Die or Come Out?

Hi to whoever is reading this, I’m alive. I’m lucky. Hi, my name is Clayton. I’m 22 years old, an IUPUC student, and I’m an openly gay man. And I am still alive somehow. So, what exactly is coming out? It’s the “The process of establishing a personal self-identity and communicating it to others” (Sexuality Now Embracing Diversity). Coming out is the most terrifying moment in any LGBTQ individual’s life. To be gay or bisexual or trans or queer is considered abnormal even today in a universal hetero-normative society. Our society in the U.S. is more tolerable but has not established itself as accepting. Coming out is still needed today to communicate with others in order to have support, acceptance, and safety. Several studies conducted from 1998-2011 have shown family rejection of LGBTQ teens are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide. The risk of homelessness, drug use, and unprotected sex is much higher as well with rejection.

“Just stay in the closet or just be straight.” This does more than put us down, it terrifies us to come out. When people say this, it is ridiculous. First, sexual orientation is not a choice. Second, suicide and depression occurs with being in the closet, lying to families, friends, co-workers, and creates internalized homophobia and transphobia. Finally, this is caused by how our society dehumanizes homosexuality and non-binary genders. “Fuck you faggot! Oh, you’d like that wouldn’t you?” This is bullying. This is unacceptable. This is something no one cares about and people are DYING! Coming out is not flaunting one’s sexuality. It’s one the bravest things anyone could ever do. When someone comes out, they are facing death in the eye. Telling someone who you think loves you and might actually not after coming out is the scariest situation to be in. But times are changing they say and I almost want to believe that. But, is it? Is it really changing? Or are we just not talking about it anymore because we want to make ourselves believe 2017 means everyone is equal? No, no one is equal right now. If you don’t believe me, go watch a coming out video and the crying and terror people feel.

I am Clayton, I am openly gay, I am alive; and ANYONE who is reading this who is scared, please know that you are not alone. You can reach me through my YouTube video. Don’t ever feel pressure to come. You come out on your turf and when you WANT to come out, trust me, it will get better. Because even with all this hatred in the world, there is love out there too. I came out at 17 years old and I had friends there for me. Now, if you come out, you’ll have me and I’ll make sure we don’t die.

My video for the It Gets Better Project in 2014.

Dissecting a Good Presentation

How many of you consider yourselves to be good at presentations? I know I am not the best, but hopefully by the end of this post you will learn a few ways to improve and what makes a presentation good. I watched a Ted Talk, about being “Inside the mind of a master procrastinator” by Tim Urban. I will dissect the following presentation and what he did that made it successful.

  • Strong introduction
  1. He started off with a story
  2. You could start off with a quote or a story to grab the audience’s attention.
  • Talked to the Audience
  1. Urban prepared a presentation that addressed the targeted audience, people who do and don’t procrastinate
  2. He maintained eye contact with as many people as he could
  • The Floor was his Stage
  1. The speaker used body movements to emphasis on his points
  2. The speaker was entertaining and humorous
  • Used Visuals but didn’t overdo it
  1. The speaker used pictures to demonstrate how the mind of a procrastinator works, this included funny graphics.
  2. He did not read from his visuals
  3. The visuals went along with what he was talking about at the moment
  • Keep it simple
  1. Focus on the main message
  2. Don’t use complex vocabulary that well confuse the audience. Urban used simple words.

Here is the link to the presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arj7oStGLkU

 

I hope today you learned a few things that make a presentation good and that you use these for future presentations. We are not all great at presenting, but we can most definitely improve.

 

Lilia Perez Business Major- IUPUC.

Hot Chicks, Guns and “Bad Words” Sell Merchandise!

By: Cody J. Giordano

Gary Vaynerchuk is a media expert. Vaynerchuk recently said in a Facebook video that he does not want to make a conventional video. He would rather make something people enjoy watching with cues, such as logos and objects or merchandise within those commercials. All forms of advertising have a place, but newspapers and inkblots, alone, will not cut it in our technology-driven society. Advertising styles have changed dramatically.

