaking, even when they are an expert in the subject matter. I am sure there are commonalities with those, who do not like to present. Over the many years I have been speaking, I recognize my keys to being successful at it are being prepared, having confidence in the subject matter, being comfortable with the presentation style, and knowing who the audience is.

I did a quick poll with my Facebook contacts to see, if anyone would own up to not liking presentations and / or public speaking, then provide insight as to why. I wanted to see, if their reasons were consistent with what researchers have pinpointed. The results consisted of these responses, which I have seen in articles and textbooks over the years;
1.) Anxiety,
2.) Hand sweats, rapid pulse, can’t breathe, then eventually pass out,
3.) Thinking what others are thinking about you,
4.) Audience not being receptive to your message, and
5.) Not being able to answer questions and looking like you are not knowledgeable.

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Project Management - Holding The Team Accountable

No matter what project team you lead, it is imperative to hold all team members accountable for their actions and non-actions. Whether they are under your management or are the subordinates of others, their role responsibilities are equally important in guaranteeing the successful and on time deliverables for a project. My career has exposed me to a variety of accountability tools. I continue to use those producing the most positive, effective results not just for the project, yet also for my team. In addition to using these methods, I do not allow “slacking off” or getting someone to do the work for them. I consider a project commitment an agreed upon contract to perform to the communicated expectations.

With any assignment, there needs to be an established agreement between the project manager and the individual targeted to carry out the task. It will eliminate the, “I did not sign up for that” mentality. When a person has a different manager, it is a courtesy to acquire their buy-in before asking one of their employees to be on a project. Having them involved provides an additional level of accountability and allocates visibility of additional workflow to consider. Once the team is established and before the project begins, an expectations meeting should be held to introduce the team, define each person’s role, provide key milestones, and specify deliverable dates for internal and customer use. When discussing these points, it is also beneficial to incorporate the skills associated with the tasks, which subliminally classifies the efforts involved to finish each part. Using this tactic will not lead on to who you feel the experts are, yet sets precedence to all for the necessary work ethic. The meeting should also include open discussions whereby responsibility and due date clarifications can be received. When the team leaves the meeting, they should feel confident in their appointment, be ready to move forward, and have a well-defined contact list for further questions and change management needs.

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