Category Archives: Interpersonal Skills

Essential Tips to Help You and Your Team with Collaboration Projects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you discovered that more and more of your work tasks involve collaborating with others?

As technology and the accompanying tools evolve, employers are finding it more beneficial to have their workers “come together” and to share ideas and materials for project development.

The Australian-based company INS (acronym for In No-one’s Shadow) has focused much of its efforts on preparing workforces for the future, which includes keeping current employees updated as well as helping companies keep their employees moving towards the future. Although INS is based in Australia, its outreach is global, which means the advice offered on collaboration can be used by all.

Below are several tips from a May 2016 INS article to keep in mind for your collaboration projects. You can click this link to read the entire article.

  • Understand the Bigger Picture—mentally move beyond your immediate group and role, and look at the larger outcome of why this project is important.
  • Clarify the Objectives—if everyone is “not on the same page,” the project may wind up going nowhere. Make sure the objectives are clearly stated and that everyone understands these objectives. As stated by INS, “…clarify whether all stakeholders and group members have the same objectives, and are working through any differences…”
  • Agree on Roles and Leadership—early discussions on and the identification of leadership and the other roles will make it easier to move forward on the project.  It is also important to establish accountability as it is connected to the various roles.
  • Know the Boundaries—just as accountability is important, it is equally vital for each person to know boundaries for themselves and others and to have these boundaries respected.
  • Develop an Ecosystem, not an ‘Egosystem’—remember, it’s about the successful completion of the project and not about someone grandstanding. Being a good listener (this goes for all group members) is essential.
  • Value Diverse Input—keep an open mind and realize that everyone’s contributions to the discussions and efforts should be appreciated.

If you want to improve your communication and collaboration skills, consider taking the BOSS program’s POFT 2312 Business Correspondence and Communication at Richland College.

Richland College, which is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road, offers both online and on-campus courses. For more information email RichlandBOSS@dcccd.edu, or call 972-238-6215.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a free version of Microsoft Office Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote.


Minding Your International Manners—Are They Culturally Correct?

10-31-2016-56371282If you have to travel overseas for your company, you need to be sure that your international manners are correct according to the culture of the country you are visiting. The last thing you want to do is to offend or insult the people and the culture of the host country.

Ashley Rossi of SMARTERTRAVEL has identified 10 key gestures/behaviors, by country, that should be avoided when visiting these international spots.  Remember, what may be considered as perfectly acceptable and normal in the United States may be construed as rude or insulting to those in other countries.

Gesture/Behavior

Off Limits In

Using the “OK” Hand Symbol

Brazil, Turkey, Venezuela, and France – This gesture is considered vulgar in some of these countries, and at the very least, insulting in other places.

Tipping

Can you believe it? Well, in some countries—Japan, South Korea, China, France, and Italy—tipping is a sign of rudeness, or you at least run the risk of implying that the owner doesn’t pay his or her employees an adequate salary.

Keeping Your Shoes On

If you are entering a temple, someone’s home, or restaurant, or hotel in many Asian countries, your shoes are best left at the main door! Ms. Rossi also advises that the toe of your shoes should face the door. Specifically, take your shoes off in Japan, Hawaii (Yep! One of our own states), South Korea, China, Thailand, and the South Pacific.

Spitting in Public

Actually, this should be outlawed everywhere, but apparently it’s okay in some spots in the US. If you go abroad, however, don’t spit in public in Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong. Ms. Rossi brings up another important point on ignoring these sanitation customs—you can be fined for spitting in public in these countries as well as fined for NOT flushing a public toilet, for sneezing and littering. Think Green, folks!

Blowing Your Nose in Public

Another closely related behavior to the one described above is blowing your nose in public, and that includes restaurants. This behavior is a “no-no” in China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and France. One more tidbit—don’t display a handkerchief in public.

Sitting in the Back of a Cab

Remember, you are not in New York or Chicago! If there is room in the front of the cab vehicle and you choose to sit in the back in Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, China, Ireland, and Scotland, you will be viewed as Somewhat Rude.

