Project Management

PMOs: You Must Have Presence!

PMI Charleston, SC Chapter

Dan leads the Project Management Office of The Medical University of South Carolina's Office of the CIO. He also owns PM One, LLC (, a leading project management training company serving the Southeast USA. Dan is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), a Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS), and a HIMSS Fellow (FHIMSS).

PMOs frequently find themselves in front of an audience--sometimes as a meeting facilitator, sometimes as a presenter and sometimes as a motivational speaker! It is critical that as a PMO you have “presence” if you are to be the most effective leader you can be--and why would you want anything else?

The “need” for this brief article came about while working with my friend Dr. Laura Camacho while we were developing a presentation for an upcoming leadership summit. The “need”? Well, I felt the need to share with my peer community on, who have already shared so much with me.

What is presence? Presence is not something that is improved simply through experience (think of all the more experienced people around you who lack it), but it is certainly something that can be improved with effort. If you think of people who seem to have “command of the room” when they walk in, they have presence. You can’t touch it, but you know it when you see it. It is also very clear when it is lacking--who wants to follow someone, whether a project manager or a president, who lacks presence?

Compare Jimmy Carter to Bill Clinton. Which one has presence? Compare Ronald Reagan to Gerald Ford. Which one has presence? When those with presence enter the room, others in the room take notice and want to hear what they …

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"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

- Plato