Tag Archives: Communication

ROC Race Sprints Past Shutdown

A couple of months ago, my friend and I decided we were going to run the ROC race in Brooklyn. The ROC (Ridiculous Obstacle Course) is a 5K race held all over the nation that has different obstacles. From wrecking balls to water slides, this race has it all! We were super excited to run the race this upcoming weekend until the government decided to shut down.

The ROC race was being held at the Aviator Sports & Events Center, which is part of a national park. Since the government shutdown, all national parks have been temporarily closed, thus postponing this race. Obviously, race participants were not happy, myself included. Not only was I training for the race, but I also paid a decent amount of money to run. The ROC race understood all of this and responded in the best ways possible. Here are the couple of actions the race took to ensure all NYC race participants were happy:

roc-race1) Constant communication: The race has sent me at least six emails since the shutdown began. They provide detailed updates about the race, our registration and any other developments. Just this morning I received a reminder to not pick up our race packets since the race is postponed. Some may think it’s overkill, but I like being informed and updated.

2) Updates on all outlets: Not only have we gotten email communications, but the ROC race has done a great job of updating their website FAQs and posting on Facebook to keep everyone informed. Their Facebook updates are particularly helpful as it’s easier to read that on my iPHONE.

3) Contingency plans: The ROC race has been very intentional with their planning. They could not have possibly known the government was going to shut down and postpone their race. They have set deadlines and already secured the space for next weekend, in the hopes that the shutdown will be over by this coming Monday. They are also taking race set-up and participant notification into consideration: If the shutdown isn’t over by Monday (October 14), they will not run the race that upcoming weekend. They are not trying to rush and just get the race done. They care enough about their participants to make sure the experience and execution are flawless.

4) Listening skills: When the race was first postponed, runners had two options: Run the race on the new date or transfer registration to another ROC race in a different location or on a different date. Once that news got out, people reacted strongly and were upset that they couldn’t choose a refund instead of a registration transfer. Race leadership responded quickly and created two additional options: a complete refund or a registration transfer to a friend. This absolutely showed how the race is primarily concerned with their runners’ experience and are willing to change plans in order to accommodate more participants.

Overall, I think the ROC race handled a difficult situation really well. Of course, there are still unhappy participants and everyone still wishes the race would run this weekend. But, given the circumstances, race leadership dealt with this mini crisis in a positive and professional way.

Motivation Mondays: Brave

From a young age, I was a talker, always sharing my opinion and chiming into the conversation. Much hasn’t changed since I’ve grown up. However, it wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school when I began to understand how powerful words and the English language could be. I remember sitting in my English class listening to my teacher talk and convey a vivid description of Jay Gasby from the book we were reading at the time, “The Great Gasby.” Every word he used was intentional and he painted the perfect picture of Gasby so that it almost seemed like he was standing in front of me. From that moment on, I became fascinated with words and with writing.

I owe a lot to that English teacher and still think about all he taught me during the school year of 2005. That was when I really began writing and falling in love with words. Since then, I’ve seen how words can be used to generate new ideas, even to spark a movement; how the words you write can be so powerful people are moved to tears or called to action. Whether written or spoken, words and language can impact people in so many ways. This is the message I found in Sara Bareilles’ song “Brave.”

Bareilles uses her song, her words as a call to action for people. She asks them to be brave, to use their words to articulate what they truly want and for their words to have meaning. In a recent interview, she commented on the song, saying it was a reminder for herself too, to always stay true to herself and speak up for what she believes in. The music video features all types of people standing up in crowded areas, dancing and being proud of who they are.

Sara’s call to action communicated through her song “Brave” is a concept all of us need to be reminded of occasionally. It’s hard sometimes to be honest and direct with people when we might be hurting or angry. Today, we should use our words to say what we want to say, to be bold and to use these powerful tools for good. Whatever conversation you were putting off, go have it. If you need to tell someone something, do it. It’s time to move out of our comfort zones and be brave.

