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Enhanced Anxiety in Communication

Enhanced Anxiety in Communication

Looking at the past 30 years, social media and the expansion of technology have gained expansive growth; the way we communicate with each other can now take place on so many screened platforms, that we often can forget how to have a conversation face to face.

In a positive light, electronics have made communication a simple task at any distance; we can now communicate with loved ones or friends on any continent, anytime. The barriers of time and distance no longer seem to be a detrimental factor in communication with others. Not only have advances in technology made it easier for us to communicate with others, but now we have the ability to do so over a wide range of devices. Almost all of these devices support various forms of communication, such as text, voice, and video. Telephone technology is no longer a primary means of communicating, and this has made way for other electronics to make communication mobile, fast, and direct. This quick access to fast communication has boomed into, as some may say, the primary means of communication today. But, even though this may be the case, at what cost is it to ONLY communicate in this fashion?

Conversations used to flow over face-to-face contact, voices, body language, and visual/auditory stimulators that aided in all communicative fashions. Speaking with someone face to face allows direct contact in emotions, tone of voice, and feelings between both parties. It is easy to see how some of these details can be lost among screens and electronic means of communication. By learning to have face-to-face communication skills from a young age, one learns to read other’s expressions, gain social skills, and learns the appropriate ways to properly respond to situations. Yet, if one is so accustomed to only communicating by screen, these “old fashioned” ways of communication can be lost, thus diminishing the ability to gain cognitive conversation skills. In the younger generations of today, I feel that the primary means of communication is being utilized via screens; this, personally, makes me worried, as the younger generation will not have the skills to communicate in person with others. I have seen it through my own experience working with youth. Younger teenagers find it difficult to make phone calls, knock on someone’s door, or even order food at a counter. Not having the proper exposure to this type of communication style limits their connections they could be establishing with others. Also, as stated above, without this practice so to speak, they lose the ability to understand social cues.

Later on, when it comes to those very important situations that require face-to-face conversation, they will lack the ability to communicate and convey points due to lack of exposure. The fast expansion of technology is wonderful in making human highlights become something much greater that what they are in real form. When executed too much, the ability to have real thoughts and emotions becomes a void concept, which can lead to a bleak reality of lost connections and conversations. Technology needs to be utilized and understood, but just like most great things in life, it needs to be used in moderation.

 

– Zoey Spengler

Politeness Theory and College Education

Politeness Theory and College Education

Politeness Theory states that we determine our identities through the use of politeness strategies. These identities are present in the individual personas that we create, such as work, school, and personal personas. It is impossible to avoid creating these personas, which makes it of vital importance to observe how politeness theory plays into these identities, specifically in an education setting.

When it comes to learning, it is the responsibility of the individual to take ownership for his or her education. In order to learn, an individual must be motivated to gain an understanding. No teacher or professor is responsible for learning on the behalf of an individual. When analyzing education from this perspective, it can be easy to denounce politeness theory as inapplicable. If it is the sole responsibility of the individual to learn, it can be easy to question why someone would need to “preserve face”.

However, education as a whole is consistently collaborative. In the education system, individuals are charged with effectively communicating with their professors, team members, and peers. These are the relationships that will enhance an individual’s ability to learn and give him or her a broader perspective on potential issues. In order to preserve and foster these relationships, the individual must implement politeness theory in some capacity. If the politeness theory is not applied to these relationships, the individual’s education opportunities suffer. It can also be extremely difficult to receive assistance when presented with a problem. Even if an individual is talented or intelligent, their abilities are limited and can only be increased by asking for help. If the politeness theory has not been applied, it may be difficult for that individual to find the help necessary for succeeding.

While politeness theory is not the sole contributing factor to a person’s education, it is of high importance. It is possible to learn logistics, procedures, and methods individually, but in order to effectively apply those methods in real-world situations, an individual needs to have an effective method for managing relationships. The politeness theory is that effective method.

– Lauren Donahue

Cell Phone Usage: What To Do and What Not To Do

Cell Phone Usage: What To Do and What Not To Do

Cell phones have become an integral part of business. They are used professionally for voice communication and text messages. Given the onset of this development, I have a few suggestions in regard to their use for professional purposes. The following suggestions are based on my personal experiences and ideas cultivated from reading Applying Communication Theory for Professional Life: A Practical Introduction—a book written by Marianne Dainton, and Elaine D. Zelley.

