Maintain the Message

Properly communicating the company message is the responsibility of everyone within an organization, from the receptionist on up to the CEO.  But how do you ensure that the person answering the phones is speaking the party line?

To guarantee a consistent message tape answers to frequently asked – and crucial questions – near the main phone bank.  But don’t post and forget it!  Check it on a monthly basis and update as necessary.  In challenging economies, information often grows stale quicker than you can say audit.

Also, provide updated facts and figures on a regular basis.  Communicate any noteworthy information to the receptionist and his/her backup ASAP – sometimes their need to know is actually more immediate than middle managers who aren’t necessarily speaking with the public and customers on a daily, if not hourly, basis.

Additionally, an intranet is a great tool for spreading the word to everyone while maintaining a consistent message.  For it to work and be effective, however, someone needs to commit to keeping it updated on a regular basis.  Also, the information needs to be pertinent, otherwise employees will soon recognize it as a waste of time and will readily drop it out of their information line up.

Last but not least, don’t forget those all important water cooler conversations.  Monitor the company grapevine and if the message you hear is NOT consistent with the message you want, it may be time to make a more concerted effort to communicate with employees.  Remember, if YOU don’t provide the information, someone else will.

– Robin Fritz, Adjunct Lecturer, Division of Business, Indiana University-Columbus

What is an elevator speech and how do I give one?

An elevator speech is just that, an elevator speech.  This is the type of speech that you would give to a potential employer that you have been trying to get an interview with as you catch them getting in the elevator or walking down the hall.  An elevator speech has also been called an “elevator pitch”.  You may use this kind of speech to sell your product or services to a potential buyer or client.  You want this speech to be no longer than the ride in the elevator, which can be anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, and you need to really be able to sell yourself in the time that it takes to get from the first floor to the top floor or vice versa.  Your elevator speech needs to be clear, consistent, compelling, and to the point.

Tips on writing an effective elevator speech:

  1. Know your audience. What are they looking for?
  2. Know yourself.   Why do they want you or whatever it is you are trying to sell?
  3. Make it exciting!  Make them think this is best the best thing they could ever have!
  4. Write it down and perfect it.  Eliminate useless information and keep it short and to the point.  It shouldn’t be more than 90 words long.
  5. Practice, practice, practice and more practice!  You want to have your elevator speech memorized so you can give it effectively and in the moment.

Here is an example of an elevator speech for a student trying to get a job:

“Hi, my name is Mary Jones. I am currently a sophomore student attending ABC college. My major is in business with a minor in art. I have volunteered with the student credit union throughout my first and sophomore year at college.

Last summer I completed an internship with The Museum of Modern Art, and I’m hoping to find an internship in finance this summer in the Boston area. I have always had an interest in art and I’m also finding that I have a knack for business. In the future I’m hoping to combine these two very different disciplines and find myself a career that includes them both.”

Here is an example of an elevator speech of someone trying to sell their services:

“I am Joe Smart and I am a partner at BPK&Z, a large local CPA and consulting firm. While we do the audit and tax work like everyone else, our real niche is some very high end work – serious tax savings, business valuations and litigation support, significantly improving business processes, closely held business advice, that sort of thing.”

You never know when you might need an elevator speech but having one prepared just might land you that dream job or top client!!!

By Tacita Dockins, Business Major, IUPUC

works cited:

http://www.ingenuitymarketing.com/pdfs/freetools/Ingenuity-ElevatorSpeeches.pdf

http://internships.about.com/od/networking/g/elevatorspeech.htm

Pros and Cons of Online Classes

When students register for classes at the beginning of their college education, many are faced with the question, “Should I take any online classes?” To some, this is an immediate yes or no reply, but others may not know or understand the pros and cons of online classes. Online courses generally consist of uploaded lectures from the instructor, written assignments that are submitted online, and the availability for quizzes and exams to be administered through an Internet connection. A strong Internet connection is vital to successfully completing an online course.

Pros

  • Flexibility & freedom

Students are given flexibility and freedom in terms of when and where they complete the requirements for the class. Students can complete the course in the comfort of their home, even while sitting on the couch in their pajamas!

  • Learn at your own pace

Students are able to learn at their own pace. This is an advantage because it allows the student to re-watch lectures and progressively work on assignments.

  • Save time and money from travel expenses

Students will save time and money associated with traveling to on-campus classes.

  • Use of technology

Students will learn new forms of technology. Technology skills are extremely marketable when applying for jobs.

Cons

  • Time management

Students must have good time management skills to succeed.

  • Technology Failures

Technology is not always reliable, so students should be cautious of procrastination. For example, Internet and electricity may be down for some reason in the area, not allowing the student to submit assignments on time. Also, students need to be aware that computers may crash, leaving them with no way to complete the assignments.

  • No face-to-face interaction

Online classes do not allow room for face-to-face interaction with other students or the instructor. However, some instructors offer office hours for one-on-one sessions if necessary. Also, unless a chat room is enabled for the course, there is generally a delayed response when communicating with the instructor, especially if the student and instructor have different schedules.

To sum it up, there are a variety of pros and cons when comparing online classes to traditional on-campus classes. It is important for students to know their learning styles and time management capabilities before committing to taking online courses. To some, online courses could bring relief to their heavy course load, but they could be a heavy burden to those who are technology illiterate and those who lack time management skills.

By Katie Shaffer, Business Major – IUPUC

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