Paula’s Past Shapes Her Future

Language and communication impact our lives every day, in both positive and negative ways. The words we use shape our personal brand as well as our relationships. There is no better example this statement then Paula Deen. Within the last month, Deen has gone from Food Network icon to a racist tyrant who demeans her employees. How did this star fall from grace so quickly?

It started when Deen told a prosecutor that she had used the “N” word before. Since she was under oath, one would assume that she was telling the truth. The firestorm then began, with people researching exactly when Deen used the derogatory term throughout her lifetime. A couple of suspected instances from her past came up and quickly she was labeled as a racist. Endorsements disappeared and The Food Network cancelled her show, despite her pleading video apologies to fans and a tearful appearance on The Today Show. Paula Deen’s career as she knows it, is over.

No one should use derogatory terms, regardless of their status as a celebrity or otherwise. Paula Deen is no exception to this statement. However, it appears that this woman’s past is being brought up and her entire reputation is being dragged through the mud. The word she used sounds like it is being taken out of context. Now, let me make this clear: I am not condoning her use of the word or using the word at all. But, in the situation she was in, being held at gunpoint, could anyone blame her for using the word?

We all can sit and speculate if Paula Deen has used the “N” word or other offensive terms in her lifetime. But, she told the truth on the stand that day. She deserves some credit for that. Now, her entire career and life have completed changed, for one alleged mistake that happened 30 years ago. If your life was examined, would you be proud of every word choice you’ve made?

Regardless of what Paula Deen has said or done, the bottom line is your past can come back to haunt you. As a young adult, the actions I take today can and will affect me tomorrow. That is the lesson we all should learn from Paula Deen’s current situation. The words and language we use to communicate whether professionally or in joking around will be judged by others. Words you find inoffensive can potentially bother someone else. If using such a word is questionable in your mind, then just don’t say it.

Unfortunately, Paula Deen learned this lesson the hard way. But, for the rest of us, it is a shining example of how the way we choice to communicate can impact us in the future. Below is Deen’s interview from The Today Show. Do you think she is telling the truth?

Dude, Where’s My Boss?!

When I started my job almost four months ago, I had no idea what to expect or who I’d be reporting to. Quickly I realized the person I’d be working most with (aka my boss) was located in Chicago. So this is fun, I thought. How exactly is going to work?

Coming straight from college, I’ve always interacted in person with my supervisor(s). We would communicate through email, occasionally over the phone and absolutely meet in person at least once a week. So not having my boss in the office was definitely something I wasn’t used to. But, working virtually is a way of life for most people here and in larger companies across the nation.

telecommuting-pro-and-conMost people at my company are telecommuters, which means they work from their home office most of the time. Some people split time between their home and work offices while others come into NYC everyday. It is more of a personal preference and thankfully, my company is flexible in letting employees work from home. Not having my direct supervisor in the office has been an adjustment for me but here’s why it works.

  • Technology: Conference calls and live meetings are an integral part of life here. We have the ability to conference several people into a call at once. Live meeting allows people to share their computer screen’s in order to explain a document to their audience. This visual aid makes training new employees so much easier. We rely heavily on these tools and others to help us feel like we’re all in the same room.
  • Understanding: Most of my team is in Chicago, which is an hour behind me here in Manhattan. We all are conscious of the time difference when scheduling meetings and are very understanding of each other’s schedules. Some of us get to work earlier while others stay later. Being aware of everyone’s schedules and best times of productivity is a key factor is our team’s efficiency.
  • Trust: My boss does not need to see me to know I am doing my work. Similarly, her boss doesn’t need to see her to know she’s working..super hard I might add. Of course, there will be some situations when employees must come into the office. But, on the whole, there is a level of trust between supervisors and their team. Because of this, there is more flexibility in where people work from.

Last week, Spin Sucks published an article about working from home versus working at the office. The article cited pros and cons to each, but studies found it came down to the ability to focus. Whether my boss is sitting behind me or sitting in Chicago, I have to keep myself motivated and focused on the task at hand. Limiting distractions is the biggest factor into staying focused. For more tips, check out the Spin Sucks article here.