Black Rifle Coffee Company does an amazing job at selling products without directly advertising them. The veteran-owned and operated company makes funny and outrageous videos on YouTube and Facebook. The videos depict attractive women (hot chicks), guns, extreme sports, nice cars and everything else guys, like me, can’t get enough of. Below are three videos from BRCC.

John Willis, the owner of Special Operations Equipment (SOE) and James Yeager, the “MFCEO” of Tactical Response, have gotten famous by being unapologetic business owners. SOE makes gear like gun belts, chest rigs, rifle slings, etc. Tactical Response is a firearms-fighting school. Both Yeager and Willis speak their mind. When someone doesn’t agree with them, they will fan the flames. This gets the customer fired up. That customer then runs to forums and social media outlets to complain about either businessman. This draws supporters, like myself, to defend Willis and/or Yeager. Willis says that this model works because it is like a traffic jam. Everyone stops to look at the car with a flat tire. This slows down traffic, and more people see the flat tire (his name). The people then flock to his page by the hundreds to buy products. Yeager uses this model to get new students to sign up for classes at Tactical Response. They call this firing customers. By not wasting time on one bad customer, they can help two or three good ones. Both can be seen on YouTube and Facebook doing this very well.

Times have changes, and so have advertising styles. Rather than try to convince you why their product is better or tell you all about their products/services, they give you entertaining content that has subtle hints towards their business.

What Martial Arts Belt Are You When It Comes To Presentations?

How well can you kick butt at presenting? I have videos and quizzes below; let us find out how much you know presentations and what belt you rank. Take notes while watching the videos to see what the mistakes or improvements are then take the quizzes to test your knowledge.  Please leave comments on the page to let me know what you think!

Delivering a bad presentation – spot the mistakesYoutube.com. University of Bedfordshire, 6 Jan. 2012. Web. 13 Apr. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATfY8dvbuFg&gt;.

Did you cringe as much as I did watching that video? Did you see any mistakes that were happening with this presentation? If so, then take this quiz and see where you rank in kicking presentation butt.

Presenter Quiz:

https://www.playbuzz.com/haleyt26/what-not-to-do-in-a-presentation

Power Point Quiz:

https://www.playbuzz.com/haleyt26/what-should-not-be-in-a-power-point

How well did you do? If you scored as a Black belt, then you are on the right track of kicking presentation butt, if you scored Blue belt then that just means you have a couple more things to learn!, if you scored White belt then my friend this blog is here for you. Take these skills and learn how to make yourself a Black belt when it comes to presentations! Here is a video of what a good presentation looks like. Take notes and see what you notice the differences are.

Delivering a good presentation – identify the good techniquesYoutube.com. University of Bedfordshire, 6 Jan. 2012. Web. 13 Apr. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5utoLhjUuAI&gt;.

If you are still not sure you got everything, check your notes with the cheat sheet below mark off what you got right. If you have the information down, try retaking the quizzes again!

Presenter Mistakes:

  • Does not have the technology prepared or know how to use the equipment when it is their turn to present.
  • Did not introduce herself
  • Was playing on her phone and taking a drink at the beginning of the presentation.
  • Presenter is facing the presentation screen and not the audience.
  • Presenter is reading from the slides instead of using it as reminder points.
  • Presenter has her arms crossed while talking.
  • Volume is too low or too fast.
  • No eye contact or scanning of the room to keep connected to the audience.
  • Audience did not have time to ask questions or receive answers.

Power Point Mistakes:

  • Bad choice of background color, and font color.
  • Inconsistency of images, spacing and fonts. (not professional or uniform throughout)
  • Overcrowded slides
  • Irrelevant & unprofessional pictures along with unnecessary and unprofessional animations/transitions.
  • No reference list at end for her citations.

