Professional Training and Development

Ethical Decision Making

When you’re making plans and you must decide on the best course of action, you weigh a number of different options and choices. Although cost, time, and preferences will play a role in determining your path, they aren’t the only factors you need to take into account. In most situations—and especially those that will have significant ramifications on people and resources—you must account for the effect on people, rather than simply opting for the most expedient route. Therefore, weighing the benefits and consequences of each choice is an important part of your decision-making process. In his book, Problem-Solving and Decision Making: Illustrated Course Read More…


Communicating With Clarity and Class Online

E-mail provides a convenient way to communicate with others. With ease, we can distribute a memo to dozens of colleagues, forward on a useful newsletter filled with informative articles, or send a message across the country (or world) in a matter of moments. However, as easy as it is to send an e-mail, we may not always recognize how to best use e-mail in an effective manner. Throughout the course of the day, you may need to share information with colleagues, peers, and members of your staff. When should you use e-mail to send your messages, and when might Read More…


How to Delegate Wisely and Effectively

What’s on your plate today… this month… this year? If you’re like many of us, your answer may be: “too much.” But take a look around, and perhaps you’ll see qualified, intelligent people that could benefit from the experience of taking on one of those projects or responsibilities. If those people have the time, ability, and inclination, you may be able to delegate a project from your to-do list to one of them. By delegating tasks, you provide others with the opportunity to stretch their wings, learn some new skills, and gain confidence in their ability to conquer new Read More…


Tips for Students: Managing Conflict in Your Group

Though we hope that all projects will run smoothly and all team members will work together with positive and collegial attitudes, conflicts do occasionally arise as we work on projects with others. However, every conflict does not necessarily lead to a completely negative ending. How you, as an individual, handle the conflict can (and will) have an effect on the overall outcome of the situation. As your students work on their projects, they may appreciate some guidance that helps them deal with disagreements in a way that helps, rather than hinders, their progress. In Verbal Communication: Illustrated Read More…


Activity: Selecting Appropriate Presentation Aids

Though you may not (yet!) be as dynamic as your favorite lecturers, philosophers, authors, or comedians, you probably draw some form of inspiration from them. Perhaps you’ve observed their use of charts and graphs and noticed that you can indeed present data in a compelling manner. Maybe you admire the way they use working scale models to bring their ideas to life. Or, possibly, you’ve noted their decision not to rely on hundred-slide presentation decks in a forum that’s usually packed with laser-pointer-wielding speakers. As a result, you’ve now added new tools and techniques to your repertoire. Just as you Read More…


Learning the Latest Presentation Software

Whether you’re conducting a classroom lecture, leading a department meeting, or presenting your research at an international symposium, you want to leave your audience with a positive impression of your work and a clear understanding of your message. You know that software can help you create a colorful, memorable presentation, yet you don’t want to build a slide deck that is either dull and unengaging or overly flashy and overwhelming to the viewers. Though you can choose from a variety of presentation software options, you likely have Microsoft® PowerPoint® readily available to to you. Given that Microsoft Office 2013 came out Read More…


Perfecting Your Online Presentations

Even if you have finely tuned lecture and presentation skills, the act of conducting a presentation online may be new to you. Though the process of planning a presentation is, in many respects, the same, you’ll have a few additional matters to consider before you share your message with an online audience. Below, you’ll find some suggestions adapted from Ryan Watkins and Michael Corry’s E-Learning Companion: A Student’s Guide to Online Success, Fourth Edition, which will help ensure successful online presentations. These may also benefit your students if and when they’re required to present Read More…


Tips for Students: How to Contribute Positively to a Team

If you’ve participated in a group or team of any sort, you recognize that each individual’s efforts either add to or detract from the group’s success. (You probably have some stories that testify to this experience as well!) Though some positive and negative traits may be readily identifiable, those who are new to group work—or those who want to improve the quality of their contributions—may be seeking some direction regarding the individual attitudes and behaviors that lead to better team performance and increased camaraderie. In Industrial/Organizational Psychology: An Applied Approach, Seventh Edition, Michael G. Aamodt offers Read More…


Activity: Speaking Up in Group Situations

When working on a project, each member of a team typically works toward reaching consensus on the decisions that need to be made. Furthermore, most people want to minimize the opportunity for conflict, which can make meetings uncomfortable and ultimately distract a team from its overall aims. Unfortunately, at times, this desire to avoid conflict supersedes people’s willingness to challenge a popular idea, because they fear that raising their concerns will brand them as “troublemakers” and disrupt the unity they’d worked so hard to achieve. As Cindy Griffin and Jennifer Emerling Bone state in their text Invitation to Human Communication, group members should “…remember Read More…


Preparing Students for Collaboration in the Workplace

Professionals in any field must have a strong handle on the skills, expertise, and knowledge that their work requires. However, if you have top-notch training or razor-sharp insights, but you don’t speak cogently or treat others with respect, it’s difficult to develop smooth-running work relationships or persuade others to see the value you have to offer to a project or team. Therefore, it pays to develop the soft skills that enable you to function well in groups and teams formed at work or within other organizations. In this video, Cengage Learning author Jeff Butterfield describes why he believes Read More…