Archives for category: Education

As a speaker, teacher, and learner, it is imperative that I stay *audience centered* when delivering a message. This means that when conveying an idea, I focus on the receiver more than myself. After all, the goal of a message is to be understood by the receiver and that can only be successfully accomplished if the receiver does, in fact, comprehend the message.

From my understanding, there are several types of learners. Of course there are subcategories of each, but I have categorized the ones I plan to discuss below:

Auditory Learners – Learn through hearing and speaking.
Kinesthetic Learners – Learn through the sense of touch, feeling.
Visual Learners- Learn through seeing.

Teachers are instructed to teach material using all learning styles, so not to isolate or hinder a student’s ability to digest the material. Speakers are advised to keep the audience imgresin mind throughout the entire speech-making process. Learners are encouraged to know what method of instruction they receive the best and ask for that form of instruction.

I had a math course and I just could not grasp the new concept. The teacher said it to me, showed it to me, and I even attempted to watch her and duplicate it myself. She tried to dissect the information to me in various ways. After several attempts, my teacher told me, “I don’t know how to teach it any other way.”

After leaving her classroom, I went home and read back through the material. As I was able to reflect on what she had shown or said to me, as well as my textbook and notes, it finally clicked. I had to combine what I saw, heard, and attempted to do to understand the material.

Many times, God is the teacher trying to get us to learn new material. I am a firm believer that if you do not grasp the concept the first time around, God will continue to try to show you the same thing in various ways. He may be telling us the way, showing us the way, or even guiding us on the way. The issue occurs when we are not teachable. When we get upset when we do not understand the lesson the first time. When we get discouraged because we have to keep trying over and over again until we finally get the lesson.

In comparing this to the word of God, I wonder is your learning style hindering your progress?

If you have to see what God has promised you to believe, then you can only reach for what has been done. In his Word, God often makes promises that are nowhere near being fulfilled and it takes faith to believe it despite the circumstances.

If you have to literally hear a pastor, preacher or prophet to believe the Word of God, then you will falter when others don’t affirm what you hear God telling you. Oftentimes, you hear the voice of God in your spirit, not with your ears. God uses people often to speak to you, but let us not forget that he can take it to the source–you.

If you have to literally work on your blessing with your hands to believe it, you won’t begin. What if God gave you a vision to create something that has never been made? You have to start from nothing so you have no blueprint or example to follow. Many times the work is not physical labor but it begins with our minds and a change of heart.

Occasionally it takes us going off on our own, reading the Word of God, applying all that we have heard about God, seeing Him work our lives or in the lives of others, or feeling the experience of his presence in our lives for us to get it. For it to click.

Visionaries go beyond the borders of learning styles to grasp what God has for them to learn.Unlike my teacher, God is not limited in his teaching ability and never says, “I don’t know how to teach it any other way.” He speaks your language and he can break down anything you need to learn and give it to you on your level of comprehension.

Don’t let your learning style block your blessing.

With Love,

MS

*I was introduced to the term “audience centered”  in  The Public Speaking Handbook by Steven A. Beebe and Susan J. Beebe.


Copyright 2014 by Morgan Smalls of mosmalls.wordpress.com. All rights reserved.

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In life we all make decisions. Unfortunately, we do not always make the best choice. Under pressure, with the clock winding down, we miss the last shot to win the game. We have our opportunity. We have our chance. We take the shot. We miss the mark. We lose. And it alters our lives direction.

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I’m sure many of us can relate to giving something our best shot and it not working. The relationship, the job, the business, the class. Oftentimes, we get stuck in our moment of failure. We continuously hear the buzz signaling the end of the game in our ears–a reminder of our lost, what could have been and our reality.  Oftentimes, we live in regret.

When we think of where we could have been if we never met such and such or did such and such or listened to such and such, we question our lives. We mull over the less than stellar choices we have made. We trick ourselves into believing that our past disqualifies us from having a bountiful future. But we must recognize a redirection of our route does not change our destination.

How many times have you used a GPS and made a wrong turn? Your GPS acknowledges the wrong turn and redirects you back to your destination, even if it is not on the same course. We must do the same. Acknowledge and move forward.

