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Monday, June 30, 2014

Comunication in the Workplace

The maxim that "everyone should be treated with respect" does not mean that everyone should be treated in the same way. Due to cultural differences, personal preferences and individual perceptions, behaviors which may be acceptable to some will be offensive to others. A good example of this is direct eye contact, which may be interpreted in very different ways across different cultures. Looking another person in the eyes may be seen as a sign of open and honest communication in one culture, but in others, the same behavior can be seen as impolite, disrespectful, aggressive, and even threatening.

When introducing diversity to the already complex process of communication, it becomes much more complicated, but also a much richer experience—and opens a path to learning more about other cultures.

Get to know those whom you perceive to be different from you. Speak with them. Listen to them. Exchange perspectives. Ask them how they perceive you; tell them how you perceive them (tactfully); discuss those ways in which you are the same, think the same, feel the same. On those issues where you disagree, agree to disagree respectfully.
This may sound simple, but can actually be quite difficult for many of us. The keys to better understanding and acceptance, conflict resolution, inclusion and positive personal or professional inter-relationships all begin with open, effective communication.
Half the process of open, effective communication involves the active use of language. Some rules to remember for effective speaking, or writing include:
  • Use Respectful Language
  • Lower the Volume – vocally and verbally
  • Avoid Exaggeration
  • Do Not Use Dogmatic Language
  • Focus on "I" rather than "You"
    Use Respectful Language:

    This means to remain polite and professional, avoid interrupting the speaker or dominating the conversation. Do not engage in insulting or obscene remarks.
    Steer clear of name calling and emotionally charged words, like: racist, sexist, homophobe, man-hater. These only serve to make the target of the language defensive and angry, causing the impact of the message to be lost or, at best, weakened. If the other person is using offensive language and name-calling, avoid sinking to his or her level.
Often, when abusive language occurs on campus, those involved or aware of it either minimize its harmful nature or attempt to place the blame elsewhere. This is often the case when the language is meant to be humorous. There is a temptation to believe that we are not guilty of offensive behavior because we do not initiate it, or because those who are being demeaned are not present. An honest appraisal of our own actions, however, may suggest otherwise.

Collusion is cooperation with others, intentionally or unintentionally, to reinforce stereotypical attitudes and biases, or disrespectful, harmful language. There are three types of collusion:
  • Silence. It may seem harmless, but it can reinforce stereotyping, lack of value for diversity, and lack of respect for individuals or groups.
  • Denial. Providing an excuse, not only for the person engaging in the offensive behavior, but also for ourselves, so we may avoid the discomfort of expressing disapproval.(Example: "She doesn't mean anything by it." "It's only a joke.")
  • Active participation. The most obvious and damaging type of collusion.

    Lower the Volume – vocally and verbally: Whether attempting to inform another why his words or actions were perceived as offensive; or responding to another's accusation that you behaved inappropriately; or just asking for, or providing, clarification of a differing viewpoint, it is best to avoid raising your voice or the intensity of your words. Shouting and becoming emotionally agitated during a conversation may appear aggressive, arrogant or irrational to those listening. It often provides the listener with a reason to "shut out" what is being said, or shouted.

    When we are personally or emotionally invested in the topic being discussed, it is sometimes difficult to control our tone and volume, as well as our words. But, as difficult as it may be, controlling how we present our message is essential to getting listeners to respond to what we are saying rather than how we are saying it. Ask yourself: "When I feel personally attacked by someone's shouting, sarcasm or insults, do I listen to what they are saying, or do I try and think of ways to defend myself?" Speaking loudly or angrily is viewed as threatening to most people, often causing them to respond in the same unproductive manner.

    Avoid Exaggeration: Exaggeration is when we distort the reality of a situation by overstating, or intensifying the facts.

    For example:
    "You ALWAYS exclude me from ANY decision making process!"
    "Can't you, for ONCE, just listen to what I have to say?"
    "If it were up to you, there wouldn't be a person of color employed in the entire organization!"
    "You NEVER consider ANYTHING suggested by a woman!"
    "The ONLY thing your religion teaches you is how to hate!"
    These types of comments make it very easy for the object of the tirade to ignore the statements as absurd. Such exaggerations can often be disproved with just one example to the contrary and therefore not worth considering. Sticking to facts and specific examples go a lot further in getting the attention of the person you want to engage in a discussion. 

  • Consider the different impact each of the following comments may have on the person being addressed:
    "You NEVER consider ANYTHING suggested by a woman!"


    "You didn't even acknowledge Marta's suggestion regarding the database, though it was an excellent one. Ms. Humber's recommendation for the schedule change was ignored until the same idea was expressed by Mr. Wilfred – then it was implemented. And now you won't allow me to even present my marketing idea to the committee, but you can't give me a good reason for that decision. It seems to me that women in this department are being marginalized. I believe that is intentional and I'd like to hear your response." 

  • Do Not Use Dogmatic Language: This means to avoid statements such as:
    "I've always been taught that…"; "It's in the Bible"; "It's the American way." "Science has shown that . . . " or "It's the law."
    These comments do not go far in supporting most arguments, and may even be offensive if the individual the comment is directed to is of a different religion, culture, social background, country, or has the opinion that laws and/or science are often used to support and encourage discriminatory behaviors.