Eating With Your Left Hand

Having ambidextrous ability is not necessarily smiled upon in India, the Middle East, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Africa. Why, you might ask? Well, many of these cultures embrace communal eating or eating with your hands. As such, there are strict rules—the right hand is for eating, and the left hand is “going to the bathroom.” What are we “lefties to do”?

Using Your Hands to Eat

Well, leaving those countries and regions that embrace eating with your hands, if you visit the following countries, observe the rule of using eating utensils for EVERYTHING, if you go to Chile, some parts of Europe, and Brazil. According to Ms. Rossi, you need to use a fork and knife on hamburgers, French fries, and even pizza!

Patting Someone on the Head

No, not even babies! Because the head is considered sacred and the highest point of the body, avoid patting anyone on the head in any country that is prominently Buddhist. These countries would include Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Myanmar, Bhutan, and Laos.

Smiling at a Stranger

To avoid being considered rude, don’t make long eye contact with people while you are in South Korea, China, Japan, and Russia. Remember, smiling is considered an intimate gesture in these cultures. As a stranger, you don’t know the individuals, so your glances need to be short, unemotional, and discreet.

If you want to improve your communication skills or learn/update your computer software skills, consider taking a Business Office Systems & Support (BOSS) course at Richland College.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road. For more information, please contact Angela Nino at anino@dcccd.edu  or call 972-238-6215.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a FREE version of Microsoft Office, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote, which can be used on up to 5 devices.


Watch Your Mobile Manners!

With the widespread use of mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches for communicating in the business environment, it’s important to remember the role of manners and why using good mobile etiquette counts.

Here are some are tips you should keep in mind when communicating on your mobile device. (Please click twice on the table below to get a larger view.)

2016-01-08_Table Image for Word Press Import

Source: Dianne S. Rankin and Kellie A. Shumack, The Administrative Professional: Technology & Procedures, 15th edition, Cengage Learning, Boston, 2017, pp. 125-126.

If you want to improve your communication skills, consider taking the BOSS program’s POFT 2312 Business Correspondence and Communication at Richland College.

Richland College, which is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road, offers both online and on-campus courses. For more information, please call Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, aedwords@dcccd.edu 972-238-6382.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a free version of Microsoft Office Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote.


Public Speaking Tips Video

Two Must-HaveIf you suffer from stage fright every time you are asked to make a presentation in front of a group of people, this video was made for you!

Created by the Richland College Speech Faculty, the video was prepared to help instructors remind students of important public speaking behaviors prior to giving a presentation.

If you would like to learn more about how to speak in public and communicate effectively, why not consider enrolling in a speech course at Richland College!

Enjoy the video!

Click here to view the Speech Tips Video


For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, anino@dcccd.edu, 972-238-6382.


Watch Your International Manners! Important Don’ts to Observe in 15 Countries

480098185--04-18-2016 Flag imageClick on this link to take a look at the Business Insider graphic that was created by authors Sarah Schmalbruch and Samantha Lee on what NOT TO DO when visiting any of the following 15 countries.

Body language along with other overt actions are very important components of your communications, and they should be kept in mind and respected when traveling abroad.

  1. Chile
  2. Croatia
  3. France
  4. Germany
  5. India
  6. Ireland
  7. Japan
  8. Kenya
  9. Mexico
  10. New Zealand
  11. Norway
  12. Russia
  13. Singapore
  14. Turkey
  15. United Kingdom

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-not-to-behave-infographic-2015-5

If you want to improve your communication skills or learn/update your computer software skills, consider taking a Business Office Systems & Support (BOSS) course at Richland College.

Richland College, which is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road, offers both online and on-campus courses. For more information, please call Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, aedwords@dcccd.edu 972-238-6382.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a free version of Microsoft Office Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote.


