Saturday, April 18, 2009

This bird has flown...

Where the Redfern Grows was a very dynamic team that used a variety of methods in order to complete the client project. Many of our methods could not have been utilized if not for modern technology. Much of our communication was engineered through Blackboard and its functions. For example, every member of the group uploaded certain parts of the project that they completed to the file exchange. Here, all electronic files that were involved with the final product were accessible to all members of the group. This was especially useful when we needed certain common files for everyone's individual portfolio. Another means of technological help was the group e-mail function of Blackboard. Our group loved e-mail and we usually communicated via the group e-mail when we did not meet. We did not hold any virtual group meetings, but we did communicate ideas back and forth and shared these ideas in a virtual setting.
The group project centered around a video production which used other technologies to complete. I was able to teach myself how to use the iMovie software available on Mac's. It was a lot of fun producing the video and I am happy I now know the processes involved.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Ethics are vital to being successful in the workplace. You must act consistently and respectfully in accordance with your work environment. I think that if you do not use ethical language, outside perceptions of your respect will decrease dramatically. In turn, you will not be convincing, and people will be less likely to listen to what you are trying to communicate. Throughout history, there has been numerous exceptions to people responding to unethical language, and it is usually due to fear of the consequences if they do not respond accordingly. The German document we analyzed in class is a perfect example of how unethical language was used and used effectively at the time. Now, as we look back at it, we have a hard time figuring out what he was trying to say, and once we figured out the meaning of his words, we were absolutely shocked. I suppose that what I took away from this most was that people can use words in such a way that is seemingly innocent, but could have a darker deeper meaning. I will now be more aware of the power of words and communication because there can always be another underlying meaning to what is written or spoken.
I believe that there are certain characteristics in communication that need to be established in today's workplace. In order to fit my set of ethical principals, communication must be concise and simple. Using elementary language, nothing is left to interpretation. My theory that in order to define big words you use small words, so you should try to use as many small words as possible. Therefore, the reader does not need to define any words in the communication cycle. I will try to communicate effectively using this method in the business world.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Communication Breakdown

This past summer, I worked in a golf shop at a country club. One of my responsibilities was to head the club repair service our shop offered. Re-gripping clubs was the most common form of club repair service that we did, but we also did re-shafting and lie/loft alterations. With the old system, when a customer wanted to have a club or set of clubs worked on, the employee assisting the member would tag the club with a little index card and set it aside in the back room for the time being. It would be the club repairer's responsibility to seek out these clubs with the tag, so he knew what he needed to do with the club. However, this index card tag often did not explain fully what needed to be done to the club. So, there was often a miscommunication between myself and the customer if I was not the employee assisting the customer (I had other duties and responsibilities and was not always there to assist the customer first hand). Sometimes, I would see a club that needed to be repaired with an index card tagged on, but I was unclear of what had to be done. Then, I would have to somehow try to decipher who wrote the note, or seek out the member to ask what needed to be done. The latter alternative is very unprofessional and a waste of time. Also, there were some times in which the club would "disappear" in the back room, and since I could not find the club, I never knew that something had to be done. This made a couple of customers very upset when their clubs were not repaired on time, and we had to perform the service free of charge and incur a loss. All of this being said, something in the process had to be changed.

So, I thought long and hard about the situation and reached a solution. I decided that we needed to have a log of all the incoming clubs that were being repaired. On this sheet, it said exactly who needed the repair, what needed to be done to what clubs, when it needed to be completed, the location of the clubs (in the pro shop, club repair lab, or bag room), and who helped the customer. The who helped the customer section was one of the most important sections because if there was any confusion or problem, I could approach the employee who helped the customer with any questions I had for him. These club repair forms were kept in a binder behind the pro shop counter, so anyone working the counter had access to the book. It would be my responsibility to look through the book every day to see what needed to be done. The forms were also very convenient and useful in the billing of the repairs. We could see when the repair was completed, then bill it, and then staple the sales receipt to the club repair form and file it away. Overall, the club repair service was much more efficient and the number of complaints due to miscommunication were almost non-existent.

communication breakdown, it's always the same, having a nervous breakdown, drive me insane!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My favorite mistay-yee-ake

If you could not figure the title of this post, it refers to a song written and performed by Sheryl Crow. Sheryl's favorite mistake has been rumored to be either Eric Clapton or Jakob Dylan (FUN FACT!)

I'm not sure how the title relates to the blogging topic, but we'll tie it in somewhere. And besides, I like making allusions, especially to pop culture, so it fits in somehow. Anywho... as we didn't finish our presentations until after I submitted last week's blog, I was not fair in picking my "favorite" ones. BUT, I will now include one more presentation. I thought that Erin's topic on basic CPR was wisely chosen and well communicated. Her story of personal experience was very real and had a wow factor. It definitely kept me rapt in the rest of the presentation because I knew that the information was very important. Overall, the topic was very relevant and gets my vote as one of the best.