  • Quoted "authorities" such as the Law, the Bible, and science often have more than one interpretation, or are credited with proving a point not actually supported by the statement. For instance:
  • Quoting scientific data that women, as a group, have less muscle mass than men does not support an argument that a woman cannot perform as well as a man in a particular physical job.
  • Stating that America was founded by Christians does not support an argument that Muslims should not hold office or executive positions in the United States.
  • Referencing the fact that the constitution guarantees free speech is not a valid argument to justify name-calling directed at co-workers.
  • Pointing out issues regarding illegal immigration does not justify harsh attitudes toward foreign-born individuals who legally reside in this country
There are more effective ways to communicate. When a disagreement arises, try to analyze your own feelings and the personal biases which may contribute to them. Then attempt to be equally open to recognizing the life experiences which may have brought the other person to the position he or she holds. Finally, look for common ground. It isn't necessary that you agree on all points, just so you respect each other's differences and attempt to find a fair resolution to any present conflict.

Focus on "I" rather than "You": It is usually much more effective to tell another person how you feel about a comment, behavior or situation than to confront that person with why his or her actions or language (as you perceive them) are incorrect or offensive.

 For example:
"I just don't believe that" instead of "That's a lie!"
"I was offended by that statement" instead of "You are rude and insulting."
"I feel that my input is being ignored" rather than "You people just can't accept that someone of my age (race, position, education level . . .) may have something worthwhile to contribute, can you?”

Perhaps one way to avoid focusing on the other person's behavior is to attempt to remove the word "you" or "your" from assertive comments. Which of the following would most people prefer to hear when having their supervisor hand back a report they've submitted?

  • "This report needs several corrections before I can send it to the Board." or
  • "You made a lot of mistakes in this report and you had better fix them. I can't send this mess you've written to the Board."
We probably all agree that the first example would be better received and probably result in less conflict, less defensiveness and a more productive completion of the task.

Effective Listening

Practicing effective speaking skills is just one half of the process of improving communication. The other side of the coin is effective listening.

Listening attentively is a skill that needs to be developed and practiced. It does not come easily. Often we try to interpret the speaker's message based on our own perceptions and expectations instead of being open to the true meaning and intent of the speaker.

Some rules of effective listening are:
  • Really listen. Stay present, in the moment.
  • Listen for the emotions as much as the words.
  • Do not allow anger or defensiveness to interfere with listening.

    Really listen. Stay present, in the moment. Try to focus on the speaker's words, without interruptions or defensiveness. Give it your undivided attention and try to suspend judgment in an attempt to understand the speaker's message. If you are too busy preparing what you will say next, you will not truly hear what is being said.
    Are you distracted by the way the person looks, sounds, or dresses? Do you think the person is less knowledgeable about the topic because of his/her culture or ethnicity? Are you silently criticizing the speaker's accent, voice or manner of speech? Are you allowing your own biases to interpret meaning or intent which the speaker does not mean to convey?
    When you avoid traps like these, you can start to hear the true words and meaning of what is being said.
Listen for the emotions as much as the words. Try to understand the speaker's thoughts and feelings. Carefully restate or paraphrase what the speaker has said in a way that lets the individual know that you are really listening and trying to get the full meaning of what is being said. This also gives the other person an opportunity to correct misunderstandings before they seriously disrupt the communication process.
Often the true message of what a speaker is saying comes from the emotions behind the words. Imagine the speaker's intent and ask questions to help both of you obtain a clearer understanding of any underlying issues. Attentively listening for the whole message, spoken and unspoken, will enhance the communication process for all parties.

Do not allow anger or defensiveness to interfere with listening. Preconceived ideas may make us react initially with anger or frustration. When this is the case, we are not really hearing what the speaker is trying to say. A listener's emotional reaction is counterproductive to effective listening.

As discussed earlier, this reaction might be more about the listener's sensitivities than what the speaker actually intended. If a person says something that seems derogatory or inflammatory, make sure you understood the person clearly before getting angry. Try to understand (not necessarily agree with) his perspective.
Even if the other individual intended his comments to be insulting, you can be the better person by accepting his emotional state and attempting to steer the conversation to an area of common ground, hopefully resulting in a more respectful exchange of ideas.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict is unavoidable. In the work place or educational setting, especially, conflict is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, in any such environment there will be both healthy and unhealthy conflict.
Healthy debate among diverse members of a team frequently leads to better strategies, perspectives and problem solving. This type of interchange should be encouraged as it provides opportunities for team members to challenge their own viewpoints while also challenging the team to stretch its potential and find more ways to excel.

Unhealthy, or destructive, conflict is divisive, interferes with the ability to succeed as a team, and can be demeaning and abusive towards groups or individuals. This type of conflict is characterized by getting off task and into the realm of personal attacks, interruptions, emotional outbursts, finger-pointing, and an inability or unwillingness for either side of the conflict to understand or concede an inch of ground to the other.

All too often, unhealthy conflicts are side-stepped or swept under the rug instead of addressed head on, especially if they are a result of uncomfortable situations involving a clash of cultures or diverse perspectives. Often unresolved conflict may appear to fade away, but is actually churning just under the surface, ready to explode in even more destructive ways. For this reason, you should not avoid an opportunity to openly discuss a situation because you fear it will lead to a confrontation. Sometimes confrontation is the best way to achieve understanding and promote cooperation.

