Leadership Matters: Sharpen your Communication

Leadership Matters: Sharpen your Communication


Dr. Wilson Leung: Hi everyone, my name is Wilson Leung and I’m the Director of the Graduate Leadership Institute and today I am here
with Adrienne Tsandelis who is a graduate student doing her master’s in nutrition
communication so Adrienne welcome and thank you for joining us. Adrienne Tsandelis: I’m excited to be here with you today. Dr. Leung: So Adrienne, the reason why I asked you to come today was to speak on the theme of communication and leadership and specifically I wanted
to ask you about your insights and experiences as it related to your
graduate studies. So Adrienne, can you tell me you know any lessons that you have
learned during your master’s program about developing communication skills as a leader. Adrienne: Ff course, yeah, just the nature of being in a communications program,
I’ve had the opportunity to try a lot of different types of communications and I
can think of three main things that are most important to me when communicating. First, I always make sure that I know my audience. So what do they already know?
And what do they need to know about the message that I want to share? What are
their values and where do they best access information? This information all
helps me tailor my message to really reach my audience and make it impactful
for them. Secondly, I make sure that my messages are clear and simple. By
different students have different learning needs and strategies,
way the ways that they access information, so keeping it clear and
simple will allow them to best access it. One of my professors she always tells
us to use the structure: What? So what? and now what? This allows you to deliver a
clear message. Tell your audience why it’s important and why it’s important
for them and what can they do about it. how can you make your message actionable so that they can take it away and use it? That’s really what communications
about, right? Thirdly, I’d say practice. There’s
so many different ways that we communicate, so it could be verbal
communication like we’re doing now, written communication. There’s all
different platforms now we can write academically or social media and even
what we’re doing right now as well as interpersonal communications. So these
are all things that can continuously be improved and as you practice them you’ll
become more familiar. Dr. Leung: I really like the points that you made. First of all, target your audience. I really like that because you’re
tailoring and customizing your message accordingly and then the structure of
what? So what? And now what? Knowing what you’re going to talk about the reason
and the purpose for your message and then having some action steps to follow.
I think that’s brilliant. Adrienne: Exactly! Dr. Leung: Yeah. So Adrienne I also want to ask you about some of your personal communication challenges. So have there
been any challenges that you faced as a communicator and how have you overcome them? Adrienne: Sure. As we communicate, there’s always things that pop up that might be
a challenge for me. I know one thing during my undergrad especially and at
the beginning of my master’s, I was a having a hard time with public
presentations so sometimes I didn’t know if my audience was
understanding what I was saying, let alone listening to me – were they even
listening? I mean, something that has helped me overcome this is engaging my
audience. So perhaps this is a discussion question or an activity, a
scenario or maybe even a game, like cahoots or pull everywhere, these are all
different ways that you can engage your audience. Engaging your audience
does a few things. It first allows your audience to interact with the materials
that you’re sharing. So when they use the information, they’re thinking more
critically about it, asking questions, Dr. Leung: yes. Adrienne: This can also allow
you to understand where your audience is with that material, maybe there’s
something that you need to clarify, or maybe, they’re really getting it and you
can expand on it to, to really help them learn what you’re teaching. And thirdly, I
know that I get really nervous before presentations and it’s common but
engaging your audience allows you to connect with them and you don’t have to
do the talking anymore they’re doing it for you, so you can take a step back
and relax get rid of some of those nerves. Dr. Leung: yeah absolutely yeah. I really enjoyed these practical tips on engaging your audience. Definitely points that I’m
gonna take away from myself as well so that’s a fantastic, thank you.
And finally wanted to talk to you about the Graduate Leadership Institute. Now as you know the Institute offers a variety of resources like leadership workshops,
leadership advising sessions, and I know that you’ve participated in both of
these. So wanted to ask you how have these, you know, training formats been for
you and how have you developed stronger as a communicator in leadership? Adrienne: Sure, I’ve attended a few workshops now and a few leadership advising appointments and both of them have been so beneficial the workshops really give a foundational
knowledge about leadership, communication, perhaps even personal growth, that helped me gain a sense or a new goal that I can take with me and apply in my graduate
studies or even outside of school. What I really like about the workshops is that
so many students from different disciplines attend. So whether this is
engineering students, art students or even other communications programs, they bring such unique lenses to the room and allow me to open my eyes to new ideas
and that’s really exciting. Dr. Leung: I love that. Adrienne: Yeah and as well I’ve attended some of the leadership advising appointments, and I
really like these because they’re focused on me. So I can come in and bring a challenge that I’m facing, talk about it, talk about some potential solutions
and then again build up a goal that I can apply and and learn and continue to
grow in that area. So both of these have really catalyzed my growth and and
they’re really great opportunities for graduate students especially, Dr. Leung: Awesome. I’m so glad to hear that these resources have been meaningful and valuable for
your development Adrienne: Definitely, yeah. Dr. Leung: Well Adrienne, thank you so much for coming today and joining us. I really appreciated your insights and
experiences on the topic of communication and leadership and I wish
you continued success Adrienne: Awesome, it’s always great to have these conversations with you Wilson. Dr. Leung: Yeah, thanks. And for all the graduate students,
I just encourage you to just take some time to consider some of the points that
Adrienne has made today and how you might be able to apply them into your
communication and leadership as well. And I do encourage you to check out the
Leadership Institute, we have a number of resources all designed to help you grow
stronger as a leader so we just invite you to check it out and we look forward
to connecting with you. See you again soon.

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