Winding Path photo WindingPath.jpg
Copyright 2014 by Morgan Smalls of mosmalls.wordpress.com. All rights reserved.

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“I wish statuses had a plagiarism check so people would give credit to where the got their enlightened statuses from. Some of yall are perpetuating like these are your original thoughts instead of giving credit due, which is proper when quoting.” -Sharnee Green via Facebook

Coincidentally, I had begun to write a post about this EXACT concept a few days prior and was compelled to continue.

With the onset of social media and reposts, retweets, and sharing of social media, I find that our sense of plagiarism is waning.

For those who don’t know, plagiarism is when you use a person’s thoughts, words, ideas or concepts and claim that you are the original author. For those who desire a formal definition, According to The Merriam Webster Website:

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Ironically, I saw a really motivational quote on social media. It had several likes, shares and reposts. The thing about it was it sounded eerily familiar. I heard another person (the author) say the exact same thing in their video. I sooooo wanted to write on their page and say, “hey, did you get this from such and such?” But, I didn’t want to seem like a hater on their “enlightened statuses” so I just let is slide.

Moral of the story:

It’s okay to post other people’s thoughts; it’s not okay to repost them or add a line or two that is different and not give credit to the person.

For example, if I wrote/said: “Today the sky is blue. It has never been this blue. You should look at it and enjoy it.” and you write the same thing, you plagiarized. Or maybe you add a few lines and write, “I just woke up. Today the sky is blue. It has never been this blue. You should look at it and enjoy it. Be blessed”  you plagiarized.

So when I find out that you are basically taking credit for someone’s else’s work, I give you the stank face because I have been deceived.

face

If you are not going to give proper credit, be original. Add to the conversation.Stop plagiarizing and just quote the person directly. You don’t want the stink face.

Be blessed.

With Love,

M.S.

So, I’m sure many of you are familiar with the new passive aggressive form of commenting on social media using Kermit The Frog’s face. Well if not, there has been a meme circulating that has Kermit drinking a liquid beverage, presumably tea (though some say it is liquor/milk/coffee). This meme is usually accompanied with a text of him saying something that may be truthful and partly comical but the underbelly is rude, disrespectful and sad. The meme ends with a statement under the guise “but that’s none of my business.” Kermit

 

Now, let’s be clear. I have nothing against Kermit the Frog. In fact, I hope him and Ms. Piggy have a great life together, but what concerns me is the passive aggressiveness that is being used by many to say things they would feel less compelled to say or post about others. Kermit is saying many things people want to say but have not or do not due to social etiquette or quite frankly because “it’s none of [their] business.” I believe some are posting these memes as a guise for their own feelings and a silent jab at others whom the post may be applicable.

 

I have seen some comments such as: “Some of y’all don’t look like your daddy at all…but that’s none of my business” “You posting naked pics for 100 likes but you afraid to read out loud in front of 20 ppl. But again, that’s none of my business.” “4 of my followers have the same boyfriend…but that’s none of my business” “Ya’ll liking the memes that’s talking about you…but that’s none of my business.” Now, the comments may be true, but have you ever heard the saying, “All truths don’t need to be told.” Truthfully, we all have memes that could be made about one aspect or another of our lives. images-2

 

So what if a person is rocking J’s and living with their Momma? So what if a person doesn’t pay child support but pops bottles in the club? What does that have to do with you? And a better questions is how can you help solve the problem?

In short, my motto: Don’t point out a problem if you can’t offer a solution.

Looking at it from a macro scale, maybe it is OUR business as a society. Maybe we need to discuss the single-parent homes, mismanagement of funds, misappropriation of government funding, and how some folks are just not so good parents, friends, coworkers, or people period.

Many may reason, well the memes are just for kicks, jokes, and giggles and that may be true; however, many jokes are grounded in truth…that’s what makes them relatable and funny. I urge you to go beyond the surface, dig deeper, and think of the message behind the memes. It is saying something. What? I’m not 100% sure. While some consider the memes hilarious, I believe it is pointing us toward some larger issues in society. Now that’s Somebody’s Business!

Food for thought.

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you. Also, share your kermit memes with me.

Feel free to share this via social media. With love, M.S.