I have learned that having a virtual team and office can be just as rewarding and productive as having your team right in front of you. It’s been a great way to improve my communication skills as well. Do you work virtually? Is it a challenge? Let me know!

ny-to-chi

Motivation Mondays: 17 Years Later

I am blessed to have a great group of friends, but only one person has been by my side for the last 17 years. Brittany and I go back to kindergarten and have literally been there for every life moment. Her 23rd birthday was yesterday, so I’m dedicating my Motivation Monday post to my best friendship.

Cheerleaders cerca ’96

If you look on the ‘Rockstar Legend’ section of my blog, you will see a quote: “Little girls with dreams become women with vision.” Brittany and I have lived this saying out over the last 17 years. From kindergarten to college graduation, we have walked side by side, hitting each milestone together. Our dreams changed throughout the years but we are both on the road to accomplish great things. Brittany is in graduate school, pursuing a Masters in School Psychology and you know what I’m trying to do. We’ve grown up and grown closer, but we’ve faced our set of challenges, as every friendship does.

Brittany and I stopped going to school together in 7th grade. I ended up in catholic school while she stayed in public. We then went to different high schools and were states apart for college. We figured it out, with phone calls, Skype sessions and the occasional visit. Our friendship has been based on open, honest communication since day one. I still have the note Brittany wrote in third grade, telling me exactly how she felt about a certain situation.  Whatever the situation, we share our honest opinion and give real advice. That’s the only reason we’ve survived this long.

I’m not writing this post to brag about my friendship or to put it on display. On this dreary, hurricane Monday, I’d like to remind you to fight for those in your life. My friendship with Brittany wasn’t always easy or convenient. But, we both knew and will always know that it’s worth fighting for. Friendships do require effort, but they shouldn’t ever be hard. When you put in the time and are honest with each other, friendships are the best thing life has to offer.

Freshman year of college

Career Fair Hunger Games

On Wednesday, I attended the Madison Square Garden Career Fair. Some of the biggest names in sports like the NBA, the New Jersey Devils and the New York Redbulls were present along with the Madison Square Garden Company, CBS Radio and Burson-Marsteller. I was very excited to interact with representatives from these companies, as face-to-face communication is always going to trump emailing your resume.

About 350 of what appeared to be mostly recent college graduates assembled outside of the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. As my cousin and I waited in line, you couldn’t help but size up the competition. I caught myself checking out what everyone was wearing and whose resume looked more professional. Once inside, all 350 of us were set free to move around to each organization’s table. Lines at popular places like the NBA formed quickly and you ended up waited on average 20 minutes to talk to their representatives.

Quickly the innocent career fair turned into a scene from the Hunger Games with people trying to cut lines and trash talk. Yes, I am not lying, this did happen! Through the crowds and chaos, I was determined to hand out some resumes and make personal connections with certain representatives. After a grueling four hours, here’s what I learned from the Career Fair Hunger Games:

1) Positivity is Key: After hearing that MSG did not have any entry level PR positions, I could have easily been discouraged. But instead, I smiled, got the representative’s business card and moved on. Yes, I wish they had a job opening but so what?! I had to meet other people and keep the smile on my face. I kept my spirits up by knowing I was making real connections with people that could help me in the future.

2) Face-to-Face Communication is King: Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big believer in the power of social media, but introducing yourself and your abilities in person will always be more beneficial. Representatives saw my confidence and my initial reaction to their questions. It was also easier to convey the passion I had working for my previous internship. I had one representative from the Devils actually tell me how good I was at speaking to new people. It pays off!

3) It’s Not About Everyone Else: It was easy to get caught up in what everyone was wearing or overhearing things other people were saying to representatives. But, after a few minutes inside, I quickly realized it was about ME, not everyone else. Who cares if the kid next to me had an internship with Major League Baseball?! It was about putting my best foot forward and showing how I was an asset to each company. It was initially very intimidating seeing 349 people going for the same position. But I had to focus on me in order to make a rockstar impression.

Has anyone else had a similar experience at a career fair? Let me know.

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