“Personal effectiveness is the core of our business.”
- Sheila Viesca, TalkShop

Monday, January 21, 2013

Strategic Project Management Tips

Strategic Project Management Tips

Getting Started – Initiation

1.     Develop a solid business case for your projects.  Where appropriate, ensure you obtain senior managers’ agreement before you start the project. Research points out that too many projects are started without a firm reason or rationale.  Developing a business case will identify whether it is worth working on.

2.     Ensure your project fits with the key organisational or departmental agenda or your personal strategy.  If not, why do it?  Stick to priority projects.

3.     Carry out risk analysis at a high level at the initiation stage.  Avoid going into great detail here – more an overview focussing on the key risks.

4.      Identify at this early stage key stakeholders. Consider how much you need to consult or involve them at the business case stage. Seek advice if necessary from senior managers

5.     Where appropriate, involve finance people in putting the business case together.  They can be great allies in helping crunch the numbers which should give credibility to your business case. 

Defining Your Project

6.     Produce a written project definition statement (sometimes called PID) and use it to inform stakeholders – see point 13. This document is ‘your contract’ to carry out the project and should be circulated to key stakeholders.

7.     Use the project definition statement to prevent creep.  Use it to prevent you going beyond the scope of the project through its use in the review process.

8.      Identify in detail what will and will not be included in the project scope.  Avoid wasting time by working on those areas which should not be included – identify these in the PID.

9.     Identify who fulfils which roles in your project. Document them on the PID. Include a paragraph to show what each person does.

10. Identify who has responsibility for what in the project e.g. project communications is the responsibility of AD. This helps reduce doubt early in the life of the project.

11. Think ‘Team Selection’ – give some thought to who should be in your team.  Analyse whether they have the skills required to enable them to carry out their role?  If not, ensure they receive the right training. Check they are available for the period of the project. NOTE: this includes any contactors you may need to use

12.  Form a group of Project Managers. The Project Manager role can sometimes be very lonely!  Give support to each other by forming a group of Project Managers.

13. Identify who the stakeholders are for your project – those affected and ‘impacted’ by the project.  This should be an in- depth analysis which needs updating regularly.

14. Recognise early in the life of the project what is driving the project.  Is it a drive to improve quality, reduce costs or hit a particular deadline?  You can only have 1.  Discuss with the sponsor what is driving the project and ensure you stick to this throughout the project. Keep “the driver” in mind especially when you monitor and review.

15. Hold a kick off meeting (Start up Workshop) with key stakeholders, sponsor, project manager project team.  Use the meeting to help develop the PID (see Tip 6).  Identify risks and generally plan the project.  If appropriate hold new meetings at the start of a new stage.

16.  Ensure you review the project during the Defining Your Project Stage – involve your sponsor or senior manager in this process. Remember to check progress against the business case.

Talkshop, the best Strategic Project Management School in the Philippines, will teach you how to integrate the necessary skills to accomplish a successful project.

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Leadership Skills: Effective Communication

Leadership Skills: Effective Communication

Communication is an essential part of everyday life. The average person speaks up to 16,000 words every day! That’s a lot of words, so it can be a big challenge to get them all right.
Some people are naturally better at communicating than others and some more experienced. If we are good at talking, however, we shouldn’t be fooled into believing that we are good at communicating.  Likewise, if we happen to be quiet, that doesn’t mean we are bad communicators.

Everything we do in life, and at work, communicates a message to others. And in a leadership role, it is important to make sure we are communicating theright message. Effective communication is therefore one of the most important leadership skills.
Most of us have probably heard this saying:
“It’s not what we say but how we say it.”  
This can be true; as effective communicators, however, we should understand that:
“It is what we say and how, when, where and why we say it.”  

What, how, when, where and why we communicate is the difference between negative and positive interactions, situations, outcomes and relationships. It can be the key difference between being a poor leader and an exceptional leader.
Having the skills to communicate effectively is one of the keys to leading people effectively.
Effective communication is a very challenging and complex process as there is always the potential for misunderstanding.