Feliz cinco de mayo

Feliz cinco de mayo (Photo credit: Serge Melki)

As it is the time for college graduation as well as Cinco de Mayo, I thought I’d remind you of the reasons you want to control and limit your alcohol intake. These do not include the usual reasons such as alcohol poisining which can lead to death if untreated, but instead take a comical look at why you do not want to be the one drunk and experience black out as my dear friend did this past weekend. So sit back, grab about 5 beers (I’m joking) and read on!

You should control your liquor because:

1.) It’s embarrassing- People can make up stories that happened to you and you have no recollection whether or not that actually happened. Who wants to be known as the person who can’t control their liquor.

2.) You owe a lot of people- Others do not want to take care of you, and if they do, they will be able to hold it over your head for quite some time. I charge by the hour and you will owe me a really good meal if I take care of you.

3.) You will be the laughing stock of the group and depending on the friends, pictures or either video will be taken to help refresh your memory. I take both! Who knows where those things could end up! You’d hate to have a picture of you with your face in the toilet, soaking in a bathtub, or lying halfway naked on the tile in the bathroom floor…lol Don’t leave your destiny and reputation in the hands of others. What if you fall out with your friends and they decide to upload those pics on a social netowrk for ALL to see- family, friends, potential employers? It could be tragic! smh

4.) It’s unattractive- What if the night you were drunk, was the night your crush finally noticed you. Pretty hard to spit game if you can’t think clear enough to have subject-verb agreement when you talk.

5.) Hangover- It’s inevitable and you will feel horrible in the morning, evening, or whenever you wake up.

After receiving such positive reviews from How To Find The Perfect PR Job: Part 1, I found it necessary to continue with a Part 2. Readers commented how it helped them in their job search and for that reason, I wanted to  offer a few more tidbits of information that will help anyone, not just PR professionals, in the job search. Before finding a job or pursuing any particular career path, I find it imperative to do your research. Research is just as important as having a professional and polished resume and aids you in showing your best self in an interview. Why?

  1. Research will help you craft your resume. If you look at the job description, job responsibilities, job qualifications and duties associated with the job, that should help you decide whether or not you want to apply. If then, you decide you want to apply, knowing this information will allow you to draw on similar past experiences that will position yourself as a better candidate for the job. It’s time consuming but ideally, a resume should not be like a cattle call. Each resume should be tailored to fit each job you apply to. That heightens your chances of getting the job because you have aligned yourself with the professional attributes which the job is seeking. Also, to be honest and responsible, do not lie on your resume. I have heard horror stories of people getting their dream job and getting fired because their resume information was not true.
  2. Research will also allow you to know learn more about the company, its history, motto, code of conduct among other things that are pertinent when interviewing for any position. Your research does not stop once you write your resume. If you get to the second phase of the job search—which in many cases is the interview—you then should use the information used to form a greater understanding of the company. Also, in an interview, it shows that you are very interested in the company and have taken the initiative to learn, if not detailed information, the basics of the company. The goals of the organization, how many branches do the office have, how long has the organization are all things that you should know to have a better idea of the company.
  3. Research could potentially put you in contact with members of the organization which could lead to informational interviews. Informational interviews give you an overview of what it is like to work for that company, in that department, in that office, etc. In an informational interview, you speak to someone who is working in the career field in which you want to work. So, for example, if you want to work in fashion pr, you should try to get an informational interview with someone in that field. Hearing personal testimonies from someone who has the job/career you are in hopes of getting, puts flesh on the career and makes it more real. It allows you to ask those questions that you may feel uncomfortable asking in more formal interview setting. For example,
    is there a lot of competition between workers, do workers hangs out outside of work; do you enjoy your job—why or why not? All of these things help to provide a clearer sense of how it is to have that job at that company. However, for a variety of factors, what a worker says should not be taken 100% as the Gospel for a factor of reasons. If they hate their job, they may not be the best person to ask.

These are just some of the reasons why research is imperative in the job search for any job.

I hope this helps! If it does retweet it or like it.

M.S.

Singer Brandy Norwood in September 16, 2010.