Conflict Resolution

Guidelines for controlling destructive conflicts include:
  • Sit down together with the stated purpose of clearing the air and improving relationships.
  • Allow one person to speak at a time.
  • No personal attacks or attempts to speak for others.
  • Keep emotions to a minimum.
  • Give each participant an uninterrupted opportunity to share viewpoints, experience or understanding with others.
When you believe an associate's comments or behaviors are inappropriate, address it calmly and non-confrontationally. Be specific about what you'd like to have happen in the future.

For example:
"I understand you told the Vice President that my current personal situation is interfering with my ability to manage this project. I don't feel it is anyone's place but my own to discuss my personal life. In the future, if you think it is necessary to do so, please address your concerns to me personally, or, if you believe there is a legitimate need to discuss my personal life with others, I would expect to be included in that conversation."

Monday, June 23, 2014

Think you multitask well..Think again


The Brain Is Wired to Focus on Just One Thing; Which Tasks Are Easier to Combine

Melinda Beck on Lunch Break looks at the "cocktail party effect," in which people are able to focus on one conversation while being aware of conversations going on around them. Researchers say we can train our brains to maximize this kind of awareness.

You're at a party. Music is playing. Glasses are clinking. Dozens of conversations are driving up the decibel level. Yet amid all those distractions, you can zero in on the one conversation you want to hear.
This ability to hyper-focus on one stream of sound amid a cacophony of others is what researchers call the "cocktail-party effect." Now, scientists at the University of California in San Francisco have pinpointed where that sound-editing process occurs in the brain—in the auditory cortex just behind the ear, not in areas of higher thought. The auditory cortex boosts some sounds and turns down others so that when the signal reaches the higher brain, "it's as if only one person was speaking alone," says principle investigator Edward Chang.

These findings, published in the journal Nature last week, underscore why people aren't very good at multitasking—our brains are wired for "selective attention" and can focus on only one thing at a time. That innate ability has helped humans survive in a world buzzing with visual and auditory stimulation. But we keep trying to push the limits with multitasking, sometimes with tragic consequences. Drivers talking on cellphones, for example, are four times as likely to get into traffic accidents as those who aren't.

Many of those accidents are due to "inattentional blindness," in which people can, in effect, turn a blind eye to things they aren't focusing on. Images land on our retinas and are either boosted or played down in the visual cortex before being passed to the brain, just as the auditory cortex filters sounds, as shown in the Nature study last week. "It's a push-pull relationship—the more we focus on one thing, the less we can focus on others," says Diane M. Beck, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Illinois.

That people can be completely oblivious to things in their field of vision was demonstrated famously in the "Invisible Gorilla experiment" devised at Harvard in the 1990s. Observers are shown a short video of youths tossing a basketball and asked to count how often the ball is passed by those wearing white. Afterward, the observers are asked several questions, including, "Did you see the gorilla?" Typically, about half the observers failed to notice that someone in a gorilla suit walked through the scene.

They're usually flabbergasted because they're certain they would have noticed something like that.
"We largely see what we expect to see," says Daniel Simons, one of the study's creators and now a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois. As he notes in his subsequent book, "The Invisible Gorilla" (co-authored with Christopher Chabris), the more attention a task demands, the less attention we can pay to other things in our field of vision. That's why pilots sometimes fail to notice obstacles on runways and radiologists may overlook anomalies on X-rays, especially in areas they aren't scrutinizing.

And it isn't just that sights and sounds compete for the brain's attention. All the sensory inputs vie to become the mind's top priority.

That's the real danger of distracted driving, experts say. "You regularly hear people say as long as your hands are on the wheel and your eyes are on the road, you're fine. But that's not true," Mr. Simons says.


The percentage of people who can multitask efficiently is fewer than three in one hundred, actually lower than 2.5% . Many more people only think they can.

Studies over the past decade at the University of Utah show that drivers talking on hands-free cellphones are just as impaired as those on hands-held phones because it is the conversation, not the device, that is draining their attention. Those talking on any kind of cellphone react more slowly and miss more traffic signals than other motorists.

"Even though your eyes are looking right at something, when you are on the cellphone, you are not as likely to see it," says David Strayer, a psychology professor and lead researcher. "Ninety-nine percent of the time, it's not that critical, but that 1% could be the time a child runs into the street," he adds.
Dr. Strayer's studies have also found that talking on a cellphone is far more distracting than conversing with a passenger—since a passenger can see the same traffic hazards and doesn't expect a steady stream of conversation as someone on a cellphone does. Listening to the radio, to music or to a book on tape also isn't as distracting, because it doesn't require the same level of interaction as a conversation. But Mr. Simons notes that even drivers may miss some details of a book on tape if their attention is focused on merging or other complex driving tasks.

Some people can train themselves to pay extra attention to things that are important—like police officers learn to scan crowds for faces and conductors can listen for individual instruments within the orchestra as a whole.

[HEALTHCOLjp] Getty Images
Multitasking may cause cognitive depletion, while 'unplugging' has restorative properties, based on early research.

And the Utah researchers have identified a rare group of "super-taskers"—as estimated 2.5% of the population—who seem able to attend to more than one thing with ease.

Many more people think they can effectively multitask, but they are really shifting their attention rapidly between two things and not getting the full effect of either, experts say.

Indeed, some college professors have barred students from bringing laptop computers to their classrooms, even ostensibly to take notes. Dr. Beck says she was surprised to find that some of her students were on Facebook during her lectures—even though the course was about selective attention.
Still, she doesn't plan to crack down. "I just explained that doing Facebook in class means you will not learn as much, which will have consequences on the exam," she says.