E-portfolio. The word itself makes me mildly nauseous. I do not even know what this is. I remember making a website during my freshman level biology. I believe we used Mozilla to create the website where I could upload "artifacs." The experience I had with Mozilla was actually pleasant. Don't get me wrong, my stomach turns over every time I hear those dreadful words, but I feel that once I know what I am doing, it will be "fun." In order to ensure the completeness of my portfolio draft, I am going to need a reminder how to create this portfolio. I am comfortable with the artifacts to be included in the portfolio, but I do not know how to properly use the interface. I suppose my favorite mistake is that mistakingly, I actually enjoyed creating my biology portfolio even though I can not even stand hearing that-which-shall-not-be-named.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tower of Power (point)

Over the last couple of weeks, I have had the opportunity to listen to my classmates make presentations on various topics. I especially enjoyed the wide variety of issues discussed and I have learned a lot of new information. It was also interesting to see that people presented for different reasons. Some people used humor while others were serious and were trying to persuade the audience. The three presentations I enjoyed most were Laura's, Scott's, and Harry's topics.
Laura's gymnastics topic was very interesting, informational, and persuasive to my ears. The issues and evidence supporting a Clemson gymnastic team were very convincing and seemed relevant and pertinent. I learned a lot about the quality of South Carolina high school gymnasts and the simple fact that there is no collegiate gymnastics program available in South Carolina. Also, I learned all about the revenue available when gymnastics programs are in place. All of the evidence that Laura provided were explained concisely and appropriately. Overall, the topic was very effective in informing me of the issue at hand and persuaded me to possibly support the program.
Scott's presentation on the JetLev-Flyer was incredibly informational and I got a huge kick out of the whole thing. It was definitely one of the more memorable presentations based on content alone. The delivery of the information was parallel to a stand-up comedian telling a joke. I thought that the subject matter Scott chose to inform about immediately got the audience's attention. Interesting information paired with humor will always keep me rapt in any situation.
Harry's talk about Asian stereotypes could have been the funniest presentation of the group so far. I think that Harry immediately set a great rapport with his audience by effectively making fun of himself and saying it was okay to laugh with him. I especially enjoyed his use of visuals. Also, Harry did a great job of "talking off his slides." He did not write too much on his slides, but was able to communicate exactly what he wanted to based on limited, but effective text.

Overall, the presentations were very fun to watch, and I learned a little bit about a lot. I hope that I educated my peers about my issue as well. Most recently, 5 rockets were fired into Israel today from the Gaza Strip. No casualties have been reported, but Israel responded with air strikes. When will this end?!

Select any three presentations that your classmates gave in the last few classes; base your selection on how much you enjoyed the presentation. Write about what made this presentation so enjoyable. What did you learn? What made this person an effective presenter?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cover this!

These articles were very extensive and provided some good tips. There were also parts that I was not a fan of. The following thoughts are not in any particular order, more or less just a ramble through my mind (isn't that what blogging is all about?)
These people claim that cover letters are the last thing read. Bologna! In all of my several work settings, my experiences have been that cover letters are first. One of my past employers told me that the cover letter will indicate to him whether or not he will even look at the resume. So, for the authors to say that a good-looking resume will grant the decision to look at the cover letter does not make any sense to me.
Then, the speaker talks about how the cover letter should not be about you, but more about the company. I agree 50% with this statement. I believe that a job applicant should focus on the company's needs and how the applicant will help meet those needs with his/her given skills set. This will give a good idea about the person's personality and work style/ethic/etc.
The cover letter should be specific and personal. This was a good tip. The employer will notice a cover letter and thusly a resume if he/she realizes how much time the applicant spent to ensure the personalization of the letter. It is very common to see very similar cover letters and even resumes (especially out of college), so you must set yourself apart from the "rest of them" if you want to succeed in today's workplace. Being specific, driven, and personal in your cover letter will show your employer what an asset you will be.
Then, these people gave a sample letter with the appropriate format. I liked the format because it allows you to explain who you are, why you are writing for this job, and how you will meet the company's needs. Also, the "closer" allows you to make this "sale" what you want to be.
I hated the idea of a handwritten postscript. This seems completely cheesy, fake, and unprofessional to me. If you are going to enter a new branch of the workplace, you must get off on the right foot, unless your right foot is your left. I think that you should remain classy, and professional throughout the interviewing process, unless that is just me. If you want to exude a level of cheesiness and fakeness and unseriousness, then go for it, write a P.S.
Also, I believe that references and testimonies should not be offered unless requested by the employer. It makes you seem like what you have to offer is not enough on its own. Let your resume and personality in your cover letter explain why you are the right person for the job. If your potential employer wants to know about your past work experience further, he/she will ask for references.

P.S. Just kidding!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

this is where the redfern grew/is growing

Our client project is to promote a healthy campus initiative for Clemson by restructuring Redfern's communication to students in some way, shape, or form. Our client, Jennifer Goree, has left the nature of our project wide open, which is somewhat trying on our group's ability to think. I think that because we do not know exactly what is expected of this project, we are having a tough time getting started. However, our group has come up with some preliminary ideas to help expand the healthy campus initiative. One idea is to formally structurize all of Clemson's "healthy" resources into one central location on a Facebook group page. This way, students and others interested in how to improve their general health and well-being will be able to visit this site and gain useful information to better themselves. There are concerns for this project. One of my concerns is how to attract students to this site or group. Simply inviting every Clemson student to another Facebook group will not gain many retainees. Also, there are people that are potentially interested in a healthy campus initiative that are not "on" Facebook.
Another idea that our group has come up with is to create a Clemson reality show. Our goal would be to hold auditions for people that are really interested in leading a healthy lifestyle and create a buzz around campus. The people on the reality show would get excited and tell all their friends about it and a chain reaction would take place. The reality show would consist of elements from all of our favorite "non-dating" shows such as the amazing race, top chef, the biggest loser, trading spouses (roommates), MXC, so you think you can dance/american idol, etc. Contestants would learn healthy ways in all 6 categories of health.
Our group is getting along and there is generally good information exchange. However, it seems that a line has been drawn between the two ideas and thus people are picking sides. Although I have somewhat sided on the video series, I do not see why we could not incorporate both ideas to have the videos posted on the facebook site OR to have one of the challenges to go a week without Facebook!
This should be a very fun project and I am looking forward to working with my group :)