One of the many personal challenges I’ve faced in my working life was to overcome my natural tendency towards being erratic. I’m not talking about endearing (to me at least) eccentricities, more about practical things such as a rubbish memory for dates and poor time management. Throw in a crisis and I could generally be found running around with my head on fire.

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Closely related to presenting well is the art of public speaking. While not everyone is thrilled at the prospect at standing up and speaking in front of colleagues or strangers, it is a skill that can be acquired. As you become more proficient, you’ll be able to control your nerves better before a presentation and you may even come to enjoy it. Here are some suggested tips:

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We product managers are a surprisingly upbeat bunch considering that we seem to spend a good proportion of our time making compromises. We very rarely get the opportunity to deliver everything we need in a product.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, however. We very rarely have truly ultimate say-so on the scope of a project; there’s always someone higher ranking that likes to make their mark on the world. Similarly, technology has a habit of getting in the way sometimes. Or pesky compliance issues. And so on.

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Product managers can be creatures of habit. Some habits are good and give us a consistent and diligent approach. Sometimes, though, we allow ourselves to be constrained by habitual thinking, inhibiting true innovation.

How often have you found yourself thinking: “we can’t do X because that’s not the way we do things” or “we can’t do Y because we can’t change our billing system”?

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So much of being a product manager depends on successfully persuading and influencing others. Whether you’re presenting your product strategy, presenting a business case to the Board or talking with your customers, you need to demonstrate a good knowledge of your products and market to ensure that you come over as authoritative and credible.

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