The Angry Black Female

Black Attack: BET’s “THE GAME

For the past four weeks I have been watching “The Game”; however, each episode left me somewhat confused and uncertain as to what the writers had in mind. The first episode made me feel as if I were on mental pop rocks. You know, the candies that kids put in the mouth and it starts popping, making your mouth feel like it is going in a million directions at once? That’s how I felt after watching the first, second, and third episode.

But, as a die-hard “The Game” fan (seriously, I watch YouTube episodes of the show in my spare time) I continued to watch the episodes and despite what I am about to post, I probably will continue to watch the show because there are few and far in between shows that have an all black cast and I’m trying to show my support for black actors.

 BUT, the play on stereotypes has to STOP or at least slow down a bit.

Last night, I was disgusted by Chardonnay’s character (played by Brandy Norwood). Since her introduction to the show, Chardonnay has always been the stereotypical loud, ghetto, no holds barred black female, but this episode took it to another level. Here she is in a movie theatre and not only did she bring in her own food(which is not allowed) but when the movie begins she yells at the screen and seems to have no concern that she is ruining the movie for others. Her justification being (and I paraphrase) “I paid for this movie just like anybody else, so you shhhhhsh!”

Furthermore, let’s even talk about the name “Chardonnay”…really BET?  You couldn’t have given her a less stereotypical name.

I can’t take any more neck rolling, eye rolling, teeth sucking, finger snapping stereotypes of black women. Come on, Tasha Mack’s character (played by Wendy Raquel Robinson ) was enough for one show.

Instead of focusing on the colorism concept (which seems to be the overall theme for Chardonnay and Jason Pitts (played by Coby Bell ) relationship), it becomes diluted when there is a surplus of stereotypes from one character. The newfound understanding that Jason Pitts character has of his own culture becomes lost in the stereotypes. But it is not just that character. Melanie’s (played by Tia Mowry) comment of “I’m all for the ghetto. I buy barbecue once a month” (paraphrase) also irked my nerves, but I digress.

No, all black women are not angry.

No, all black women aren’t named after cars and liquor.

No, all black women don’t wear weave and pat their heads.

No, every black women does not regard Steve Harvey’s book, Act like a lady, think like a man as the gospel.

I know that these realities do exist, but in a world where the representation of black women has, at times, been less than par, having only these representations of black women can be disastrous.

For example, while interning abroad a woman was kind of rude with me over the phone. I told my coworker (a white male) what the woman had said to me and before I could continue the story, his immediate response was, “I know you got all ghetto on her didn’t you, sista girl…” as he snapped his finger and rolled his neck.

*pause*

CLEARLY, he had me confused and even if I wanted to “get all ghetto” it would not have been with the woman on the phone but with him for having the audacity to act in such a way that showed me his perception of not only me but my race.

Yes, I have my Chardonnay moments but don’t we all? Don’t we all get upset and angry at ceratin situations? And yes, I can take it there but to think that I do not have tact and know what is personally and professionally proper due to your stereotype of a certain race of women is downright rude.

I have been to several movie theatres domestically and internationally and never have I seen anyone act in that behavior—black or White or Spanish or Asian. Just saying.

For reasons that I’m sure are surface and subliminal, I was offended by the movie theatre scene of “The Game.” And although there was another scene of another black female with Jason Pitts’ character at the movie theatre and the women did not bring her own food or yell at the screen, for me, the damage had already been done.

Some people may think, but it’s just a tv show. You are taking it too seriously.

To that I say that the media in general not only reflects but impacts culture as well and sometimes, the tv representations are the only “real” interactions we have with people of a different race/ethnicity.

Some people may think, but other races are stereotyped as well. What about them?

I never said that was appropriate either, but in a world where the minorities are less represented in many forums (particularly media), it is necessary that the representations we do have are positive ones that show the many faces of black women.

Food for thought.

What are your thoughts?

While on my flight back to the States, I sat by a friendly lady who happened to be a PR Consultant. She worked for 15 years in the public relations industry, beginning with a salary of $19,000 and ending at $70,000 before she left work due to her want to start a family. Surprisingly, that led into a wonderful discussion as we discussed life, job hunting, and how to find the PR job for which you are looking. I wanted to share it with you since I found it helpful. I have also added some things I have learned while job searching. Even if you are not interested in PR, the advice here is applicable to other career searches.