Clearly, it is easier to combine some tasks than others. "Not all distractions are the same," says Dr. Strayer. Things like knitting, cleaning and working out can be done automatically while the mind is engaged elsewhere. But doing homework and texting simultaneously isn't possible. (Sorry, kids).
Even conversing and watching TV is difficult. "Just try conversing with your wife while watching football. It's impossible," jokes Mr. Simons.
PAY ATTENTION | How to stay in the zone
Recognize your limitations. The brain can only fully attend to one thing at a time.

Make your senses work together. If you're trying to listen to someone in a noisy room, look directly at the speaker.

Focus on what's important. Many professions—from pilots to police officers—depend on keen powers of observation. Training and practice help. But experts say things like chess and videogames likely won't expand your overall attention skills.

Allocate blocks of time to specific tasks. Sometimes a deadline can force people to focus.

Avoid distracted driving. Don't talk on a cellphone, text or give voice commands while at the wheel.

Write to Melinda Beck at

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Judgement Time

We live in a time of personal attack.

We live in a time where it is funny or fun to make fun of others and attack or give negative stereotypes without understanding and with a trendy mean spiritedness.

Yet the PC police are out in full force, and attacks on those they disagree with made in the name of being fair and respectful of others.

We live in a time when information is instant and judgment even faster.

This is the most difficult time for students, and on a broader scale for all of us in society. The pressure is on, stress levels high and anxiety through the roof.

Remember you are not alone and that while you may be graded you are not being judged to the core of your being or worth. No one can do that but yourself, and is it worth it? Move forward. Build confidence. Trust in who you are and what you can do. Build on what you have and work toward who you wish to become.

Aptitudes differ but all have value, as long as those with an aptitude do not use it to belittle others. I will use my own failings as an example, however each of you can and are invited to come up with your own list and post it.

I am an actor, a voice artists and student of others. Listening skills and tollerance should come with these, but in far too many the tendency to judge, attack or jump to conclusions dominates who have the potential to be much more than they are. Ego and a need to feel superior keeps them from their full potential as mirrors to life, portayers of others, entertainers and artists.

I am a professional writer and a communication professor. Due to many things, including the education track system that existed when I was very young, my mind racing ahead of others, and my ear hearing with a Chicago accent, my spelling skills are not perfect. Computers help but not as much as people think, because they make assumptions and if you let them will auto-correct to the wrong word or meaning. In addition, I write as we speak. In other words I believe language is fluid, changing and can reflect the reality of its now, not strict guidelines. All of these lead some to lower their view of me based on what to them seems second nature.

Some people learn other languages with little difficulty. I have tried hard on Spanish and German, with only limited success in reading and writing and next to none in being able to speak the languages.

To a computer programmer the things to do if your computer is not doing what you expect or need it to seem intrinsic, second nature and easy. The rest of us they may seem difficult if not impossible. What is one man’s logic or ‘you should know that” moment is another’s impassable wall. The Mac vs. PC argument centers on how use you are to the extra steps, language of and limitations of a PC, or how you may or may not feel superior for having one operating system versus another. It is a feeling of being better than others, using what you can turn into their faults or limitations (whether or not these really are limitations).

I was the kid who was not picked for teams because for a reason I do not care to reveal I was less coordinated and an only child, so less socialized than the other children. Coaches belittled me and lowered my self-esteem as a motivation example for others. To those who had natural talents or were praise instead of belittled, understanding those of us on the other side of the physical fitness universe is impossible and belittling us is often second nature.

Why do we continue to judge others as lesser than ourselves? Poor people with little opportunity, whether they are in a war zone and wearing head wraps of one type or another, have different skin tone or eyes, or simply play in the dust and dirt, are seen as less intelligent, as ignorant or as unable to help themselves. Why? Because we judge others in relation to ourselves and all too often to make us feel superior.

I know my limitations and my strengths. I teach college and coach children, in acting and communication. I have been a youth minister, choir director, theater and film director, and will always be an actor, performer, artist and friend.

I am a prolific writer, teacher and at times a leader.

I earned awards by turning out product as a journalist quickly and accurately, in factual content and observation. I never won a spelling bee or baseball game. I do not slave over words; they come as easily as walking. But there are those who attack me for my spelling, my limited dress (a function of finances and being raised by depression era parent and grandparents), my weight (hypothyroid and a non-athletic lifestyle for the reasons indicated earlier).

Why not dress right? Why not take the time to spell check (I do, but if I did it to the point of perfection I would be less of a teacher, and far from current in my writings)? How can you be so “overweight” when it is easy to lose weight (again is it easy if you were of the same physiology and background as I am)?

I am not moaning or complaining about life, although it could be seen that way if you choose to see yourself as superior to me. I am pointing on how we judge to make ourselves feel better than others, or we dwell on our own shortcomings to give us an excuse for not going for the brass reign.

Everyone who reads this has strengths, weaknesses, handicaps of some sort and silver spoons in other ways.

Accept others for their strengths.

Praise them.

Use each other in mutually beneficial ways, in the spirit of friendship and shared goals, instead of finding ways to criticize, attack or make yourself feel artificially superior.

There but for the will of God go I.

And one more thing. Feel pride in what you can do without feeling superior. This missive took fifteen minutes to pen, proof and post.