 

When using cell phones as a method of communication within your career, the tone and clarity used to deliver your verbal or text messages is pertinent to your professional relationships. In reference to tone, maintain a positive disposition when communicating. People do not want to hear or see cynical comments when discussing business. Nor do they want to be on the receiving end of hostility. That said, be mindful of remaining positive and professional while conducting business via cell phone.

 

In reference to clarity, make sure your statements are understandable for all parties involved as communicating in a professional environment can involve people from various generations and cultures. Dainton and Zelley fostered my understanding of how important this is in the section of their book entitled “Interactional Perspective on Workplace Generations.” Reading this section prompted me to be mindful not to exclude anyone from receiving a message by communicating in an unfamiliar vernacular. This includes using vocabulary, expressions, or languages that cannot be discerned by those participating in the exchange. So, make it a point to be clear and thorough in your delivery, and be sure to know the audience with which you are communicating.

 

Other practices to keep in mind when using a cell phone for professional communication involve respect. If someone entrusts you with their cell phone number, do not call or text them excessively, or after a reasonable time of day (unless it is an absolute emergency and unavoidable). Another thing to avoid is using your cell phone for personal reasons during meetings. Nothing is more disrespectful than sending the message that the conversation transpiring during the meeting is trivial in comparison to what is going on in your personal life. So, unless it is an emergency, refrain from using your phone during meetings.

 

Now that the suggestions have been discussed, I hope you find this information useful and it helps you with communicating professionally via cell phone.

 

– Kamar Hamilton

What Is Your Conflict Management Style

What Is Your Conflict Management Style

Conflict is a part of our daily lives. Simply defined, conflict is a disagreement.  Conflict occurs internally, interpersonally, between groups, and even within organizations.  Since we all deal with conflict on some level, it is important to understand how we resolve conflict.  This is not just a blog about all the different conflict management styles.  This blog will specifically discuss my personal approach to conflict and how to resolve it.

Given that one of the CICS program’s responsibilities is to produce smart and adaptive people to assume leadership roles in the industry, it is important for all students to be capable of utilizing each style.  Over the past 12 years of working in social services, with several years of that being in a leadership role, I have noticed that I do not have just 1 way of resolving every conflict. I have to be able to adapt to the situation and to the person.  I will discuss these styles briefly and how I have applied them in my life.

One style is avoidance. Little courage is required and when used incorrectly, no consideration for the other person is present. This strategy should be used sparingly and for very specific situations.  I use this strategy when the person I’m interacting with is emotionally charged and unable to see reason.  This strategy can also be effective when someone may be trying to bait you into an argument. Avoidance is not an effective way to manage a conflict long term.

Another style is accommodating. In this style, one person completely gives in to the other person’s point of view.   This style is helpful when someone else has the more effective or appropriate idea.  I use this strategy when someone’s view is better than my own.  In many scenarios, giving in can lead to making peace. Unfortunately, it can also lead to feelings of resentment as you may feel that your idea wasn’t heard or even considered.

Competing, also known as the “win-lose” approach, is when you do anything to ensure you win the battle.  This style is helpful when decisive, quick action is needed. I use this approach when dealing with emergency situations or when others are looking for me to be the leader.  Again, this helps with short term rewards, but can be detrimental to relationships or to the company if it is used all the time.

We see the first step towards long term conflict resolution when we compromise.  Compromising requires both sides to give a little for the greater good of the situation.  I use this approach when both sides are stuck.  This will yield a “lose-lose” outcome, with both sides not fully getting everything they want but it allows for some ideas to be kept.

Collaboration is the best approach to use when dealing with conflict because of the short and long-term rewards.  Collaboration invokes discussion, idea sharing, and creative thinking to resolve all the issues without any concessions on either side.  This is my preferred style of managing conflict but I will use other styles if it isn’t effective.

 

– Rashad A. Williams

Man Down

Man Down

“Man up”. Regardless of your gender, sex, or identity you have heard something to this effect in a time of crisis—feel free to let me know if I am wrong.  However, in communication, this may be not the easy fix all that some people would have it be.

Per Dainton and Zelley there is evidence suggesting that sex does not show significant difference in communication styles (it suggests more similarities than not).  Rather, the perceived differences in communication we focus on are those of gender roles—those expectations which are established by a community; research in which gender roles are swapped supports such beliefs.

But what might these gender role swaps be?  Well, that is where my story comes in.  Prior to considering CICS my heart was set on becoming an occupational therapist, specializing in pediatrics—this field is dominated by a mostly female work force.