1.)    Before you begin your job search, know what kind of career you want. Where do you see yourself? What lifestyle you wish to live?  For example, if you want to work in public relations, do you want to work in-house at an agency or out-house for a specific company? What kind of public relations do you want to do: fashion, government, business to business, consumer, etc.?  What is your favorite aspect about public relations—press releases, event planning, media research, etc.?  You should have some answers to these questions because it will help you narrow down your job search. Each company will have its own definition of public relations, and particularly when you work in-house for an organization, their meaning of  public relations could be slightly to largely different from your perspective, so understand what you are looking for before you begin your job search. Not saying that you need to know EVERYTHING, but you should have a general gist of the type of public relations you want to do and the type of environment in which you thrive.

2.)    When searching for a job, look at the company than just the position. Many times, it pays to take a lesser position in a company that you want to work for. This is because the hardest part may be getting your feet in the door. It may be easier to begin as a secretary in the office, even though you really want to do public relations. This is because you will already be privy to information about how the organization works and you already have an advantage if a position does become available. With hard work and dedication and patience, it is relatively easy to work your way up in an organization.

3.)    When being offered a job, look at the package holistically. They may not offer you your dream salary, but what other monetary benefits are you getting: Relocation assistance? Medical coverage? Stock options? Pensions? For example, medical coverage is costly, so if your company is offering you that, then that could be worth about ¼ of your actual salary, depending on your plan and how good the coverage is.

4.)    Match 401K immediately when entering a job. (Put the max in) This helps to secure your financial future especially when we do not know if our generation will receive social security benefits. According to the Wall Street Journal, “A 401(k) is a retirement savings plan sponsored by an employer. It lets workers save and invest a piece of their paycheck before taxes are taken out.”  For those who do not know what a 401k plan is, I suggest you read this article by the Wall Street Journal. http://guides.wsj.com/personal-finance/retirement/what-is-a-401k/

5.)    Network, Network, Network. Many people find jobs through networking as it sometimes is easier to get a position in a company, when a reputable person in the company can vouch for you. Need I say more? Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal to help you with networking. http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2012/01/13/career-journal-how-to-make-networking-work-for-you/?KEYWORDS=public+relations

6.)    Send “thank you” emails after your interview and take their business card. Even if you do not get the job, you never know when having their contact information will come in handy.

Did this help you? Do you have any suggestions you would like to share? Feel free to tweet this or like this on twitter.

With love,

M.S.

 

Tuesdays with Morrie

Image via Wikipedia

As I was sorting through files and slips of paper from abroad, I found a quote from a friend of mine. She has posted it on facebook and I  wrote it down because I felt that it was the perfect way to explain how I felt leaving England.

She wrote, “Now that my journey comes to an end..I feel so much that all this was just a dream-like illusion and I’m about to return to the real world.. to bid farewell to people I loved, to places whose beauty my imagination could never create. This was such a fast-paced, frenzy, creative way of living… Adrie, Katerina, Marina, Lorena, Kamal, I can’t think of England, or of a home, without you. “-Dikaia

Looking back as I returned to the fast-paced living of the states, I realize that I will miss the slower, at times,  boring days of no transportation, no television, no cell phone. I have not been back in the United States a month and I already have felt the stress of living—the hustle and bustle that becomes a passenger to success. I have pressing deadlines that won’t wait, bills that I must pay, jobs that I must work, things that I must do.  Back to just doing the hackneyed routine. However, what’s different is…ME.

I’ve learned that deadlines will always be there, bills will always be there, a job will always be there…but I won’t always be here. I won’t always be alive. And because of that, a restructuring of my priorities is much-needed. I will miss living in the moment or better yet, creating the moment in which I want to live while abroad. So, although, I have left England, I have brought the life lessons I have learned the 7,000 plus miles back with me.

In the book, Tuesdays with Morrie, the author notes how Morrie, a dying professor, stated “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in” (pg.52).Although I am unsure if that is the most important thing in life, I do believe it is an important thing. We all need love, in some shape, form or fashion. 2012 will be my year to do just that, love, not just in words, but in actions.