Writing to Win: COLLABORATION, the Second ‘C’ in Success

by Royce Murcherson

Writing to Win Book CoverIn the last blog post, I talked about teamwork in the workplace being more effective when communication, collaboration, and coordination are at the center. I began the discussion focusing on the importance of effective communication. It should be concise. It should present information in the form of a well thought out plan.  It should be clear and easy to understand. It should speed up the decision-making process.  And it should be inherently persuasive which speaks directly to the level of collaboration a strong team must have to be successful.

Without communication, there can be no real collaboration.

WHAT IS COLLABORATION?

Collaboration is a group process through which colleagues come together to craft solutions and improve processes not limited to one individual idea. 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO COLLABORATE?

What Does It Mean to CollaborateCollaborating means:

  • Everyone has a voice at the table
  • Being perceived as a good partner
  • Valuing Different Viewpoints
  • Coming across as a common united front

THREE ESSENTIALS IN THE COLLABORATIVE PROCESS

  • Three EssentialsEngage Your Partners – Team members should share knowledge. Knowledge sharing is a healthy and productive means by which the group can arrive at the best solution.
  • Capture Ideas and Action Items – Team members should keep an accurate record of meeting notes. Some alternative forms of note taking can include diagrams or flow charts that visually depict innovative proposals.
  • Recognize Ideas – Team members should give credit where credit is due. A pat on the back, a nod at the table, and a simple “I agree” can go a long way. There is no stronger motivation than positive feedback.

TWO MUST-HAVE’S TO MAKE IT WORK

  • Two Must-HaveBuild Relationships – It is absolutely essential to build relationships among your team members. Take time to build personal relationships by getting to know each other.  During this process, strengths and opportunities can be discovered and used to the best advantage of the team.
  • Foster Trust – Being able to depend on your colleagues to deliver tasks on time and in detail is also absolutely essential. Trust is the confidence. And confidence that each member will fully contribute to the group eliminates pressure and unnecessary stress.

THE BIG ADVANTAGES         

Since collaboration is now a hot item in the workplace, the advantages are not hard to spot. Collaborative teams bring together different viewpoints because teams are frequently pulled from different talent pools or departments to achieve one goal.  Because a variety of ideas will be put on the table, it’s much easier to develop ingenuity when there is more than one option. Good ideas give way to better ideas.  Groups who collaborate tend to be more inventive and resourceful.  Collaboration can also bring a certain unity to the decision-making process. Having more than one stakeholder ensures that team decisions will be reflective of all and not one, eliminating perceived bias. Lastly, a quick delivery of the product is likely to occur.  Having several hands on deck is an automatic advantage when considering a collection of talent, skills, and intellect.

For an expanded discussions on effective business writing and workplace etiquette, see my book:

            Royce Murcherson, Ph.D., The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing: A New Model that   Gets Results. Iowa: Kendall-Hall, 2013

Clip Art, provided by Microsoft Office Professional Academic, 2010

______________________________________________________________________________
For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, ANino@dcccd.edu, 972-238-6382.


Use the 7 Cs to Become a More Successful Communicator

Having a successful career depends on your ability to communicate effectively with others in the workplace. To become a good communicator, make sure you are aware of those important aspects oral communication—tone of voice, eye contact, and other body language signals.

Click the graphic below to review Evan Carmichael’s infographic on the 7 Cs of Communication, which illustrates 7 proven communication strategies that you should use as part of your oral communication toolkit.

02-08-2016 7 Cs Graphic

Source: Evan Carmichael, The Entrepreneur Blog, June 21, 2011
Link: http://www.evancarmichael.com/blog/2011/06/21/infographic-7cs-of-effective-communication/

If you want to improve your communication skills, consider taking the BOSS program’s POFT 2312 Business Correspondence and Communication at Richland College.

Richland College, which is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road, offers both online and on-campus courses. For more information, please call Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, aedwords@dcccd.edu 972-238-6382.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus 2013***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a free version of Microsoft Office 2013 Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote.


WRITING TO WIN: PICK UP THE TELEPHONE!