Of course there are mistakes. But the thoughts are out there and there is much more to do in life than blog or post on blogs.

The important thing is the thoughts are out there for you to read and if you choose to, respond.

First posted 11-17-2009

Really listen

Listening to others

MIKE PNIEWSKI “Effective listening inspires great teamwork. Great teamwork breeds great success. Don’t be so single-minded with your ideas that you don’t hear the message of others. Real change only comes when you allow it to happen. Really listen to what others say and allow yourself to be changed for the better.” 
Mike Pniewski, from “When Life Gives You Lemons, Throw ‘Em Back!”

Communication in Decision Making

At its best, discussion deepens understanding and promotes problem solving and decision making. At its worst, it frays nerves, creates animosity, and leaves important issues unresolved. Unfortunately, the most prominent models for discussion in contemporary culture—radio and TV talk shows—often produce the latter effects.

Many hosts demand that their guests answer complex questions with simple “yes” or “no” answers. If the guests respond that way, they are attacked for oversimplifying. If, instead, they try to offer a balanced answer, the host shouts, “You’re not answering the question,” and proceeds to answer it himself. Guests who agree with the host are treated warmly; others are dismissed as ignorant or dishonest. As often as not, when two guests are debating, each takes a turn interrupting while the other shouts, “Let me finish.” Neither shows any desire to learn from the other. Typically, as the show draws to a close, the host thanks the participants for a “vigorous debate” and promises the audience more of the same next time.

Here are some simple guidelines for ensuring that the discussions you engage in—in the classroom, on the job, or at home—are more civil, meaningful, and productive than what you see on TV. By following these guidelines, you will set a good example for the people around you.

Whenever Possible, Prepare in Advance


Not every discussion can be prepared for in advance, but many can. An agenda is usually circulated several days before a business or committee meeting. And in college courses, the assignment schedule provides a reliable indication of what will be discussed in class on a given day. Use this advance information to prepare for discussion. Begin by reflecting on what you already know about the topic. 

Then decide how you can expand your knowledge and devote some time to doing so. (Fifteen or 20 minutes of focused searching on the Internet can produce a significant amount of information on almost any subject.) Finally, try to anticipate the different points of view that might be expressed in the discussion, and consider the relative merits of each. Keep your conclusions very tentative at this point so that you will be open to the facts and interpretations others will present.

Set Reasonable Expectations


Have you ever left a discussion disappointed that others hadn’t abandoned their views and embraced yours? Have you ever felt offended when someone disagreed with you or asked you what evidence you had to support your opinion? If the answer to either question is yes, you probably expect too much of others. People seldom change their minds easily or quickly, particularly in the case of long-held convictions. And when they encounter ideas that differ from their own, they naturally want to know what evidence supports those ideas. Expect to have your ideas questioned, and be cheerful and gracious in responding.

Leave Egotism and Personal Agendas at the Door


To be productive, discussion requires an atmosphere of mutual respect and civility. Egotism produces disrespectful attitudes toward others—notably, “I’m more important than other people,” “My ideas are better than anyone else’s,” and “Rules don’t apply to me.” Personal agendas, such as dislike for another participant or excessive zeal for a point of view, can lead to personal attacks and unwillingness to listen to others’ views.

Contribute But Don’t Dominate


If you are the kind of person who loves to talk and has a lot to say, you probably contribute more to discussions than other participants. On the other hand, if you are more reserved, you may seldom say anything. There is nothing wrong with being either kind of person. However, discussions tend to be most productive when everyone contributes ideas. For this to happen, loquacious people need to exercise a little restraint, and more reserved people need to accept responsibility for sharing their thoughts.

Avoid Distracting Speech Mannerisms


Such mannerisms include starting one sentence and then abruptly switching to another, mumbling or slurring your words, and punctuating every phrase or clause with audible pauses (“um,” “ah,”) or meaningless expressions (“like,” “you know,” “man”). These annoying mannerisms distract people from your message. To overcome them, listen to yourself when you speak. Even better, tape your conversations with friends and family (with their permission), then play the tape back and listen to yourself. And whenever you are engaged in a discussion, aim for clarity, directness, and economy of expression.

Listen Actively


When the participants don’t listen to one another, discussion becomes little more than serial monologue—each person taking a turn at speaking while the rest ignore what is being said. This can happen quite unintentionally because the mind can process ideas faster than the fastest speaker can deliver them. Your mind may get tired of waiting and wander about aimlessly like a dog off its leash. In such cases, instead of listening to what is being said, you may think about the speaker’s clothing or hairstyle or look outside the window and observe what is happening there. Even when you are making a serious effort to listen, it is easy to lose focus. If the speaker’s words trigger an unrelated memory, you may slip away to that earlier time and place. If the speaker says something you disagree with, you may begin framing a reply. The best way to maintain your attention is to be alert for such distractions and to resist them. Strive to enter the speaker’s frame of mind and understand each sentence as it is spoken and to connect it with previous sentences. Whenever you realize your mind is wandering, drag it back to the task.

Judge Ideas Responsibly


Ideas range in quality from profound to ridiculous, helpful to harmful, ennobling to degrading. It is therefore appropriate to pass judgment on them. However, fairness demands that you base your judgment on thoughtful consideration of the overall strengths and weaknesses of the ideas, not on your initial impressions or feelings. Be especially careful with ideas that are unfamiliar or different from your own because those are the ones you will be most inclined to deny a fair hearing.

