Communication a Key Part of Success

How many times have you heard someone say “I just love talking to you!” only to realize ”wait a second, I haven’t really done very much talking here?“ Plenty. Read the rest of this entry »

Follow Passion When Setting Goals

Obsession is my middle name. I’ve always been the type to get far too into things. When others like things, I love things. That being said, music always has been a huge passion of mine. I grew up in Alice, Texas, listening to Corpus Christi’s local radio stations playing rock and alternative music, and I remember loving the earlier songs of Matchbox Twenty, Everclear and the Foo Fighters. These bands (some still popular today) made a huge impact on my life.

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Learning Today Will Last a Lifetime

Traci Marlin (left) and Sheila Boggess speak to Baylor students this week.

It doesn’t seem so long ago I sat in News 101 at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. What I learned there, though, is still sticking after all these years. Those daily tests over The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook helped prepare me for many things.

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Tips to Succeeding Beyond High School

I’m not sure what I expected when I went to college, but I do remember college was much different than high school.

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TYC Recipient of Taking Charge books

Attending a presentation of more than 200 books from TSTC Publishing to TYC are (from left) TYC Volunteer Coordinator Katherine Davis, TSTC Publishing Marketing Manager Sheila Boggess, TSTC Publishing Sales Manager Wes Lowe, TYC Mart Unit 2 Librarian Aurelia Robertson, TSTC Publishing Publisher Mark Long, TYC Deputy Director Robin McKeever, TYC Mart Unit 2 Principal Mildred Watkins and TYC Mart Unit 2 Superintendent Curtis Simmons Jr.

TSTC Publishing, the publishing arm of Texas State Technical College (TSTC), recently presented the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) more than 200 books to the McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility Unit 2 in Mart. Read the rest of this entry »

Good Communication Starts with You

Humans love to talk, but not everything that comes out of someone’s mouth is considered communication, and not all communication comes from the mouth.  The words we speak only scratch the surface of how we communicate.  Voice tone and body language plays a much larger role than people realize.  So instead of thinking of what to say, concentrate on how to say it. Not only is effective communication vital for a healthy personal life, it is absolutely essential to succeed in the professional world. Communication shows up as one of the most sought-after skills employers want when interviewing prospective employees.

I used to be a poor communicator. I spat out my words as if people would just walk away if I couldn’t get my message out fast enough. I mumbled when I talked. I slouched with my hands stuffed comfortably in my pockets. Other than being told to “stand up straight”, I never really realized that these bad habits were adversely affecting the way people perceived and responded to me. Soon enough, I read up on communication and how body language and vocal tonality played a much more prominent role in getting my message across than I had realized. I also noted the signs of poor body language and made it a personal goal to correct these mistakes immediately.

It didn’t happen overnight, but after several months of paying attention and reprimanding myself, I started to get results. I noticed how people paid more attention and had greater interest in what I had to say. I also noticed everyone else and how I could tell what they were feeling based on their body language. It was almost like having a superpower! The confidence I gained helped to propel myself forward and talk to people I never thought I would have, and the best part is people are usually completely open to talking with strangers. It’s just up to you to make the first move.

There is a plethora of online resources on self-improvement, namely communication skills. Body Language shows eighteen ways to practice and improve positive body language. It also helps to recognize negative body language so you can avoid it and recognize how others feel. This Speaking site contains tips and exercises for all occasions. Even skimming some of the articles can have a profound impact. This Communication site links straight to an article on how others perceive you. It’s a great thing to think about in addition to the countless other helpful articles available.

People become at ease when they realize you are comfortable with yourself. It only takes one person to spread a positive vibe, and it’s catching. Be that person. Learn the truth. Be your best self. Look at yourself in the mirror, grab a tape recorder, or ask a friend for an honest opinion. You’ve got to do this sometime. It might as well be now.


Think Critically on Life’s Solutions

Critical thinking, a skill utilized by the most intelligent and proficient people, can help elevate your career path as well as your life.  The act of thinking about thinking allows you to weigh all of your options and predict the consequences of your actions.  There is not a single aspect of your life that critical thinking will not improve.  Along with your education and career, your personal finances, family and social life, and overall happiness hinge on your ability of higher-level reasoning and deduction.  Humans have built cities, mapped the DNA strand, and created network computers.  It is in our nature to figure things out.  It may not be the easiest road, but to unplug from the masses and use your brain to the best of its power, its highest function, is to realize your true potential.

Taking Charge: Your Education, Your Career, Your Life contains a chapter that describes the critical thinking process, outlines tips on how to effectively use it, and mentions all the advantages that come from critical thinking.  The clever combination of psychology, logic, and social behaviors helps you understand the method itself along with the reasons why it works so well.  Hints and tricks from professors, philosophers, and famous writers offer a spark of character that will enlighten the mind.

The chapter’s debunking of popular myths on beliefs can really awaken you to your true awareness.  Many people hold solid beliefs that their family peers, or society ingrained upon them.   Although many beliefs hold society together, some can hinder intellectual and emotional growth.  Once freed from limited lines of thinking, your intellect can spread its wings and lead you to unimaginable places.

When faced with a difficult decision, even some of the smartest people clam up, confused on what action they should take.  Knowing that you can choose your own destiny will help decimate that fear.  Telling yourself that there are several solutions to your problem will give you the authority to think clearly and choose the best possible solution.

It feels empowering to make effective decisions.  With every exercise of choice, you will gain more confidence in your decision-making ability.  It is always wise to weigh the pros and cons of every decision.  Imagining the future is a uniquely human ability, so use it to your best advantage.  Whether or not you like the potential outcome of your choice, your logic will usually give you a good idea of what to expect.  Going against one’s instinct and making a poor choice has been the folly of many a man.  Choose wisely, and soar to heights you have never thought possible.

–          John

Tips for Effective (& Professional) Email Communication

Communicating through the Internet has come a long way since the mid-1990s, but the need to be able to write well (and concisely) while communicating is still essential.

Sending email is still one of the best ways to communicate through the Internet. The ability to do so is made available these days from the smallest forms of technological gadgets like cell phones, so that anyone who has a cell phone with an email capability can send one from anywhere or check their email message inbox.

Emails are meant to be polite, clear, to the point and well-written (especially if they are work-related and need a certain degree of formality). But, the fact is, not many people who send emails on a daily basis really know how to properly compose an efficient email message and make many mistakes.

Many Web sites and books dictate proper business communication – both in persona and online  – to be proficient in both is essential. A popular how-to site, houses many articles about email communication. One suggests that the best way to start an email is to use a detailed subject line and to begin the body of the message with a salutation. An email is already impersonal as it is communication with only the written word on a computer/cell phone screen, so it is better to humanize the message with an old-fashioned greeting. After the salutation, use a colon (:), since it is a business email. After communication has been established back-and-forth between the sender and the replier, the article states that only then may one use a comma (,) after the initial salutation.

Always summarize the email message – get to the point. If the topic is stated in the subject line as instructed, the person who will receive the email will already know what it is that will be addressed and will want to read what topic is about immediately. Do not drone about anything else but the topic of the email. Make sure to write with correct spelling and grammar. These are probably the most important tips when writing a serious email.

Close with a nice line. Something like “Thank you,” “Sincerely,” or “Best Regards” will suffice. Just make sure, the article says, to use the same closing line every time. Include your signature with your full name, your position, your company and information regarding other ways to contact you (phone number and fax).

Emailing is the best way to get your point across, so the best way to do so is to have strong email writing skills. These tips should help make an effective email that will make a good impression on those to whom you send emails.