WRITING TO WIN: PICK UP THE TELEPHONE!
by Royce Murcherson

Royce 1 ManEffective written communication is absolutely essential in the workplace. I emphasize its importance in my book. I absolutely stress we must be strategic and persuasive when it comes to implementing beneficial change.   As much as I believe in the concept of creating a smart, intelligent image of yourself through your writing, it’s not the only means.  Pick up the telephone.

Yes, we live in a data age of electronic words which has pretty much replaced the traditional, “Hi, how are you…and… I have a quick question that will take care of the entire issue”.  The obvious concern with the present state of things is the lack of human-to-human ‘real voice’ communication. The exchange of ideas in our current environment rests on three main platforms: instant messaging, email, and texting.   We’ve grown used to it. We love it. Somehow we have lulled ourselves into the complacency of avoiding a real conversation because we think it takes more time.  But perhaps, it’s time to re think this digital substitution and think ‘old school’ instead. There are many advantages to picking up the telephone.

  • Royce PhoneNO MISTAKES IN TONE – The first is safeguarding your tone and avoiding mistakes of intention. Quite simply, you avoid SENDING THE WRONG MESSAGE. In section two of my book, I stress the importance of tone. It’s easy to inadvertently deposit your emotional state in an email, text, or instant message which in turn can cause unintended consequences. By picking up the telephone, you eliminate the guess-work. The tone and inflection of your voice, the conversational back and forth, the impromptu humor and discussion leaves no room for error.
  • RELATIONSHIP BUILDING – Building strong working relationships with your colleagues is very important and can likely contribute to your ultimate success. You may have heard the quote by John Donne, “No man is an island entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…”. This is exactly right in the business world . Teamwork is everything. And you can’t foster teamwork without building relationships. You can’t build ‘real’ relationships with only email and instant messaging. There must be some human contact to give those digital words life.
  • CUTTING DOWN THE EMAIL CHAIN – Texting is great for brief questions and confirmations, but not for conversations. When the text messages get too long and begin to go on for what seems like forever, you know when it’s time to stop and dial the number. The same is true with email. These types of messages should be brief, and should not go on forever. To avoid these never-ending chains, pick up the phone. One five-minute conversation could be equal to fourteen emails.
  • IMMEDIATE RESPONSE – Writing takes time. Time is precious during the workday. Why wait for a reply to an email, when you can get your answer much faster. Remember, everyone’s inbox is full. When you send an email, you get prioritized. Don’t get prioritized. Get your answer quickly.

For an expanded discussions on business writing and workplace etiquette, see my book:

Royce Murcherson, Ph.D., The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing: A New Model that Gets Results. Iowa: Kendall-Hall, 2013

Clip Art, provided by Microsoft Office Professional Academic, 2010

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.

 

 


Millennials: Make Sure Your Soft Skills Are Up To Par!

10-19-2015 Millennials Need to Work on Soft Skills 528314961It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for a job, currently employed, or thinking about a promotion; if you were born sometime between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, please, please pay attention to your soft skills and make sure you are on par to make the most of your career success.

Take the time to do an in-depth self‑assessment your skills and then answer the following questions honestly:

 

 

  • Do you take your writing skills seriously—is your writing clear, coherent, and free of misspelled words and incorrect word usage—example: their versus there?
  • Do you check, double check and, yes, even triple check your facts and accuracy of numbers?
    How well do you really know Excel and Word (make sure it’s more than just “getting by”)?
  • Do you really know how to use Word and Excel to increase your work productivity and come up with better workplace solutions? You may know how to text, IM, post to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but that may not be enough!
  • Do you really understand the background and goals of your current company?
  • Have you done your homework thoroughly and researched companies where you’d like to work?
  • Can you ask intelligent questions about these companies, their products and services, and their societal impact?
  • Do you look for logical, but innovative ways, to solve work problems?
  • Finally, as simple as it may sound, do you know how to follow directions?

One of the things that research has shown is that employers place high value on whether employees can communicate effectively in person as well as online, and that means you have to have a well-rounded, competent soft skills set.