Resist the Urge to Shout or Interrupt


No doubt you understand that shouting and interrupting are rude and disrespectful behaviors, but do you realize that in many cases they are also a sign of intellectual insecurity? It’s true. If you really believe your ideas are sound, you will have no need to raise your voice or to silence the other person. Even if the other person resorts to such behavior, the best way to demonstrate confidence and character is by refusing to reciprocate. Make it your rule to disagree without being disagreeable.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Art Lynch CV / Resume

Art Lynch, Ph.D.

536 Sixth Street, Boulder City, NV 89005

(702) 454-1067 •  (702) 682-0469 cell


Actor, Writer, Teacher, Broadcaster, Marketing Professional, Public Speaker, Business Consultant. Accomplished communications field professional with combination of academic and field experience. Experience with multi-cultural client and student populations and blended hybrid web-assist instruction, concentrated and full term instruction, high school and college. Field experience includes broadcast and print journalism, media, marketing, advertising and public relations, film industry and theater work; also organizational development, leadership and volunteer supervision experience. Teaching includes communication, critical thinking, film, media, marketing, education, theater, acting and related fields.

Summary of Relevant Qualifications & Skills
  • Initiated, developed and implemented projects, programs and seminars, requiring coordination, liaison tasks, scheduling and supervision of volunteers. As an example, coordinated SAG-NV Conservatory, bringing in trainers from out of state, and created link with University of Nevada Film School, and recruitment and supervision of volunteers.
  • Ongoing development of blogs and websites used for information, training and education for peers, students and public. Apply specialized knowledge of online media as a written and visual communication form to teach, train, and inform.
  • Taught critical thinking seminar for faculty at El Paso Community College, May 2013
  • Chaired, co-chaired and served on local and national committees and task forces.
  • Experienced in using spreadsheets and record keeping systems.


PhD. Education                                                                                                                         January, 2013

Capella University, Minneapolis, MN

Specialization: Professional Studies in Adult Education
     Relevant courses: adult education instruction and philosophy, distance education instruction and administration, curriculum design, critical thinking, evaluation and assessment (60+ credit hours).

Post Masters Certificate in College Teaching                                                                    October, 2008
Capella University, Minneapolis, MN
      On-line and classroom teaching preparation, design and assessment program


M.A. Communications                                                                                                                 June, 2000

University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Thesis: The Performers Alliance: Conflict and Change Within the Screen Actors Guild.
Honors: Phi Kappa Phi, Theta Kappa, Lambda Pi Eta
     Postgraduate courses in a variety of fields (67 credits total) including theater (37 credits), communication, public affairs, public administration, media, and marketing.

Post Graduate Courses in Theater and Public Affairs                                                          2001 to 2003

University of Nevada. Las Vegas
      MFA program track, performance, education, dramaturgy and research

Ongoing faculty development, seminars and conventions                                                            Various

B.A. Speech / Theater / Mass Communications / SDC                                                             June, 1977
University of Illinois at Chicago
    Program /Operations Manager WUIC, Chicago, reporter for Chicago Illini
    Recipient of Theater Honors and Production Awards, academic honors and awards
    Communications Honor Society, Sigma Chi Eta, NAHS, NFL, Key Club, Deans Honors
    Faculty included Dr. Harry Skornia, media and international broadcasting scholar.
    Guest faculty included R. Buckminster Fuller, Studs Terkel and others for SDC program

Academic Teaching Experience
Adjunct Instructor                                                                                                                  1998 to present
Nevada System of Higher Education, Las Vegas, NV
     Adjunct instructor at Nevada State College, teach Communication
     Includes ull time equivalency, 6 to 21 credit hours per semester at College of Southern Nevada .
     Contemporary Broadcasting and other classes at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada (UNLV).
     Courses Taught: Speech, Communication, Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication
     Teaching experience includes regular semester and one month or 6 week long courses using blended
       environment including Blackboard Web CT and Angel instruction to maximize student participation
       and teaching opportunities.
     Volunteer Communication Lab. Positive student and faculty evaluations.
     Developed support and resource materials for online use to foster understanding of communication
      theory, models, public speaking including study reviews, links to primary resources and examples.
      Linked sections for larger study and resource “community.”
    CSN 1998-2012, NSC 2013, Taught Contemporary Radio at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (2004).

Instructor                                                                                                                              20011 to present
University of Phoenix, Las Vegas, NV
    Teach various Humanities & Liberal Arts including Film, Media, Art, Critical Thinking, Com.
    Faculty Development Committee, Faculty Enrichment Committee, Alumni Mentor, Humanities
    Monthly and Quarterly faculty enrichment and training on-line and ground classroom

Part Time Instructor                                                                                                                        2009 to 2011
Everest College, Las Vegas, NV
     Courses Taught: Speech, Communication, Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication
     Teach overflow sections, so only as needed, not every term.

Instructor                                                                                                                                2012 to 2013
Carrington College, Las Vegas, NV
     Courses Taught: Speech, Communication, Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication
     Medical students preferred instructor with medical background.

