You know... People often use crutch words in their speech. Listen carefully and you will hear the colloquial "you know..." along with the evergreen fillers of "um and ah". Toastmasters International is the easiest and most affordable program to follow if you want to improve your speaking, however, this article focuses on helping you to use your common sense and implement what "you know" instead of including it in your speeches.
Here is what you know (or should know if you have any measure of experience in managing projects and programs).
1. Things take longer than you think they will. It also costs more. When you manage your projects, and someone gives you an estimate, use your experience. Will it really only take two months to implement a solution and cost $567,000? Or will it take three months and cost $765,876? In your personal life, will you be able to finish writing your book this week, or is it going to take three more months because you are tired, the child is sick and you need to take the car in for repairs? It seems to me that things always take longer than estimated and cost more. You know this, so don't get your shorts in a knot when your plans don't pan out perfectly. Plans seldom work out perfectly. Live with it.
2. Strategy and plans never fail in the project management office. You know that strategy and plans fail in implementation, despite what the "leaders" or "champions" say. If you expect a perfect strategy to emerge from any any strategy and planning sessions then you know that you have unrealistic expectations. Leverage your experience and plan for adjustments to plans instead of planning to implement plans without anticipating changes.
3. "It only takes two hours a week." When someone approaches you to fill a volunteer position, you will hear "It is only a small time commitment - it only takes two hours a week." You know that it isn't true. Your gut says "Oh yeah! Where have I heard that before". Yet you think that this time will be different and you sign up anyway, knowing that your commitment is now five hours a week and you are now on the radar to be asked for a myriad of other volunteer activities. You know this, and can plan better when you realize that you have just signed up for more than was promised. Therefore, it is important to support the charities and organizations that are important in your life, fully, and ignore the rest. You can't do it all and it is never just two hours a week.
4. "I like myself." You know this phrase. It is supposed to be the magical cure to raise self-esteem. Like treading on hot coals, you can supposedly improve your self esteem by telling yourself that you like yourself. It doesn't work. I know. I stand on the bathroom scale and say "I like myself." Try it the next time you stand on the bathroom scale. However, you also know that a good self-image and high self-esteem helps you to achieve more in life. Therefore, it is worth the time and effort investment to improve your self-esteem. Here are tips that do work.
a. Realize that you will have good days and bad days. Make the most of the good days, and don't make the bad days worse by beating yourself up. I don't know why we have good days and bad days - perhaps the stars align or UFO's land in the third moon of Venus. It is part of life.
b. Acknowledge your accomplishments, that make you feel good. It is easy to remember our failures in vivid detail. It takes more effort to write down our successes and remind ourselves of things we have accomplished that make us feel good. For example, it is easy for my inner critic to point out that my writing is not as good as Malcolm Gladwell or J.K. Rowling. However, my critic conveniently forgets that I have written thousands of words using imperfect grammar, and books and articles that help project managers to succeed every day. You know this, therefore you should start keeping a list, and add to it when you achieve something that makes you feel good. You build your self esteem by acknowledging the accomplishments that are meaningful to you.
c. Do things that you enjoy doing, and increase your self-esteem. Avoid things that detract from your feelings of self-worth and the resulting attacks on your self-esteem. For me, with a Green MVS®, this means that I consciously make time to do things independently while limiting my commitments and exposure to people with other Motivational Value Systems®. I didn't always know this about myself, and now that I am aware of the impact of working alone and being independent, I am able to influence my self-esteem. Do you know how to influence your self esteem? What things make you feel good, and what makes you feel drained? When are you going to get around to doing more things that make you feel good? Why not today? Do you think you have another life and you will get to it later?
What are you doing with what you know? Probably not enough. Think about what you know, and take action on it. Take action on what you know, and remove the words from your speech, "you know...".