This is an Auto-Post made on December 15, 2010, posted automatically as I prearranged this on January 4th, 2011. You are still welcomed to post comments.
Last summer I took a class in (business) communications that taught us the fine art of, you guest it, communicating, plus networking, and above all else, the art of detecting B.S.. The course identification number was lovingly called CMNS3100. And if you noticed, it is a third year University course offered at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
It was a great class, and I did take away from it many valuable tools and wonderful memories. Like all of my classes, before and since, when you spend fourteen weeks with a group of people for one evening a week, you are going to form some attachments, and make some friends. And the other side effect is that you will learn, and learn we did.
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the course, for me, was learning how to present in less than two minutes. Yes, you read correctly, we were to take an idea, a business proposal, and pitch it in less than two minutes. This meant that all of your most important points and ideas, your strongest arguments, had to be encapsulated within a two minute presentation. And no, you just do not run up to the front of the class and start spewing out gobs of facts and figures! You have an order, a set of rules, in which you had to play by.
Perhaps the most memorable part of the course for me was the group presentations. This is where once all of the students had pitched their ideas, everyone then must decide what group to choose based on what they felt was the best group idea to work with. You could either join a group, or stick with your idea and hope that people joined your group – you have a choice during your initial presentations if you so choose to do so or not. Everyone in the the class tries to match up enough groups to cover at least three people per group. Then the real work begins such as, allocation, research, scheduling, and presenting.
Nothing prepared me for the session on Bull Shit. More or less, this segment of the course was geared to detecting it, spotting it, how it is used in mass media, and how to avoid it. It was not subtle, but right to the point. Simply put, it is all around us. And from what I gathered, most businesses use it. It appears in ads, and tries to lure you into their clutches, yet creating a allure of making you feel special. We were given many examples, some personal, some not so personal.
The course is nothing without the instructor. A special thanks goes to Bob Basil, Ph.D. who made us laugh, work hard and made us better people. He gave us the courage to communicate, to be heard and above all else, how to network. Networking is probably the most critical ongoing exercise that a post graduate will do. Bob made it easy for us, and gave us plenty of directions to go in.
With his permission, I have included the course material, which is extremely useful for anyone who needs pointers on presenting, writing reports, and that all necessary resumé. Please have a look at the collection of links and documents that he has gathered, as they contain a wealth of information. Click Here for the webpage.