Instructor                                                                                                                               2008 to 2009
Student to Teacher Enlistment Program, Las Vegas, NV
Undergraduate Program
Clark Country School District/ CSN / Nevada State College, Las Vegas, NV
      STEP-UP At-Risk Student to Teacher Enlistment Project CCSD and CSN//NSC. Taught speech
       communications at several high schools in a supportive program designed to spark student interest in
       teaching career.   STEP UP is a collaborative effort of the college and school systems, which gives an
       opportunity for at risk students to attain a teaching degree with scholarships for tuition and supplies.
       A second goal of the program is to enrich the education experience at Clark County schools with a
       multi-ethnic teaching force that reflects the district’s diverse population .
Other Teaching Experience
Arts Instructor                                                                                                                             2008-current
Boulder City Parks and Recreation, Boulder City, NV   
    Offering acting workshops for children and adults to community members.
    Assisting with ongoing collaboration to develop living history, narrative theater with Boulder City
     schools, Bureau of Land Management and other community agencies.  Activities include research,
     writing, acting, teaching, and development of school curriculum.
Acting and Life Coach                                                                                                               2008-current
Casting Call, Las Vegas, NV
    Coach acting and voice-over, on camera, auditioning, children to adult.

Studio Casting, Las Vegas, NV                                                                                                1994 to 1998
     Director of Education and Training
     Established program from ground up including all acting and modeling courses and showcases.

Acting Instructor                                                                                                                        1994 to 2008
Kim Flowers Talent Development Academy, John Robert Powers Intl. / Style Entertainment,
Las Vegas, NV
    Taught audition, scene, improv, and industry knowledge, competition preparation for beginning to
      Elite students for film and commercial work. Coached working actors and business community.
     Developed curriculum for commercial and acting for camera classes, requiring establishment of
      requirements and goals in stepped programs established for beginning, intermediate and advanced
      students. Crafted and implemented assessment for student advancement and faculty evaluations.

Acting Coach                                                                                                                         1984 to current
    Teach various private and group classes in theater, film, television, commercial, event, spokes-
     modeling, voice over, and character voice. Adapted to each student and group as needed.

Instructor                                                                                                                                     1984 to1987
Las Vegas Business College / Phillips College
Courses taught: Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations, Communications, English.

Related Professional Experience

Announcer, Producer, Host                                                                                                     1998 to 2014
Nevada Public Radio (KNPR/KCNV/network), Las Vegas, NV
    On air / live hourly announcements during programs, responsible for programs and underwriter
     broadcast within scheduled timeframes, news, promotions, troubleshooting of engineering problems.

Advertising Agency / Communications Consultant                                                              1990 to 2002
A Personal Vision / Creative Communications  (owner), Las Vegas, NV                                                 
     Provided advertising, marketing, public relations, creative directing, media planning and account
      supervision consulting to wide variety of clients.
     Clients included Canyon Rent to Own, Hammargren for Lt. Governor (successful), retail and
       professional clients, entertainment industry.
     Produced, directed, supervised and/or wrote commercials or videos, plus print, web and other
       advertising resulting in awards, response and image recognition for clients.
     Member Better Business Bureau (maintained to current) and Chamber of Commerce.

Advertising Manager, Marketing Director                                                                              1984 to1991
Canyon Rent To Own                                                                                                                                    
     Locations in Nevada, Hawaii, Utah, California, Florida, Guam, Massachusetts, and Arizona.
     Developed successful marketing plans to expanded market recognition and share resulting in “Top of
      Mind” status in all markets. Produced award-winning advertising with direct response impact.

Broadcaster, Journalist, Talk Host, Consultant                                                                   1977 to 2014
     Award winning reporter and correspondent in diverse markets.
     Includes Group W Westinghouse Chicago (WIND), Intermountain Radio Network/ABC, UPI, AP,
      Nevada Public Radio, various stations (CA, WY, IL, NV), Chicago College Radio Network.

Professional Associations
National Communication Association, The American Communication Association, National Forensic League, Sigma Delta Chi /Society of Professional Journalists, Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society, Greater Las Vegas Advertising Federation, Chamber of Commerce, Professional Audio Visual Communications Association (President 1986-93; VP 1985-86)

Service Work

Board of Directors (working board) Dam Short Film Festival, 2008-2014
Announcer and Host of Nevada Recreation and Park Services On-Site Institute, 2009
Founder and President of Us Company, Boomtown Players, Vintage Theater, others (various years)
National Board of Directors, Screen Actors Guild 1996-current, currently co-chair on New Technologies Committee and New Media Task Force, active in Communications, Young Performers, Right-to-work, Organizing, Web, and Background Performers (see Screen Actors Guild section) 
President, Nevada Branch of the Screen Actors Guild 1995-96; VP 1994-95, Council 1990-95
Founder / Director / Chair, Screen Actors Guild Nevada Conservatory 1994-2004
Editor, Nevada Actor 1990-2001        Editor, CDW News 1985-87   Editor, AdAGlance, 1991-94
Reader, Radio Reading Service for the Print Impaired, KNPR, 1993 to 2006
Board Member, Greater Las Vegas Advertising Federation 1986-93, Publicist and/or Newsletter Editor 1986-1995
Chair of the National Tourism Awareness Week Logo Contest (NV/Chamber) 1992-93

Professional Awards
APRO Awards (national) for Canyon Rental, 1995, 1996, 1997
Telly Awards (International and National) for Canyon Rental, 1995
Addy Awards of Excellence for Young People Inc. for TV under $2,000, 1993, YPI. for TV Campaign,
1993, Hammargren for Lt. Governor, Campaign 1994, 1995 Hammargren for Lt. Governor, TV under $2,000, 1994, 1995
IABC Award of Excellence for Ad A Glance Newsletter, GLVAF / Las Vegas Ad Club, 1990, 1992         
Journalism and Broadcasting Awards (various)  