Let’s consider the question asked in the work place scenario below. Cai is applying the finishing touches to a product display stand when she is approached by her team leader, Anya...

 The question “Who made that decision?” seems like a straightforward question, however depending on who asked it, how they asked it, who was asked and under what circumstances it was asked there could be any number of surprising responses (either spoken or thought), such as:
“Oh that’d be right – I’ve slaved over this for hours all by myself and only now you decide to come down here and get involved!” or “I did and if it’s not perfect I don’t have time to fix it; I have much more important things to be doing!”
What if the full question asked by Anya was: “Who made that decision - it looks fantastic! What a great idea!”
If Anya had communicated her thoughts in this way, it is likely that she would have received a much more positive response from Cai.
This example demonstrates that communication can be very challenging, which is exactly why, in order to be effective leaders, we need to learn how to communicate effectively.
So where do we start?
There are many, many facets to effective communication, such as using and interpreting body language, receiving criticism positively, assertive communication and managing communication barriers, just to name a few.

As a starting point, here are three of the most important effective communication skills to consider:

1: Consider their perspective
2: Constructive Reframes
3: Effective listening

Talkshop, the best Leadership Training School in the Philippines, will equip you with the necessary skills you need for effective communication and leadership skills.
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Technical Writing

Technical Writing

Compare the following two sentences that provide instructions  to  a set of employees (this 
Example is given in [Roy 2000]): 
1.  It is of considerable importance to ensure  that  under  no  circumstances should 
anyone fail to deactivate the overhead luminescent function at its local activation 
point on their departure to their place of residence, most notably immediately
preceding the two day period at the termination of the standard working week. 

2.  Always turn the lights out when you go home, especially on a Friday.  
The meaning of both sentences is, of course, equivalent. Which one was easier to read and 
understand? The objective of this document is to show people how to write as in the second 
sentence rather than the first. If you actually prefer the first, then there is little point in you 
reading the rest of this document. But please do not expect to win too many friends (or marks) 
from any writing that you produce.  

Unfortunately, the great shame for anybody having to read lots of reports in their everyday
life is that the schools’ system continues to produce students who feel they ought to write 
more like in the first sentence than the second. Hence, the unnecessarily complex and formal 
style is still common. This document shows you  that there is a better way to  write,  using 
simple, plain English. 

One of the good things about technical writing is that you really can learn to improve. You 
should not believe people who say that being a good writer is a natural ability that you either 
have or do not have. We are talking here about presenting technical or business reports and 
not about writing novels. I speak from some experience in this respect, because in the last ten 
years I have learned these ideas and applied them to become a better writer. When I was 
writing my first book in 1989 an outstanding technical editor highlighted the many problems 
with my writing. I was guilty of many of the examples of bad practice that I will highlight 
throughout this document. You too can improve your writing significantly if you are aware of 
what these bad practices are and how to avoid them. TalkShop, which is considered the best Technical Writing school in the Philippines, will ensure that you are equipped with all the skills necessary to achieve your goals in the corporate world.

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Monday, January 07, 2013

Strategic Project Management


    In today’s business environment, the competitive edge lies in the ability of project managers to nurture relationships with clients to build loyalty and trust.  Mastering the technical skills of project management is only part of the challenge.  Equally important is the ability to manage difficult relationships with clients and employees to ensure project success. This requires getting inside the heads of the client—to understand their
hopes and fears.  Only then can a project manager positively control the “bumps in the road” which arise on every project.  Practicing the art of service recovery can turn a dissatisfied client into an advocate for your firm. Managing a high-performing team also requires the project manager to deal effectively with difficult employees – to minimize conflict and build commitment to the group.  We’ll share the secrets of managing performance to ensure project success.

    The first key to managing difficult clients OR difficult employees is to understand why people behave the way they do.  In this session, you will complete the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the DiSC Personal Profile assessments and discuss implications for dealing effectively with other people.