When working with children in hospital systems, I used a more feminine style of communication both verbally and physically—I “manned down” so to say.  As explained by Deborah Tannen, I used communication to form and solidify relationships, rather than assert status or power—the more masculine side of expression (Dainton & Zelley, 2011).  With the children, my stature was open and welcoming, I wore casual clothes to match their own, and I always tried to enter the room with a smile.

In the process of entering CICS I have found myself shedding the focus of how I convey my message and becoming more focused on what I say.  I dress in less vibrant colors, fold my arms when talking to others, and try to manage rigid posture.  Without realizing it, I conformed to what our society expects of people in a business setting.

Where else might we see this?  Pay attention to your own communication when with a group of all females or males.  Does your presentation of yourself differ: the way you sit, facial expressions, do you greet with a handshake or a hug?

In my own experience I think that the fluidity of communication styles was important—when working with young children you cannot effectively communicate with them if you do not build and maintain a good relationship; I think they prioritized how I said things before what I said.  As I move to a field surrounded by other adults, I think that finding a balance between how/what I say is key in mature communication; mature communication needs to be balanced, like most everything else in our world—so I will continue man up and down as I see fit.

 

–  Aaron Khoury

Dainton, M., & Zelley, E. D. (2015). Applying communication theory for professional life: A

practical introduction (3rd ed.). California: SAGE Publications.

Is the use and impact of social media beneficial, detrimental, or both to a company’s reputation?

Is the use and impact of social media beneficial, detrimental, or both to a company’s reputation?

As the presence of social media becomes more prevalent in the lives of youth, this need to exist online has shown businesses that to be relevant they must make a good appearance. How we appear through a screen seems to impact our reputation more than expected. Comparison rates are high among our personal accounts, whether we want it to happen or not. But, the way society judges a company on their social media habits can change their intended trajectory completely.

Social media presence can be both beneficial and detrimental to a company’s reputation. Society has seen these triumphs and failures time and time again with Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook campaigns either working out really well, or flopping and causing damage that is kept alive for longer than necessary. One of the most recent examples of social media being detrimental to a reputation is that of Dove Beauty products. The company had created a commercial showcasing the use of one product for multiple skin types. But when transitioning it to social media, the clips rotated from skin type to skin type causing a commotion by making society think Dove was trying to convert darker skin tones to that of lighter shades. Even though it was misinterpreted, the campaign went viral for all the wrong reasons and has put Dove in hot water. The costs have been high for Dove on social media. Although they have issued apologies over social media, the campaign is still prevalent in the minds of the public.

With mass media communications being the gate keepers for what society focuses on, it is easy to always focus on the negatives that occur in society. Social media seems to always showcase the bad, with only a small glimpse of the good. Companies that have been able to use social media to benefit their image have been NASA, Budweiser, and even the social media site Instagram. Their campaigns have ranged in content from awareness to personal promotion, while executing them without a hitch. Reputations are not always tarnished over social media controversies, but it seems that those are the only ones that society focuses on.

Overall, social media helps pivot our attention from the good and the bad in society. It also helps us form opinions on almost everything and anything. Whether social media is beneficial or detrimental to the reputation of a company depends on how campaigns are interpreted by the public. There is always an intended meaning for posts, but it is not always seen in the same light for everyone. In order to not let misinterpretation affect the reputation of a company they must ultimately establish a positive presence from the beginning and strive to maintain that.

As the presence of social media becomes more prevalent in the lives of youth, this need to exist online has shown businesses that to be relevant they must make a good appearance. How we appear through a screen seems to impact our reputation more than expected. Comparison rates are high among our personal accounts, whether we want it to happen or not. But, the way society judges a company on their social media habits can change their intended trajectory completely.

Social media presence can be both beneficial and detrimental to a company’s reputation. Society has seen these triumphs and failures time and time again with Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook campaigns either working out really well, or flopping and causing damage that is kept alive for longer than necessary. One of the most recent examples of social media being detrimental to a reputation is that of Dove Beauty products. The company had created a commercial showcasing the use of one product for multiple skin types. But when transitioning it to social media, the clips rotated from skin type to skin type causing a commotion by making society think Dove was trying to convert darker skin tones to that of lighter shades. Even though it was misinterpreted, the campaign went viral for all the wrong reasons and has put Dove in hot water. The costs have been high for Dove on social media. Although they have issued apologies over social media, the campaign is still prevalent in the minds of the public.