Presenter Improvements:

  • Presenter introduces herself and her topic
  • Faces the audience instead of the board
  • Uses good volume and speed throughout the presentation
  • Moves hands but in a non-distracting way.
  • Does not read every point off the slides, only looks at slide to read the examples.
  • Breaks away from looking at the slide to make eye contact.
  • Gives the audience time to answer her questions before giving the answer.
  • Gives more time for audience to ask questions before ending presentation
  • Ends presentation with a positive attitude and conclusion.
  • Presentation is engaging the audience

Power point improvements:

  • Uniform slide colors (not too dark or too light)
  • Uniform font size and colors (does not blend into the background, easy to read from a distance)
  • Examples in presentation are a different color to highlight the point. (does not distract or blend with the background color)
  • Slides are not overcrowded
  • Great use of bullet points
  • Did not use unnecessary or unprofessional images
  • Did not use unnecessary or unprofessional animations/transitions.
  • Moved through slides at an even pace

 

Did you score better this time? If so then great! You are on the right track to being a Black belt at presentations! Take this information with you to help determine between good and bad presentations from here on out.

 

By: Haley Thompson, Business Major- IUPUC.

 

Communication with Foreign Co-Workers on Overseas Assignments

There is no doubt that we are globalizing ourselves and that we are more diverse than before. The United States has become a land of many cultures. Communication has become better through technology and the socialization of the human species. Yet, how can we prepare employees for an overseas assignment? This is something that can be seen in two ways, a structured plan for the assignment itself and the in-depth cultural communication factor.

In an article in the Harvard Business Review, Andy Molinsky and Melissa Hahn write that there are five ways one can succeed on an overseas assignment in a structured way.

  • Have a purpose and a person who can promote that purpose. Having the right person to make this assignment work is quite important, especially in cultural understanding and understanding of the project.
  • Having a close connection to home works well, that way the person overseas doesn’t lose touch with what he or she is doing for the company. A good mentor would work.
  • Communication between the worker and employer needs to be constant for best results.
  • Before leaving, it is ideal to start on talks of how the assignment was beneficial and what was learned.
  • The company can distribute what it learned from that experience.

We often forget that to have a successful assignment overseas, the communication between the employee and the foreign team is crucial. We need to consider cultural, social, and language barriers amongst diversity and work. There is no denying that “…English is now the global language of business.” as mentioned by Tsedel Neeley in her article Global Business Speaks English. But this doesn’t really help many. My interview with Dr. Joann Jones, Executive Director – Leadership Development for Cummins, led to these tips.

  • Prepare the assignment ahead of time so that everyone working on the assignment can understand the assignment.
  • Know that there will be a need for clarification as language and cultural barriers are present.
  • If possible, know the language and culture of where one may stay can improve results.
  • An ending follow-up on the assignment will be helpful, especially a written documentation of the progress and results. This may help clarify any miscommunications.

Making sure an overseas assignment is completely worked out is the main goal, but knowing the cultural factor and having a structured plan can lead to a successful assignment.

 

By Alvaro Garcia, Business Major – IUPUC

The Baby Boomers vs. The Millenials

If you are a young person sitting at a family event and happen to be texting your best friend about the next time you want to hang out, you may have been told by your grandmother to get off your phone and that you are becoming antisocial. It may not have happened to you, but it sure has happened to me.

What I do not think the generations before us understand is that communication is evolving with society. They see our ways of communicating with each other as unnecessary or inefficient. However, I feel that our generations have similar ways of communicating. Past generations would write letters to friends that lived farther away because they had no way of communicating with them otherwise. Heck, they would even use telephones to call them. The combination of these sound fairly familiar to me. I see the combination as a cell phone. The letters are the equivalent to texts, and the calls are pretty obvious. A major difference between the two generations would be having a landline vs. having a cell phone. I know my grandmother has a landline, but I do not.

Also, each generation has their own lingo. With each generation comes new words. For our generation words like “swag” and “twerk” have formed, but the older generations look down on us for them. I am not saying I myself am proud of these words, but they also formed words like “hickey” and “fuzz”, which means police. These words are also not the most intelligent, and I bet the generation before the baby boomers found this lingo unnecessary. It is like a never ending cycle.

Seth Sharpe

 

A Good Way to Deliver Bad News?

Is there a right way for a company to announce bad news? The answer is yes, even though bad news is never good, there is a good way of announcing it.

An example of someone delivering bad news the wrong way would be BP’s CEO Tony Hayward. When the BP oil spill that happened in the Gulf of Mexico. Hayward said in his speech how the oil spill was relatively tiny and that the environmental effects would be modest. This was a lie, the BP oil spill spilt billions of gallons of oil into the ocean and cost 11 people their lives.