Screen Actors Guild (1994-2012) /

SAG-AFTRA (2012-current)

Elected Positions:
1995-current   National Board Director Screen Actors Guild, now SAG-AFTRA (member elected)
2009-2012       Regional Branch Division Executive Committee Member (by Division Board)
2001-2012       Co-Chair, National New Technologies Committee (by National Bd, Ntl. President)
2009-2015       Co-Chair, National Website Subcommittee (by Ntl. President, Com Chair)
2004-2008          Co-Chair, National Communications Committee (by National Bd. & Ntl. President)
2004-2009          Co-Chair, National Background Committee, Regional Branch Subcommittee
2001-2003       Chair, Standing Trial Board Committee, Nevada Branch (by Nevada SAG council)
1999-various   Chair Election Nominating Committee for Nevada (by Nevada SAG council)
1998-2011       National Communications Editorial Supervisory Committee (by RBC)
1997-2001       National Nominating Committee (by Regional Branch Conference)
1997-2001       8th National Vice President Nominating Committee (by RBC)
1995-1996       Nevada Branch President (by membership in Nevada)
1994-1995       Nevada Branch Vice President (by membership in Nevada)
1990-1995       Nevada Branch Council Member (by membership in Nevada)

SAG National Presidential Appointed Positions:
2011-2014       SAG Military Personnel and Families Support Task Force
2007-2009       New Media Task Force, co-chair (by Ntl. President, committee sunset 2009)
2006-current   Honors, Tributes and Awards Committee
2005-current   National Equal Ethnic Opportunity Task Force
2004-2006       National Spanish Language Media Task Force
2002-current   National Right-to-Work Presidential Task Force
            1999-current   Web Oversight and Steering Committee
            1999-current   Editorial Sub-Committee
1998-current   New Technologies Committee, (co-chair 2005-current)
            1998-current   Communications Steering Committee
            1998-2008       Merchandising and Marketing Sub-Committee
1995-current   Communications Committee (co-chair 2001-2004)
1999-2000       National Contract Adjustment Committee
1995-2002       National Conservatory Committee (co-chair 1998-2000)
1995-2002       Young Performers Committee
1995-1996       National Executive Search Task Force
1997-2000          Guild Government Review Committee
2002-2013       Various Indy Outreach, Low Budget, Documentary, Merchandise, New Member Orientation, Steering, Health Care Task Force, Dancers, Global Rule One, New Technology, various as member or alternate (as needed by Guild)

SAG Nevada Branch / Local Appointments:
2000-2010       Chair, Legislative Committee and Political Affairs
Various            Chair of Standing Trial Board and Investigative Committees
1998-current   Communications Committee Chair
1996-2003          Wage and Working Conditions (Vice-Chair)
1992-current   Nevada Actor Newsletter Editor
Various            Nominating Committee Co-chair (except years up my seat up)
1993-2001       Chair and Director of SAG Nevada Conservatory Program
1994-1995          Executive Search Committee Chair

Current Professional / Academic References

KNPR/Nevada Public Radio, 1289 South Torrey Pines Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89146
David Becker, Program Director,,  702-258-9895

Casting Call Entertainment, Sharry Flaherty,,, 702-369-0400

Boulder City Parks and Recreation / 31ers, Patty Sullivan, (702) 400-3254 / 294-0335

Kim Flowers International / JRP, Kim Flowers (702) 296-1042 / 872-2227

Nevada State College, Gen Sharp,, (702) 992-2645

Hank Greenspun School of Communications / Journalism and Public Relations, 
College of Fine and Performing Arts / Graduate College
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
4505 Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89154                                       
Richard J. Jensen, Prof. Emeritus, (505) 797-4530.
Dr. David Henry, Director, Greenspun School, (702) 898-3030
Dr. Jeffrey Koep, Dean, Fine and Performing Arts, (702) 895-4210

Community College of Southern Nevada,
3200 E. Cheyenne, North Las Vegas, NV 89030
Angela Holland, Lead Faculty, (702) 651-5983
James McCoy, Associate Vice President, Academic Success,, (702) 651-7357
Dr. Tim James, Communication Department past Chair,, (702) 651-7571

Personal References

Lt. Col. Robert F Cain III (ret.) US Army Reserve, Pentagon. (312) 613-9350 home
Don Brakeman, actor,,  (702) 493-7729 home
Sandy Lukasik, (630) 357-3767 home
Hrair Messerlian, former SAG NV Executive, (559) 433-6870 home
Tony Bonnici,  Long Time VP / GM, Lotus Broadcasting (ret.), (702) 876-1460 / 433-5881
Ray Spinka, teacher / actor / retired LA County Probation Officer,,  (909) 796-7436
Jim Austin, Broadcaster  (GM/OM/PD/SM- ret.),  (704) 947-3345 / 578-4465/ 578-5464

Lollo Sievert, actor / SAG / photographer / web designer / SAG Nevada,


Laura Lynch (wife), MSW Boulder City Hospital:, 702-858-1287 / 294-5757 / 454-1067

''Part of teaching is helping students learn how to tolerate ambiguity, consider possibilities, and ask questions that are unanswerable.''    - Sara Lawrence Lightfoot