When I left, my Grandmother was in better health and, at times, spirits than she is now. To think, a few days ago she turned 77 and had to be reminded that it was her birthday. That’s scary. My Grandmother’s memory hardly ever fails her, but with old age, I am seeing how things change. She needs help doing things that once were easy for her. Walking, in itself, has become a challenge. Cooking, one of her favorite things to do in the world, has also slowed down tremendously. So with that being said, I am learning how to invest in people and invest in memories. Why?

Because at the end of the day, deadlines, papers, jobs, etc. Will always be here, but those who supported me and encouraged me to meet the deadline, write the paper, or apply for the job may not….A sobering thought. No matter the age, gender, race, demographic, etc. We all are destined to leave this world at sometime. But when I do (hopefully, when I’m well over 100 years old) I’ll be able to say that I invested in people and reaped the reward of joy, happiness, and love…a fulfilling life.

I urge you to do the same.

With love,

M.S.

According to Websters Online Dictionary, “talent” is defined as:

 1. a special natural ability or aptitude: a talent for drawing.

2. a capacity for achievement or success; ability: young men of talent.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/talent

Since that word has been defined, let me begin with my premise that we ALL have talents. Yes, You, You and YOU have talents. Yes, I meant to use the plural form of the word because you have more than just one thing you are good at. Think about it. There is something that you do well with little to no effort. What is that? That is a talent. Whether you decide to pursue that talent and become great at it or not is entirely up to your discretion.

We all have talents; something that we could be great at with more dedication, practice and crafting of your skill. One issue that I have found to be a problem with having multiple talents is settling down and honing in on one. Schools teach us how to be well-rounded individuals, that it’s best to know an adequate amount about a variety of things. But, the older I get, the more I realize that may not be so true.

Granted, I see the benefit in knowing a little about a lot of things—you can paint the perception that you know more than you do, etc. However, if you know a little about a lot of things (English, math, science, history) and someone else may only know one subject very well (history), who do you think an employer would hire?

Quite frankly, it depends on what the employer is looking for: if the employer is looking for someone who is specifically versed in history, then the other person would most likely get the job because he or she has what the employer is looking for.

This is even true in academia. The further you get up in degrees: Associates, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate, each level requires a new level of specificity as it is understood you cannot know everything, but you can know a certain subject extremely well.

Having a talents is similar. Sure you can sing, dance, play an instrument adequately, but if you are average in all those areas, nothing will separate you from the crowd. No matter how many talents or skills you have, if it is not in demand, it may not be financially profitable to you. If you do not stand out from the crowd, it may not get you where you want to go either.

Even celebrities, who are seen as a Triple Threat, entered the industry doing one thing and one thing very well and then moved into other endeavors as their gift made room for them. E.g. Beyonce began as a singer/dancer, and then moved into being an actress, entrepreneur, fashion designer, etc.

 Steve Harvey, a comedian, actor, author, speaker, radio host, charity sponsor, etc began as a Comedian. He tried to be the best at that and then when he reached a certain status, his gift began to make room for him and he was able to venture out doing other things.

 Michael Jordan, ex-basketball player, turned into a fashion icon (Jordan Sneakers) and owns professional basketball teams. He has a franchise, but he began with his talent and love for basketball.

 What do these examples show?

You HAVE to start somewhere. You HAVE to have a desire to be the best at whatever it is you are doing. You HAVE to be determined.

If you were to read the background stories on each of the aforementioned people, you would see that they did not start at the top of their industry. They were boo’ed, they lost games, they lost competitions.

BUT

They didn’t give up.

Sure, plenty of people may be able to sing better than Beyonce or dance better than Chris Brown. They may have the talent, but they may not have focused on crafting that skill in a manner that would allow them to compete on that platform. No one will ever know how great you are at anything unless you show them. No one will ever know how talented you are if you give up at the first sign of defeat.

I acknowledge that losing is not the best feeling in the world. Rejection is tough. So, have your sad moment and then see what you can improve on so that next time you will be the winner that you desire to be.

Pick a talent to focus on and try to be the best you can. From there, continue to to build your resume by adding other talents.

Having A Talent is Not Enough. You have to possess DRIVE, DETERMINATION, and a DESIRE to achieve GREATNESS.

Start that journey now!

 

With love,

M.S.