Tony Hayward made the mistake of saying that a huge incident with massive environmental effects. This was a way for him to feel better about delivering such bad news to so many people, but it also undermined just how big the incident was.

There are many wrong ways to deliver bad news but there are also some guidelines to help deliver it properly. You always need to speak up and deliver the news as soon as possible. This means that there’s no hiding it or setting it aside for later. Secondly you need to make your statement accurate, don’t try to make it seem like a smaller deal than it is. Lastly, you need to say what your plan to do next is. You should never deliver bad news with no attempt at a solution. This causes people to panic a bit more trying to think of something to do.

Through all the horrible examples of people deliver bad news like Tony Howard, there is a proper way to deliver bad news. All you have to do is follow the steps.

Sources:

Andersen, Erika. “How Great Leaders Deliver Bad News.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 07 Mar. 2013. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.

Is communication becoming too informal?

Communication. “Means of connection between people or places, in particular.” Many different categories of communication are used including verbal, non-verbal and written. Communication is very powerful as it connects one another and it helps build relationships but there should be a balance of how much we use of each category, we should try to get comfortable with all of them and continue to improve our communication styles. Written communication has definitely increased over the years and is the major form of communication today. Text messages, emails, and social networks are the easy, popular ways of communicating with one another. So, are these things contributing to communication becoming too informal?

We tend to be more open, speak our mind and even say things in written form that we would not say in a verbal conversation. We also use slang language and acronyms and become so used to it that we start to forget how to use formal communication. Social media has become very important in our lives today. It gives the ability to connect with people whom are far away, but ironically it also separates us from the people who are close. We get so caught up with looking at what others are doing, what they share, how many likes we receive, that we tend to pay less attention to the people we have close. Our face to face conversations diminish and we don’t feel as confident and comfortable communicating verbally. People become so involved in their virtual lives and spend less time in their actual lives. 

Laura Lopez

I’m not Lion, Animals ComMEWnicate!

Whether you are a cat person, a dog person, or anything in between, there most likely has been a moment we looked at our pets and thought “Man, I wish you could talk.” Well, what if I told you they can! Animals DO communicate, and if we pay attention there is a lot we can learn to “talk” with them! Animals and humans are more similar than you might think using chemical signals, vibrations and sounds, and even movement that can be witnessed in human interactions, too.

Most of us are familiar with the chemical signals animals unleash, but what do they mean? Those of us who have cats, or have been around them, have most likely experienced them rubbing against an object or the not-so-pleasant spraying from male cats. That is a cat letting you and other animals know it has claimed that object as its own.  Skunks are famous for their chemical signals, using their very pungent spray as a threat to anything that gets in their way!

Chemical signals are not the only form of communication, just ask animals such as elephants, jumping spiders, and Caribbean white-lipped frogs which communicate primarily through vibrations. Elephants use low-frequency calls that travel through the ground in the form of seismic waves to communicate with other elephants miles away. On the other hand, jumping spiders vibrate their bodies and special organs to find a mate…and reduce the chances of his suitor eating him. Caribbean white-lipped frogs also communicate through vibrations, burying their heads into the mud and expanding their vocal sacs to send out vibrations to potential mates.

Vibration-based communication may be fairly common in the animal world, but the most well understood nonverbal communication takes the form of body language.  Generally, we learn the most about animals from how they act during different situations. For example, when cats are happy their bodies are relaxed, their whiskers are to the side, and their ears are pointing forward. When cats are mad they keep their bodies and tails low to the ground and their whiskers and ears down to let you know not to mess with them. Animals constantly give signals to tell us what they are thinking, and they are similar to some that we as humans express.

There are awe inspiring interactions happening all around us that sometimes we fail to appreciate. Dogs, for example, are man’s best friend and they teach us every day to love unconditionally by expressing never-ending loyalty and respect. Ants teach us the importance of working together as a team to collaborate rather than compete. And all animals can teach us to not take ourselves so seriously and to let go of our attachment of being right or wrong. If we do, we will begin to fully embrace times we enjoy and align ourselves with what we value most. Animals teach us all valuable life lessons, and it is our job to listen.

