EDGE program prepares for second year

[Image retrieved from sbu.edu]

By Kelly Haberstroh

As the EDGE prepares to start up for its second year, the Career and Professional Readiness Center (CPRC) decided to make some changes to the program. In comparison to last year, they plan to have more interactive and hands-on seminars with more opportunities to practice the skills they’re learning how to improve.

The EDGE is an opportunity for sophomores, juniors and seniors to have an advantage when applying to internships, graduate school and the workplace. The CPRC started the program last year after students who went into internships and jobs found that, while they had a great foundation, they were lacking some professional skills.

Continue reading “EDGE program prepares for second year”

Professor presents talk on effective communication

By Jason Klaiber

[Image retrieved from sbu.edu]

In coordination with The Competitive Edge Certificate (The EDGE), management professor John B. Stevens presented a talk titled “Understanding and Being Understood: Communicating in the 21st Century” at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Walsh Auditorium.

The EDGE, a program offered by the Career and Professional Readiness Center, instructs participating sophomores, juniors and seniors about the professional skills most desired by employers and graduate schools.

Stevens, the owner and operator of JB Stevens Organizational Solutions, outlined the presentation with a series of principles, starting off with the idea that words alone don’t convey the entirety of a person’s message. He revealed that 7 percent of what we interpret in a message relies on words, while tone of voice makes up 38 percent and non-verbal action accounts for the remainder.

“You can only really tell tone of voice and non-verbal in person,” said Stevens. “[That’s why] text messaging and emails are such delicate and difficult ways to communicate—because we can’t see a big part of talking and communicating.”

Stevens instructed the audience to split up in groups of two and three to discuss when it’s necessary to listen and what makes listening difficult. After reclaiming the room, Stevens asked everyone to recall in thought what the person to their right said during the short discussion, which he said wouldn’t be an easy task for everyone.

Stevens said that getting distracted by one’s surroundings and especially thinking about one’s own end of the conversation can disrupt listening.

“When you’re thinking about what you’re going to say next, you can’t be concentrating on what someone else is saying to you at the same time,” said Stevens. “It’s difficult for the brain to do two things at the same time. You have to make a conscious decision to decide to listen to someone else.”

Stevens added that there’s a distinct contrast between listening and hearing.

“As I’m talking, my vocal cords are creating sound waves that are being emitted,” said Stevens. “Your eardrums are hearing those sound waves. The brain says, ‘There’s a sound out there, and it sounds like words.’ That’s called hearing. Listening is taking the words when they come into the brain and saying, ‘I’m going to do something with that—I’m going to try to interpret it, I’m going to try to understand it, and I’m going to try to do something with it.’”

Stevens’ second principle details that effective listening can provide one with valuable information and a level of involvement with others.

“If you listen to somebody, and you really pay attention to them, it can provide a level of involvement that can help you with your relationships at work or at home or with friends or with anyone,” said Stevens.

Stevens acknowledged the usefulness of listening in the business world, such as in negotiations with customers about products they order.

Stevens said that demonstrating interest with eye contact and a nod, asking questions and repeating back what you heard are ways to improve listening skills.

“You need to engage other people and really pay attention to what it is they’re saying,” said Stevens. “This will help you to reduce ineffectiveness in listening.”

Stevens ended his talk by zeroing in on email etiquette and showing examples of poorly written emails.

“In the working world, you have to think about how you’re addressing people,” said Stevens.

Stevens said that proofreading for spelling and grammar, filling in the subject line and including a signature at the end of the email are characteristics of proper email etiquette.

Stevens also stressed the importance of correctly using the “to” and “Cc” features.

“We need to be careful when we send an email,” said Stevens. “You need to think about who’s going to read this, but more importantly, who will read this.”

Stevens said that opening the email with a greeting, stating your purpose, relaying the facts, incorporating a recommendation—such as “have a nice day”—and including a conclusion are the five steps to crafting the proper email.

Junior sociology major Courtney Brinsky viewed the talk as informative.

“It’s useful for when we’re in the business setting,” said Brinsky. “Sending emails is how a lot of businesses communicate.”

Junior English major Luis Rodriguez believed the talk was helpful.

“It was interesting to learn about how much we actually focus on non-verbal communication,” said Rodriguez. “You think about it, but you also don’t think about it at the same time.”

CPRC to kick off EDGE program on Monday


[Image retrieved from sbu.edu]

By Amber Williams

The Career and Professional Readiness Center (CPRC) will be introducing The EDGE program to St. Bonaventure University students, beginning the week of Oct. 5, to prepare students for future careers and graduate school.

“I first learned about the program while I was a mentor for the Freshman Leadership Program on campus,” said Catherine Eaton, a senior sociology major. “I knew it would provide me with continued leadership practice. I’ve worked with the CPRC before, and knew that if they were behind this program, it would be a worthwhile experience.”

The program offers six one-hour seminars in a variety of topics including professionalism, interviewing, networking and self-awareness. The topics reinforce skills that will help students become confident when seeking employment.

“It really helps students tailor what they need,” said Marie Wilson, career counselor at the CPRC and EDGE program administrator. “We’re trying to offer more skill-based seminars that way you can be prepare going into an interview or selling your personal brand…we want students to have a variety.”

Although the program provides topics that will benefit students’ futures, there are some seminars expected to be more beneficial than others.

“I think the workplace dynamics will be the most beneficial because every work atmosphere is different; students, especially seniors, need to know how to navigate all work atmospheres,” said Jasmine Foster, a senior journalism and mass communication major.

The EDGE program requires a minimum of six seminars to be complete by April; however, it does not require students to take each topic. Students may choose to learn about a topic more than once.

“Students do have to complete a professionalism seminar, and then they get to choose five [other seminars,]” Wilson said. “For example, if you feel like you need interviewing skills, you can go do two seminars on that.”

Some students are expecting the program to refine skills that they already possess.

“I am fairly good at professional communication. But sometimes I find myself wondering what exactly is appropriate to say in certain situations – which I hope EDGE will help me with,” said Hannah Vail, a senior chemistry major.

Even though The EDGE program has not yet begun, students are anticipating what they will gain from EDGE and how it will benefit them in the future.

“I hope that the program gives me more confidence in myself,” said Elyse Breeze, a junior journalism and mass communication and strategic communications and digital media double major.” I want to be able to show off my skills to future employers, and I think the EDGE program will give me that extra little boost of confidence I need before I start applying for jobs in my field.”

“From what I know about the program, I think that the topics being offered at the moment are a good starting point,” said Caitlyn Morral, a sophomore strategic communications and digital media and visual arts double major. “In the future, I am hoping that the CPRC will expand and offer even more topics to focus on.”

The program has high expectations for the participating students.

“I want them to become more confident and have these skills that employers are seeking…. they should take it all in, and have an open mind. If they start, we want to see them finish,” said Wilson.

The program will host a launch party for the students in the program on today in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The program will begin the following week on Monday, Oct. 5.