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Training Project Managers Can't Afford to Miss!

How do you invest in your own personal development when time is short and training budgets are tight? It's a challenge we're all faced with.

I often ask executive coaching clients, "How would you summarize your personal development strategy?" Typical responses range from going to workshops and conferences to reading books.

How would you respond? What is your strategy?

If your strategy does not currently include listening to podcasts, I challenge you to make this the year that you try them out.

Podcasts?

Think of podcasts as pre-recorded radio shows that you can download onto an MP3 player or listen to on the web. It's really no more complex than that, and programs such as iTunes make it as simple as "subscribe and synch."

What's the Big Deal?

I had the opportunity to interview Zig Ziglar a couple years back. Zig told me he calls it "Automobile University": tapping into free learning during your commute. Though he was talking about books on tape or CD, that's really what podcasts are for us: whether it's commute time, workouts, or other time when you could be pouring into yourself.

Rarely do I listen to the radio when driving these days. More likely than not, my iPod is plugged into the stereo system and I'm listening to music, teaching, or entertainment that I choose (as opposed to what happens to be currently broadcasting in my area at the time).

The big deal is you can take advantage of targeted learning when it's convenient for you. And in most cases the price is right on the mark: free.

How Do I Get Started?

The vast majority of people who subscribe to my People and Projects Podcast subscribe via iTunes. If you don't have iTunes on your computer, click here to download it for free.

Once in iTunes, click on the link for the iTunes Store. This is where you can purchase music, videos, and iPhone apps. But it's also where you can get easy access to podcasts. Look for the "Podcasts" link in the iTunes Store area on the left.

From there you can start browsing for podcasts that look interesting to you. Click on the name of a cast and listen to all or part of an episode. If you like what you hear, click the Subscribe button. This means every time a new episode is available, iTunes will download it to your computer automatically.

If you have an iPod, you can have it automatically synch your podcasts so you have the latest episodes with you.

You can find the People and Projects Podcast on iTunes by following this link: http://www.tinyurl.com/ppcast. We have episodes already published on topics such as social networking, project sponsorship, the myth of multitasking, and how to develop rapport and trust when you're presenting. New episodes are published regularly and you get it all for free.

What If I Don't Have an MP3 Player?

No problem. You can listen to podcasts directly in a tool such as iTunes. Or you can listen to most podcasts directly from a web browser. For example, you can listen to our People and Projects Podcast from the web at http://www.i-leadonline.com/podcast.

Visit sites such as Podcast Alley or other podcast directories to get access to countless opportunities to learn.

So, What Are You Waiting For?

If you're not currently using podcasts for personal development, now is the time to get started! Click here to subscribe to The People and Projects Podcast on iTunes.

If you are currently listening to podcasts, what are some of your favorites? Reply to this post with your favorites as I would like to highlight the most popular in a future update.

Thanks! Have a great week!

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Comment by Andy Kaufman on March 31, 2009 at 2:08pm
Well said, Mike! So many think PM is a science--and there is some of that--but often it would seem our success depends even more so on the art of influence, listening, facilitating, etc. I've often said that great PM's are known for having a good nose--the ability to just smell that something isn't right. Here's to your continued development as a project manager with a good nose!
Comment by Mike Watson on March 31, 2009 at 1:35pm
As a career changer! new to project management, it's difficult to get your first break in a job. I'm downloading your podcasts as I type and couldn't agree more with your soft skills statement. I am learning the theory now with a PRINCE2 course, but have 15 years of relationship, account management and business development experience, all of it really based on your ability to interact, sell your opinion, idea or theory. Getting people to understand your view is an art form which not everyone is good at. I think I have natural ability in building relationships and coupled with some set processess I'm hoping to be a future success in PMP

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