With mass media communications being the gate keepers for what society focuses on, it is easy to always focus on the negatives that occur in society. Social media seems to always showcase the bad, with only a small glimpse of the good. Companies that have been able to use social media to benefit their image have been NASA, Budweiser, and even the social media site Instagram. Their campaigns have ranged in content from awareness to personal promotion, while executing them without a hitch. Reputations are not always tarnished over social media controversies, but it seems that those are the only ones that society focuses on.

Overall, social media helps pivot our attention from the good and the bad in society. It also helps us form opinions on almost everything and anything. Whether social media is beneficial or detrimental to the reputation of a company depends on how campaigns are interpreted by the public. There is always an intended meaning for posts, but it is not always seen in the same light for everyone. In order to not let misinterpretation affect the reputation of a company they must ultimately establish a positive presence from the beginning and strive to maintain that.

 

– Lauren McNally

Negative Effects of Social Media

Negative Effects of Social Media

In a growing world where technology has become a necessary source of communication, special attention must be placed on the potential hazards of social media. Social media has changed the way people interact. Most would say in many ways social media has led to positive changes in the way people communicate and share information, however, there are also some dark sides to social networking that sometimes have negative outcomes.

Some of the main areas of negativity associated with social media include the creation of social anxiety, and a weakened ability to communicate effectively person-to-person. Have you found yourself waiting in an elevator and, in fear of someone looking at you the wrong way or the thought of someone speaking to you, the next thing you know you pull out your phone to make it seem as if you are doing something important so no one bothers you? That would be “social anxiety” and most of us don’t even realize it is happening. This is due to us being so wrapped up with technology devices and social media that we use them as outlets to avoid social interaction subconsciously.

On top of avoiding social interaction with technology and social media, when we do decide to communicate we aren’t doing so effectively. We are so consumed with the thought that if we aren’t on our phone that we are missing what is going on, that when we are in the presence of someone, we constantly check our phones for updates. This can come off very offensively to the person you are with, especially if they have given up time in their schedule to meet with you, and you are glued to your phone the entire time. Continually doing so can lead to loss of friends, and professional connections.

Another negative outcome social media has caused is how we communicate with each other. Since social media is so fast paced, we don’t put much depth behind what we post, we just aim for short and sweet. Doing so has led to us applying this concept in our conversations. Instead of being able to spend meaningful time conversing with someone, our conversations have shortened, content is less substantial, and our social media syntax has become our conversations.

Being able to get back to a point where we can separate ourselves from technology and social media, and focus on how to effectively communicate with each other, will help reduce social anxieties and encourage us to work on our person-to-person conversations and interactions.

 

  • Cheria Averitte
Assimilation Recommendations for CICS Program

Assimilation Recommendations for CICS Program

To successfully become a fully functioning member of the CICS community you must assimilate to the unique culture that is created among your peers, professors, and other vital CICS resources. This is a quick guide to the most important factors to consider during your adjustment period!

 

Social Learning in CICS

As a newbie, make sure that you include yourself in as many social learning events as you are able to! Put yourself out there and contribute to conversations in and out of the classroom. There will be many opportunities where you will be able to go out with your new CICS peers. Go out! These colleagues will become some of your closest friends and resources when the going gets tough throughout the program.

There are many events that the program puts on. These include the annual wine dinner, golf outing, and various opportunities to interact with past CICS alumni. Even if you have never held a golf club, go to the event. Here’s a little secret… It’s not actually about the golf. It’s about interacting with your peers, understanding the basics of networking, and the experience overall.

 

The Dress Code

Sadly, jeans and a t-shirt won’t cut it for this program. As a CICS graduate student you are expected to have on professional attire when in the classroom and Center. This doesn’t mean that you are required to wear a suit every day, but some people do. At the very least, business casual clothing is required. Eventually you will be in professional clothing for the majority of the week. Wearing casual clothing will ultimately become a weird experience for you. By month three you’ll find yourself grocery shopping in a suit and life will really seem strange.

 

Feeling Overwhelmed?

At some point you will feel incredibly overwhelmed in this program. The amount of assignments that you are expected to complete will seem like a steep mountain. Take a deep breath and take it one day, and one assignment at a time. By the end of the week the steep mountain will transition to a hill, and then to level ground. Get a study buddy to suffer through content with. This makes learning the content a lot more fun and a great way to bounce ideas off one another.  Lastly, remember that you and your peers are in this together. Help one another, study together, and work as a team to complete objectives.

