Know your audience

How many times have you been told that? How many times have you really known your audience—especially for that first meeting; especially if you are taking over a project mid-term, or worse, a failing project?

The key is to really know what your presentation needs to convey. What you need to share and the information you need to gather, and then being adaptable. You as the project manager must be agile and able to quickly read personalities, watch for hidden agendas, and read between the lines.

You also need to be a good speaker. Nothing turns people’s ears off faster than a string of um’s, you knows, so….and any other number of filler words/sounds. Or someone like that monotone professor, we’ve almost all had one, that can put even the most caffeinated person to sleep no matter the content.

If you have this issue, get thee to Toastmasters post haste—it is the best investment you will ever make.

Communication is key, first impressions count, so do everything you can to make it your best.

Project management—not just for work

Some people do not understand project management is not just an at-work activity. I use project management techniques for my quitting all the time. Why? Because quilting, from design to the actual quilting, takes time. Things have to be done in order; there is a budget, and usually a time constraint.  Sometimes there are material constraints and size constraints.

For those unfamiliar with quilting; the projects I am working on now are a class sampler, 3 challenge quilting projects, a birthday project for my granddaughter, and a new flannel quilt for my family.

The class sampler quilt has a time constraint, in that it has to be done before the class listing is published by the store I am teaching the class at publishes. Most people don’t sign up for classes if they can’t see what the finished result will be. It also has a budget constraint, the more it costs me to make the less income I have from teaching the class. It has a quality constraint, store owners and class takers look for quality. There are usually material constraints, store owners want their patterns and fabrics in the sampler…it is a symbiotic relationship. Challenge quilts, have time constraints, size constraints (normally), material constraints most of the time—they provide fabrics that you must use, quality constraints, rework, etc. You get the idea.

Then there is work (you know—that thing that pays the bills), family time, unexpected issues (risks) like bad weather that knocks out the power, illness, family drama, work drama. Oh, there is cooking and cleaning…but managed properly, it can all get done, on time, in budget, with good quality and within the proper constraints.

I begin making Christmas presents the 1st of June….

I blog about quilting at: Fiddlesticks and Humility