Being “Present”

By Lakecia Carter, PMP

Remember when you were in school and the teacher called the roll?  When you heard your name called, you would say “present” or “here” and raise your hand high in the air.  If the kid was not there, they would be marked “absent”. Also, lyrics to an old song come to my mind when I think of another form of “absent”. Paraphrased, it says “You are here with me, but your mind is on the other side of town”.  I can relate because sometimes I’m physically present, but my mind is 100 other places. Therefore, I’m “absent”.

Let’s face it, as Project managers, we are masters at juggling! We have to keep up with ourselves and our teams! We have instant access to loads of information through the Internet, email, our blackberry devices, cell phones, you name it!  Information overload combined with multi-tasking is a sure prescription for mental and emotional absenteeism. It’s easy to become “absent” or disconnected from your teams, especially when we have so much going on all the time! Here are three ways that you can be “Present”:

Tune IN!
Tune In to the person or group that you are communicating with. Listen with your eyes and see with your ears. In other words, look for non-verbal signs and respond accordingly. If someone says, “I’m great”, but they are wincing, that’s a clue! Also, If someone says, “I’m done with my task, but I still need to test a few other changes”. That means, “I’m NOT DONE YET”.

Tune OUT!
Tune out text messages, emails, interruptions, and phone calls. Shut down all distractions when you are with someone. If you are in a meeting with multiple conversations, put an end to them immediately out of respect for others. Anything that would take you away from the moment needs to be avoided.

Clarify the message and the need. Respond with an answer, a solution, a thought, an idea. Ask, “How can I help you?”

With so much going on in the world, your ‘presence’ is necessary to keep projects healthy and thriving! My question to you today is, “Are you present or absent?”

© 2009 PMVisionware, Inc. All rights reserved.

Leave a reply

PMI Logo1 Powered by, Inc. | Copyright © 2007 - 2018,, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

"PMBOK, PMI, PMP and REP" are trademarks, service marks or certification marks of the Project Management Institute Inc. Inc. | 3500 Lenox Road, Suite 1500 | Atlanta, GA 30326 | 404-815-4644