– Kasia Majkowski

Is Social Media Beneficial, Detrimental, or Both To A Company’s Reputation?

Is Social Media Beneficial, Detrimental, or Both To A Company’s Reputation?

The answer to this question is simple: both. Social media can be beneficial to a company’s reputation, in addition to detrimental. The difference lies in the way social media is used. Instead of discussing whether it is beneficial or detrimental, we are really talking about: If a company uses social media effectively or ineffectively. Social media is a business platform as much as it is personal.

Effective social media use projects a favorable image of the company, and it is a constant effort. This means having a team that manages the company’s social media pages, not just one person. This depends on the size of the company of course, but a team effort is more effective. The content should be related to the goals and industry of the company. As I said, in this instance we are using it as a business platform, which should avoid personal content. Of course, keeping all posts professional, clear of vulgarity, and FACT-CHECKED/PROOFREAD is essential. Other businesses and potential customers will be evaluating your posts while reading them.

Essential social media use keeps in mind that everything posted to sites is permanent. Once you hit “post”, that information that you shared is out there forever. Each post needs to have a reason. It should also follow a regular schedule. This will show your followers that you are professional and consistent. Something to keep in mind: these general guidelines are a loose framework. Just like anything else, it depends on the unique context in which the business is located.

The reverse of effective social media use is as you guessed: ineffective. Not doing any of the previous things I have discussed would generate ineffective use. In addition to the opposites already mentioned, there are some hallmarks of ineffective social media use. The main hallmark is how you respond publicly to the feedback you receive on social media. Not responding positively and constructively will damage your reputation heavily. This is where having a social media team is beneficial. A business will not be able to respond to everything, but responding to as much as possible positively will help your company’s reputation.

To wrap up this discussion of social media use, we can evaluate an example. DC comics tweeted out a page of one of their comics. On this page it read: “translated from Pakistanian”. The post immediately was evaluated and received numerous responses on Twitter. This post was not fact-checked or proofread, as the official language is known as Urdu. This slip is forever documented and will remain as a stain on DC Comic’s reputation. Keeping in mind how to use social media effectively will help this technology platform be beneficial to your business. Not paying attention to social media intricacies and permanence will cause harm to a company’s reputation. Social media is a powerful business tool.

– Drew Apanavicius

A Company’s Social Media Presence

A Company’s Social Media Presence

Over a billion people in the world have some form of a social media account. In fact, 31 percent of all internet traffic is due to social media. With the large volume of people on these websites every day, an organization can easily be seen by millions of people in an instant. This is both exciting and frightening to public relations employees everywhere. A company’s reputation can be easily smeared or boosted due to social media influence. It is important for a company to closely monitor their social media accounts and have a strategy and plan in place to make sure disasters or accidents don’t happen. That same strategy can put a company in the limelight and separate them from their competitors. A simple tweet or post can change one’s image in an online world.

Examples of social media triumphs and failures are not an uncommon occurrence. We often will see the failures in the media. These mistakes made on social media make a great story. United Airlines is a wonderful example of what a company should strive not to do on social media. Earlier this year, they received mass amounts of attention for injuring and forcibly removing a paying passenger from one of their overbooked flights. Customers were not pleased. In situations like this, social media can be your friend or your foe. A social media apology is a great way to reach customers and show that you are listening to them. A strategy needs to be in place to handle sensitive situations like this. United Airlines instead added fuel to the fire by criticizing the passenger and blaming him for what happened. United Airlines did eventually admit their wrongdoings but not until after a drop in stock value, costing the company around 255 million dollars.

 

Successful social media strategies can be found throughout the internet as well. One example of an excellent social media strategy is with Arby’s restaurants. Arby’s social media page has been getting a lot of attention for its interesting approach on social media. Over the past year, Arby’s has shifted from using social media to showcase menu items, to catering to a gaming and anime community as well as a younger and more diverse population. They have also made references to old popular television shows using Arby’s products and merchandise in their posts. Since the strategy launched, Arby’s shares on Facebook have doubled and the Arby’s customer population for 18 to 38 year olds has increased to over half of its customer base.

A company’s reputation is important to maintain. Social media is a crucial part of keeping that image in a positive light. However, it is a double-edged sword. That same platform that helped you grow your reputation can tarnish it just as quickly. A strong social media strategy is vital and becoming increasingly important as the use of social media continues to rise.

– Ryan Suter

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