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That's Life

As a career professional, volunteer, mom, wife, and friend, I focus on the positive aspects of life, even when the road is rough getting there. Life is funny. How you treat others, how you handle situations, and how you live each day is your responsibility ... so are the outcomes.

May Is Military Appreciation Month - How You Can Help

bowling, Facebook, Twitter, fundraising, military, veterans

All Proceeds for the Following Will

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2nd Annual 9-Pin Tap: to benefit Homes for Our Troops

Pre-Registration Is Required by May 2, 2014

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Smartphones

smartphone

     Smartphones and people; what is happening to our world today? It used to be we could sit in a room and have interpersonal conversations with people’s attention on the subject matter and active in conversations. As the communicator today, perceptual screens have defective pixels causing graininess, with the content and effect of the message being garbled to the ear. The receiver does not comprehend the entire message nor can they execute reflective listening. Meetings are spent with the communicator regurgitating their words creating inefficiency and wasted time. When the project team is together, I would highly recommend having the phones “checked at the door” to allow for quality, accuracy, and clarity of communications ensuring productive meetings and group think times. Everyone’s time is valuable. We all like to make best use of it, especially when away from core tasks and productivity.

     The on-the-road employee has an advantage with smartphones, because there is minimal delay in response time for actionable items, conference calls, transferring data, and creating documentation. The disadvantages present themselves through the inability to pick up on paralanguage. You know; the rolling of the eyes and big sighs when a demanding customer or coworker is on the line. Coworker, team building, and customer relationships are also strained due to lack of face-to-face contact. The inability to see someone’s expressions, hand gestures, and eyes promotes misunderstandings. You cannot really tell, if you are losing your audience. When employees are off site, they need to be conscious of their surroundings and people they are dealing with. There is a time and place to instant message, answer emails, and utilize these devises strategically and without offending anyone.

     Companies need to continue to monitor how electronic communication resources are used. Security profiles and user capabilities should trend with the inter-workings of the company.  Only those who need smartphones to execute job responsibilities should receive them. They need to sign the electronic use policy. “As the trends opportunities and implications show, the smart devise landscape is ripe for innovation and change. Room exists for players to make strategic moves and revolutionize the industry. Consumers will also benefit greatly from the rapidly improving user experience these trends foster. As smart devises evolve into brilliant ones over the next few years, industry players need to make sure their own strategies to capture value from this shift area equally intelligent.” (Retrieved from www.mckinsey.com/.../client.../Making_smartphones_brilliant_March_2012 (1)) I would anticipate, as users come upon new applications, which can increase their productivity and communications, they will share them for consistent tools used across the company. It would become necessary to make sure connectivity and support would be available prior to implementation, so as not to stop the flow of business and opportunities.

     There is also a need to keep an eye on student programs as they begin to use their smartphones to conduct company business. There is a concern for their leisure communication behavior mixing with professional conduct. Brevity, incomplete words (slang) and sentences, and quick messaging could pose a risk for direct customer contact and / or coworker communications. It is advantageous for them to use their smartphones to respond quickly to emails and projects they may be working on with other students outside of and for their classes.

     A recent conversation brought forth how student life has changed via the smartphone.  The increase in cyber relationships has created incivility in their communications, which could be perceived as good and bad. In some instances, it is good, because they just need to get the job done to make the grade with no commitment to have a relationship with a person in the future. On the other hand, smartphones create impersonal, non-empathetic communication environments where eye contact, body language, and tone of voice do not fully develop making it difficult to pass through to real world, work-life situations once they have secured a job. In my personal experience, the highest degree of difficulty is eye contact. For customers and coworkers, it is the number one trait portraying honesty and sincerity.

     “Incivility and interpersonal communication is manifested in the level of empathy that people display toward each other.” (Nelson & Campbell, 2013) A pretty profound statement, yet true, as technology advanced us past hard-lined telephones and yelling out our window to our neighbor to see, if they could come out to play. For the generations to come, their reliance on computers to do their math, the keyboard to write their words, and built in quality checks to fix their grammar and spelling mistakes is not teaching them educational fundamentals.  There are four serious impacts to kids using smartphones. They are disengaged from social interaction and have vision issues. Data processing is pieces of information versus large picture thinking. Lastly, body development is compromised by lack of physical stimulation and movement. (Retrieved from http://www.howtolearn.com/2012/05/4-dangers-posed-by-smartphones-on-kids/) In the business world the same communication, defeating characteristics can be applied.

     In order for business to succeed, we should have training geared toward appropriate, courteous, and beneficial use of smartphones. Email should not replace phone conversations to resolve problems or clarifications.  Instant messaging; get up and visit the person next door. Eyes should not be glued on the next blinking light on the smartphone alerting someone has something to say. “"Smartphonatics" are changing the way we bank and play. And while smartphones are making a lot of things easier, in many contexts they are the source of gross distraction and rude behavior.” (Retrieved from http://business.time.com/2012/06/22/how-smart-phones-are-hanging the-way-we-bank-and-drive/)

 

Resources

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Project Management - Holding The Team Accountable

No matter what project team you lead, it is imperative to hold all team members accountable for their actions and non-actions. Whether they are under your management or are the subordinates of others, their role responsibilities are equally important in guaranteeing the successful and on time deliverables for a project. My career has exposed me to a variety of accountability tools. I continue to use those producing the most positive, effective results not just for the project, yet also for my team. In addition to using these methods, I do not allow “slacking off” or getting someone to do the work for them. I consider a project commitment an agreed upon contract to perform to the communicated expectations.

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Public Speaking

According to a post by News Wire Today, “The biggest fear is public speaking, with 15 percent of American experiencing a dramatic fear of it,” said Dr. Michael Telch of the Laboratory for the Study of Anxiety Disorders (LSAD) in the Department of Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin. “People have had to turn down jobs, and certainly students have dropped classes because of it.” (Retrieved from http://www.newswiretoday.com/news/17334/.) Most everyone I know does not like to get in front of an audience to deliver a message of any length. I, on the other hand, am one of the individuals, who are keen on talking to crowds no matter what size they are. The bigger the crowd, the more comfortable I feel. In my head, I cannot understand why it is so hard for anyone to execute public speaking, even when they are an expert in the subject matter. I am sure there are commonalities with those, who do not like to present. Over the many years I have been speaking, I recognize my keys to being successful at it are being prepared, having confidence in the subject matter, being comfortable with the presentation style, and knowing who the audience is.

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