As, you, the Millennials come of age, it is important to keep in keep in mind that you will be in the workforce for many more years to come, so it is important that your generation strive to be competitive on a global as well as national level.
Sources: http://blog.aarp.org/2015/04/27/millennials-need-to-work-on-bridging-skills-gap/
http://www.ets.org/s/research/29836/

If you need to improve your job skills, consider enrolling in the Business Office Systems & Support program at Richland College. There are a wide variety of courses (offered online and face-to-face) from which to choose.

These courses range from basic keyboarding, computer literacy, business communications, business English, office procedures, records management, Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and Access (in preparation for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam**). These courses can all lead you towards a college-credit certificate or a 2-year associate’s degree.

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road. For more information contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu at 972-238-6215.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus 2013***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a FREE version of Microsoft Office 2013 Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote.


WRITING TO WIN: The Importance of Trust in the Workplace

by Royce Murcherson

Remember when you were a kid? When it came to what was good and what was bad, it was pretty clear. When you were good, there was ice cream in your future. When you were bad, it was off to the time out corner. It was never a case of either/or. Nowadays you’re all grown up. You’ve figured out that the rules can be bent at times for one reason or the other. And sometimes you’ve probably indulged because it was pretty harmless. Afterward, you may have felt a little uneasy about it, but ‘hey’ you tell yourself, no laws were broken, no harm no foul, right? These are the questions that create a feeling of uneasiness when you’re not sure you’ve made the right decision. It’s important to know because it’s a matter of ‘trust’. Losing ‘trust’ in the workplace is a ‘losing proposition’. Don’t go there.

Being trustworthy is the rock solid foundation of who you are in the present and how you will be perceived in the future.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE TRUSTWORTHY?

There are certain things that shouldn’t be done in the workplace. Things like plagiarizing, hiding information, exaggerating claims, copyright infringement, crossing cultural boundaries, and conflicts of interest. Avoiding this type of behavior is part of what it means to be an honest, upright employee.

Being trustworthy means you live by a set of principles that govern ethical human behavior. These principles can come down to beliefs such as treating others as you would want to be treated. These principles can also come down to intuition, some inner feeling or moral compass that helps you decide what is right and what is wrong. This is what it comes down too…this question…Am I trustworthy? Or simply, what is the right thing to do?

A sense of justice, individual rights, and understanding the consequences of your actions has much to do with your sense of right and wrong. And your sense of right and wrong will guide your choices in the workplace and will project the degree of your trustworthiness among your colleagues.

Royce WeaselDON’T BE A WEASEL

Weasels are by definition cunning and devious. You may find yourself in a location where situation and circumstance may affect how you understand the difference between right behavior and wrong behavior. This is the ‘grey zone, a place in which a person has the opportunity to circumvent definitions of right and wrong behavior. In other words, the meanings could change due to extenuating circumstances. You may find yourself thinking of ways to ‘go around’ or to ‘avoid’. Try not to find yourself in this position. It may feel like artful maneuvering when in fact you may be bending the rules to suit your own needs rather than those of your coworkers.

HERE ARE SOME GUIDELINES to Avoid ‘Weaseling-Out’ 

  • Don’t evade responsibility. Do not back out of commitments. Cultivate cooperative behavior that benefits the group.
  • Don’t be sneaky in your dealings, achieving success by underhanded methods.
  • Don’t be cunning in order to advance selfish interests or hurt others.
  • Don’t be evasive in your communication with others. Be straightforward.
  • Don’t be intentionally vague or ambiguous in your conduct.
  • Don’t be deceptive in your actions, misleading deliberately.
  • Don’t be cowardly. Display confidence. Try to set a good example when dealing with tough issues.

For an expanded discussions on business writing and workplace etiquette, see my book:

Royce Murcherson, Ph.D., The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing: A New Model that Gets Results. Iowa: Kendall-Hall, 2013 

Clip Art, provided by Microsoft Office Professional Academic, 2010

______________________________________________________________________

For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, bjones@dcccd.edu 972-238-6215.