    The ability to manage conflict successfully is a hallmark of effective project managers.  In this session, you will complete a Conflict Style Inventory to learn about your personal conflict style and its implications for interactions with clients and employees.  We’ll discuss the appropriate responses to the styles used by other people and learn how to turn conflict into a constructive project management tool.

    Talkshop, the best Project Management School in the Philippines, equips you with all the necessary tools to achieve your goals.

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Saturday, January 05, 2013

Marketing Strategy

Marketing Strategy

Even if you’re a small business, marketing education and training helps your employees bring more business to you, no matter how experienced they already are. If they get a degree in marketing or if they supplement their education with additional marketing training, they’ll be able to boost your visibility in the market by staying on top of the latest trends and skill sets. 

 Investing in Talkshop’s marketing training programs can help your business:

1.    Stay on top of the latest marketing trends to show that you’re a cutting edge business.
2.    Ensure your name stays in front of your customer base as your employees apply what they learn.
3.    Reach out to new market segments, locally or globally.
4.    Retain key employees by giving them education at low or no cost to them

The more marketing education your employees have, the more they can promote your goods or services and meet customer needs. Consider reimbursing your employees' tuition if they decide to pursue a marketing degree.

Provide an ongoing marketing training program in the workplace

You want your employees to learn the latest marketing trends and ideas, and you want to make sure they can translate these ideas into action. Ongoing marketing training helps with this, and that is what Talkshop, the best English School in the Philippines, ensures to do.

Talkshop will tailor the marketing training program to your company's needs

Creating our own in-house marketing training helps your employees master the skills that can directly affect your bottom line.

Stay on top of marketing trends

If you want your employees to become educated in marketing, Talkshop will make sure that you understand the latest trends and we will share our knowledge with your employees on a regular basis.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Personality Development

Personality Development

      The influence of human personality upon the functional efficiency of an organization and its personnel has been widely recognized. The personality can also be modified to a certain extent. Accordingly, recent years have seen a variety of efforts by professionals in various fields to design courses that will help develop certain positive trends in personality. The objective of such courses is to remove or screen out those barriers or obstructions that stand in the way of the expression of individual personality, through a process of training.

       Personality is highly affected by your motivation. If you're not motivated then your personality in the work environment will suffer. Here at Talkshop, we will help you identify the different factors of motivations to keep you at your best !

These factors are related to the nature of work (job content) and are intrinsic to the job itself. These factors have a positive influence on morale, satisfaction, efficiency and higher productivity.

Some of these factors are:
• The job itself, To be motivated, people must like and enjoy their jobs. They become highly committed to goal achievement and do not mind working late hours in order to do what is to be done. Their morale is high as evidenced by lack of absenteeism and tardiness.
• Recognition. Proper recognition of an employee's contribution by the management is highly morale boosting. It gives the workers a feeling of worth and self esteem. It is human nature to be happy when appreciated. Thus, such recognition is highly motivational.
• Achievement. A goal achievement gives a great feeling of accomplishment. The goal must be challenging, requiring initiative and creativity. An assembly line worker finishing his routine work hardly gets the feeling of achievement. The opportunities must exist for the meaningful achievement, otherwise workers become sensitized to the environment and begin to find faults with it.
• Responsibility. It is an obligation on the part of the employee to carry out the assigned duties satisfactorily. The higher the level of these duties, the more responsibility the worker would feel and more motivated he would be. It is a good feeling to know that you are considered a person of integrity and intelligence to be given a higher responsibility. It is a motivational factor that helps growth.
• Growth and advancement. These factors are all interrelated and are positively related to motivation. Job promotions, higher responsibility, participation in central decision making and executive benefits are all signs of growth and advancement and add to dedication and commitment of employees.

Talkshop is the leading facility for Personality Development training in the Philippines and we continue to deliver excellent image enhancement programs to bring out the best in you!

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