Project Management and Toastmasters

Understanding their synergy in developing knowledge and skills



By Raju Rao, PMP, SCPM, OPM3 Certified Professional

Chennai, India



After working for nearly two decades in project management training and consulting I was looking for a change of scenario where I could network with people with a general background. This is when I ran into Toastmasters and after visiting one club as a guest, promptly joined it. Since then it has been a very enjoyable and fruitful experience with them. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the twin disciplines of communication and leadership espoused strongly by the Toastmaster community are in fact important areas of knowledge and practice in project management. So, the question arose, is there any synergy between Project Management and the Toastmaster way? What are the areas of commonality and differences? And how can the two benefit from each other?

Toastmasters and Project Management – Communication & Leadership

Toastmasters International considers itself to be the first-choice provider of dynamic, high-value, experiential communication and leadership skills development. Members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the club meetings. Leaders head families, coach teams, run businesses and mentor others. These leaders must not only accomplish, they must also communicate. By regularly giving speeches, gaining feedback, leading teams and guiding others to achieve their goals in a supportive atmosphere the Toastmasters platform provide a supportive and positive learning experience. This empowers members to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.

Some of the well-known standards and competency frameworks in Project Management include

The PMBOK® Guide 6th edn or the Project Management Body of Knowledge of the Project Management Institute or PMI. It lists ten knowledge areas of which Communication is one of them. Leadership is a part of Interpersonal and team skills which is one of the techniques for managing a team.

PMCDF 3rd Edn or the Project Management Competency Development Framework of PMI has identified the major skills required for Project Managers in the form of a talent triangle with Technical Project Management, Leadership and Strategic Business Management at the three apex points. The Leadership skills include among others dealing with people, being visionary, collaborative, optimistic and managing relationships. Most of the project manager’s time is spent in communicating and in the triangle it is considered part of this node.

ICB 4.0 or Individual Competency Baseline of the International Project Management Association or IPMA considers Communication and Leadership as part of People competencies .It includes elements like personal communication, relationships and engagement, leadership, teamwork, resourcefulness and negotiation. IPMA standards describe competence in terms of Knowledge and skills. These together would reflect abilities. Competence is the application of knowledge, skills and abilities to produce desired project results. In the Project Excellence Baseline or Model assessments are done to ascertain the level of competency achieved. Leadership is considered one of the criteria in People & Purpose area and Communication is evaluated as part of Project Management processes & resources area. In the Organizational Competency Baseline, which considers assessments from an organizational perspective, Leadership as an element and part of Governance, and Communication is part of People’s competency.

Toastmasters skills in Project Management – some observations

Many of the skills practised in the Toastmaster community find their place as knowledge and skills required in project management standards of PMI. Some examples are:


To read entire article, click here


How to cite this article: Rao, R. (2018).  Project Management and Toastmasters: Understanding their synergy in developing knowledge and skills, PM World Journal, Vol. VII, Issue XII (December). Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/pmwj77-Dec2018-Rao-project-management-and-toastmasters-advisory.pdf

About the Author

Raju Rao

Chennai, India




Raju Rao, PMP, SCPM, is a social entrepreneur and a project management evangelist. He is the Founder of the Forum for Food Recovery and Xtraplus Solutions, a PM consulting and training company based in Chennai, India. Mr Rao has a B.Tech degree in Chemical Engineering from the National Institute of Technology,Trichy,India; an Advanced PM certificate from Stanford University; and a certificate from IIM Calcutta. He has more than 40 years’ experience in engineering, process and project management and has been an active member of PMI for several years.He has held leadership positions in standards development ,developing systems for awards governance ,been a jury and has reviewed and mentored speakers for global congresses.Raju has been a President of South India section of AACE International.

Mr Rao has been a visiting and adjunct faculty for engineering and business schools in India. Raju is a member of Toastmasters International and has mentored speakers on behalf of PMI for the North American Global Congress held in 2018. He has presented numerous papers in global congresses and is the co-author of two books – Project Management Circa 2025 published by PMI and Organizational Project Management published by Management Concepts, USA. He has been an International Correspondent for PM World Journal. He is also involved in writing fiction and has recently authored a novelette ‘Triumph at Last ’.

Raju Rao lives in Chennai, India and can be contacted at www.xtraplus.in or [email protected]

To view other works by Raju Rao, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/raju-rao/