17 October 2022 at 07:00PM
Learn the Soft Skills Future PMs will Need with Toastmasters!
Project management is a hot field right now, and it seems like everyone wants to be a project manager. As many career-changers assess their competencies and gear up to learn about methodologies, frameworks, metrics, and more, many current PMs are also looking to advance in their careers. Surely, the years to come will see many more complex projects evolve, and with them, the need for many more PMs. But what will that future require of us?
I recently attended the International Institute for Learning’s (IIL) webinar with Dr. Harold Kernzer, where he discussed the future of project management. One of my takeaways from the webinar was that project managers will need new soft skills to be effective in the future. To lead projects in a more globally connected, technology-integrated VUCA environment, PMs will need people-focused competencies, such as emotional intelligence, managing self-directed teams, and change management.
Wouldn’t you like to learn these competencies in an exciting and effective way?
learning experience provides opportunities for you to develop these skills in an encouraging and supportive environment. You might know that Toastmasters has helped professionals improve their leadership and communication skills for decades. But you might not know that Toastmasters’ current core education program, Pathways, offers learning paths that align with the soft skills needs of future PMs. Each path has an organized structure and a logical progression, which includes elective projects to increase your knowledge, build your skills, and demonstrate your expertise.
- Need to manage self-directed teams? Look at the Effective Coaching path.
- Want to develop innovation and strategic leadership? There’s the Innovative Planning path.
- Need to Improve your collaboration skills? Take the Team Collaboration path.
- Managing change is not your forte? Look at the Dynamic Leadership path.
- Working on improving your emotional intelligence? Take the Motivational Strategies path.
- Struggling to lead without authority? There’s the Persuasive Influence path.
So how can you learn these new soft skills you will need for the complex projects of tomorrow and maximize the value of your time?
Join PMI Mile Hi Toastmasters, (sponsored by the PMI Mile Hi Chapter), which allows you to earn PDUs for attending meetings where you can try out presentations before giving them at work, and prepare for speaking opportunities at PMI conferences while you complete your Pathways learning path! That’s the best kind of multitasking. We meet twice a month via Zoom (no travel time, yay!), on the second Tuesday and fourth Thursday.
Meetings are time-boxed to 1.25 hours and are free to attend. We take that time box very seriously—meeting agendas list start times for each section, to keep us accountable. We incorporate stakeholder feedback from our general evaluator and our guests, which helps us inspect how we’re doing and adapt as needed, to provide the best value for our members. While we have a PM and Agile focus, you don’t need to be a member of PMI to join our Toastmasters club.
Of course, you’ll also improve your communication and leadership skills by taking on meeting roles and flexing those think-on-your-feet muscles by answering Table Topics questions. You can complete all the Pathways programs listed above, or just one or two. Club officer positions, which last one calendar year, provide an opportunity for further leadership development.
Whether you’re new to project management, or just need to acquire these soft skills, you can attend a meeting as a guest before becoming an official club member. Registering for our meetings through the PMI Mile Hi Chapter calendar is easy, and you’ll receive the Zoom info by email. Our Toastmasters club provides a diverse and welcoming environment, so come visit our next meeting on October 27th, 6-7:15 pm Mountain Time!
About the Author
Christine Fontenot, MPM, PMP, CSM, CSPO, is a career changer who joined the project management world during the global pandemic. With a personal focus on continuous improvement, she is a member of the PMI Mile Hi Toastmasters club, where she currently serves as club president.