Professional Training and Development

Building an Effective Team

At various points in your career, others will likely call upon you to lead a team in an effort to accomplish a specific goal. Your team’s goal might represent a major endeavor, such as a fundraising effort to construct a new building. In other instances, you may be tasked with accomplishing a more modest goal like organizing a department party or selecting a new vendor for your office supplies. Some of your teams may have a lifespan of a few months, whereas others may stay together for several years. Regardless of the team’s specific objectives, certain skills and principles Read More…


Tips for Students: Using E-Mail in a Professional Manner

To communicate with optimum effectiveness, you can learn skills that help you get your point across with clarity and leave others with a positive impression of your competence and professionalism. This is true for presentations and lectures, during which you need to keep your audience engaged and focused. Of course it’s also true of communications that take place over e-mail, which take place without the benefit of eye contact, vocal inflection, and other cues that alert others to the full meaning of your message. Unfortunately, these positive communication strategies aren’t always taught in school, so those Read More…


Activity: Practice Your Networking Skills

These days, if you hear the term “networking,” your mind may immediately jump to “social networking”—and indeed, technology tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide a powerful and convenient means of developing and maintaining your personal and professional connections. But there’s more to a network than the number of people who “friend” you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter. On a deeper level, effective networking involves developing relationships with other people, sharing relevant information and resources, and providing mutual support and encouragement on the path to reaching your goals. Your network can also open doors to potential career opportunities, Read More…


Soft Skills for College and Professional Success

The assignments you create for your course can provide students with an opportunity to develop skills that will prove essential to their career success. Consider the possibilities: An in-class presentation can provide practice for the presentations they may lead during meetings or web conferences. Collaboration with classmates on a group project can prepare them for the experiences they’ll have as a member of a team within an organization. And,the papers students write as summations of the concepts they’ve learned in your class can help them hone the communication skills they’ll need to create weekly or monthly reports. In the process of completing Read More…


Success Strategies for Teamwork in the Online Setting

Group assignments teach students far more than simply what they glean from the research they conduct and the project they complete. Astute students will also learn important lessons about communicating clearly, establishing plans and schedules, and collaborating in a proactive and positive manner. They may also hone their leadership skills along the way. Students taking online courses gain the additional benefit of learning to work with others in technology-mediated settings. They’ll find that the skills that they gain from collaborating online will prove highly useful, especially if they take positions within today’s multi-locational companies and organizations, which rely heavily on Read More…


Teaching Students Skills that Transfer to the Workplace

No matter which field your students plan to enter, their careers will require skills that enable them to communicate in an effective manner. And, because technology facilitates so much of the communication that takes place in today’s professional settings, digital literacy remains an important factor in students’ ability to perform their future roles in a competent manner. In this video, authors Susie H. VanHuss and Vicki Robertson highlight the importance of teaching students practical skills, such as keyboarding, that they can transfer from the classroom to their careers. As they discuss some of the real-world Read More…


Know Your “Online Brand”

Whether we’re sharing our thoughts on Facebook or Twitter, posting the location of our latest meal to Foursquare, uploading crazy cat videos to YouTube, sharing photos via Instagram, creating pin boards devoted to our hobbies (and obsessions) on Pinterest, or experimenting with the latest and greatest app, it’s clear that many of us enjoy making use of the many social media tools available to us. We can connect with each other, have a laugh, and exchange information that ranges from deeply personal to outright silly. Though our original intent may be lighthearted, we do need to be aware that some (if not much) of Read More…


Using LinkedIn to Build Professional Connections

In the not-so-distant past, maintaining an up-to-date record of your professional connections’ contact information required a great deal of vigilance. If a distant colleague moved to another institution, you might not know it until you tried calling his or her office and were told they were no longer there. Now, social networks help you keep in touch with the contacts you’ve made, discover and share information relevant to your field, and maintain connections with ease. Though many people join Facebook to maintain these relationships, some find that it’s more casual than they’d prefer for their professional lives. If Read More…


Tips for Using Lecture Aids Effectively

Audio and visual aids such as presentation slides, video clips, charts, and animations can help you emphasize the key points of your lecture. They also enable students to visualize and better understand the concepts you are describing. As an educator, you surely want to know how to use these types of tools for maximum benefit. In Cengage Advantage Books: The Speaker’s Compact Handbook, Fourth Edition, authors Jo Sprague, Douglas Stuart, and David Bodary offer a number of suggestions that can help you use your tools to enhance (rather than detract from) your presentation. We’ve summarized some salient points to keep in Read More…


Gathering Insight and Information via RSS Feeds

To stay up to date on the latest happenings in your areas of interest, you likely refer to a number of Web sites. The news articles, photos, video, and other material you glean from these sites can also provide rich and relevant resources for your classes. However, you could easily spend a great deal of time visiting each of these sites whenever you want to find an example of current research, an engaging clip to open your class session, or a thought-provoking article for discussion. Therefore, if you aren’t yet using RSS feeds to follow and gather content, you may want to consider Read More…