By: Carrie Caldwell,  Biology major at IUPUC

Marketing Through Blogging

5 Minute Read

Blogs, Blogs, Blogs… They are everywhere and you may not even realize it. Blogs are the marketing tool of the time and blogs are giving newspapers and radio advertising a serious run for their money. In order for a company to effectively use blogs as a marketing tool, a company has to have a solid understanding of what social media means for businesses today and how they can utilize the social media world and blogging to benefit their long term strategy.

Blogging has broken out from the conventional blog hosting sites and is now on all of our social media platforms.  If the criteria for a blog is: regularly updated articles, one or more authors and typically focused content written in an informal or conversational style then blogs populate Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pintrest and many other platforms. When you like and share an article or a post you are GVessentially marketing for someone and perpetuating a blog. Today, social media and the internet allow companies to have direct relationships with their consumers that were not possible in the past. Companies can now interact and engage easily with their consumers just as consumers can now easily engage with their favorite companies. This dynamic has some companies scratching their heads while it has other forward thinking companies developing strategies around it.

Two forward thinking companies I think that are effectively utilizing blogs as a marketing tool are Coca-cola and Gary Vaynerchuk with Vaynermedia. Both have set up an amazing web of blogs and social media content that keeps the attention of their consumers and maximizes interaction and impact.

Both companies realize that the use of blogs as a marketing tool is a long play. The effectiveness of blogs relies more on the quality of its content and the relational depth a company has with its readers than the number of followers alone. A good blog should not push sales, it should give value to the reader. Nobody wants to read blogs that are always pitching a sell to them. A reader wants value from the content in the form of entertainment or knowledge. Essentially a blog is a marketing expense that is used to give your customers value in the form of entertainment or knowledge. That sounds like an awful play but if you consider the blog as a relational investment in regards to the integrity of your consumer base then it makes sense. Effective blogs are relationship and trust builders. Gary Vaynerchuk once said, “If you give more than you take then you have leverage for life”.

CokeCoca-cola has positioned their blogs as a form of engagement and interaction while providing stories and product updates through their blog “Unbottled”. The content is not overwhelming or pushy and articles can be easily searched and found through filtering. Coca-cola wants to reach and keep the attention of as many consumers as possible in order to fabricate a lasting loyalty from them. Their focus is rooted in retention through attention and Coca-cola quickly cycles numerous pieces of content that are broadly appealing and shareable.

Gary Vaynerchuk is the CEO of Vaynermedia, a 600 employee media and strategy company that boasted over $100 million in revenue last year. He is a pioneer in the digital and social media world and an incredible entrepreneur to say the least. Gary started his career after he graduated college in 1999. He took over operations at his father’s wine company and increased the annual revenue from $3 million to $60 million annually through the use of an incredibly effective e-commerce and e-mail marketing program. He started one of the first online video blogs in 2006 called Wine Library and in 2009 he and his brother started Vaynermedia. Gary hustled his way toG.png the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes and see what they want is the greatest gift anyone can have. With that gift all you have to do is deliver and Gary understands that today’s generations require interaction, online relationships and above all else… attention. The social media climate is driven by attention. That is why we have like buttons and share buttons. It is why we post pictures and stories for people to read and tell us how great our lives are. We crave attention and Gary is a deliverer of attention, value and motivation. Gary also blogs to maintain his personal brand as an industry leader. His blogs means more followers which result in credibility. Credibility sells books and authors get paid to speak. That type of notoriety can lead a company such as Vaynermedia which sells various media products and provides services such as social strategy and social media management to many fortune 500 companies.

As you can see blogs allow a company to be more up close and personal with their consumers than ever before. If a company understands what they want to achieve through blogging they can begin to develop a strategic plan and begin the long game strategy. The first step is to create shareable content that readers will find value in. Then listen and be empathetic to their needs and deliver to those needs. Interact and keep their attention and the number of followers will increase. If a company can remain consistent and present, then they will gain the trust and loyalty of their followers and that is the goal of any company or blogger.

-Brent Devers

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