Category Archives: PHC Faculty and Staff

Your Professional Network

By Joe Thompson

Regardless of your personal goals and aspirations, it is always a good idea to cultivate and maintain your professional network. This is a network of individuals you can call on when you need a letter of recommendation, a professional reference, or are otherwise looking to grow professionally. This network is unique to you, your experiences and professional interactions. You’ll know you have a strong network and whether you are associated with the right people if they look for professional benefit from you as well.

wordcloud-professional-networkingA professional network is about more than how many LinkedIn connections you’ve attained. A real professional network will include those you’ve had meaningful professional or academic interactions with, not just those you’ve met at a conference or latched onto via a mutual connection or algorithm recommendations. An inner circle of 10-15 people will be worth more to you in long run than 1,000 connections who periodically “like” a press release or article you share!

So where might a Michigan Tech student look when developing a real professional network? If you are like most Michigan Tech students, you are probably involved in a club, student organization, Enterprise Team, Sorority or Fraternity, etc. Maybe you volunteer with a local community non-profit or are an active member of a religious institution. Have you had a leadership role or have you participated on any committees, sub teams, project teams? There is probably someone you worked with who could speak to specifics about how you benefited the team/organization/project by being involved. Those specifics are what makes a real network connection!

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If you’ve had a positive Co-op or internship experience, your manager and those you worked with are real professional connections. Even if you don’t want to work for that company (or in that particular industry) in the future, maintaining a professional relationship with those you’ve had work experience with is important. If you establish yourself on a different career path, being able to show your professional adaptability by your success in a potentially unrelated sector can highlight universal leadership or technical ability.

It is never too early to start developing your real professional network. The experiences you have on campus and off campus during your time at Michigan Tech are valuable and will not only aid you now, but also as you move forward on whatever career path you choose!


Effectively Managing Time

By Paige Hackney

Being a successful and productive student is a combination of many factors and decisions all working in concert to culminate in a fulfilling academic career. To be a well-rounded and successful student requires selecting a major that fulfills your interests and future career plans, balancing academic requirements and pressures, finding time for relaxation and fun, engaging in activities that bring you joy, and making and enjoying friends. When I was a student in the late 70’s, a student’s main “job” was to go to class, study, do homework, perhaps work a few hours a week, and enjoy new friends. In short – be a student. It strikes me that much more is expected of today’s student than the student of my day. Most of today’s students appear to balance studies with more time-consuming and often multiple jobs, involvement in several organizations, and engaging in community service activities, all while setting aside time to spend with friends. This increased demand on the finite resource of time can lead to stress which in turn can lead to the ineffective use of that time.

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How can students develop effective time management skills that minimize stress and provide optimal results in the classroom and/or on the job coupled with a satisfying social life and a positive sense of self? While each student will bring a unique ability to manage time, based in part on personality (Type A versus Type B), there are strategies that any student can implement to improve their use of this all important finite resource that we each have in the course of a day. I would like to explore some simple strategies for effective time management that may help you make more efficient and productive use of your time that should decrease stress and increase performance in your studies and overall satisfaction with life.

The first and most intuitive step is to prioritize tasks. When considering multiple tasks, consider deadlines and magnitude of tasks that need to be accomplished. And by all means, do not procrastinate. Use and regularly check a calendaring system to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. I like to use the analogy of having multiple Saturday errands to run in a single trip. If I find that I need to go to the bank, pharmacy, grocery store, and drop off garbage, I always think about how best to manage my route and stops. Multiple factors will figure into my chosen route and sequence of chores based on immediate needs (Do I need cash from the bank to complete any of the other tasks on my list or am I getting cash for an upcoming trip in a few days), the season (do I want to avoid smelly garbage and melted ice cream in my car in summer) and ease of negotiating my chosen travel route through busy intersections (stop light placement, on what side of the street are my destinations located). In summer my route is often different than in winter based on logistics, priorities and conditions.

The second, and perhaps the most difficult strategy is: Don’t procrastinate. Few people actually perform better under pressure in a short period compared to a longer span of time. It is easy to fall into this trap especially when having to choose between taking on the task at hand rather than doing something more attractive and fun. Procrastination only leads to stress and leaves little, if any, time to learn from unanticipated results and make corrections to produce a better end product or start over.

sporkMy third suggestion is to avoid multitasking and focus on one assignment at a time and do it well. Studies show it usually takes longer to complete multiple tasks simultaneously than it does to complete several tasks singularly. This phenomenon is due to the additional time required to refocus when transitioning back and forth between tasks.

Don’t forget to take care of your basic needs when you have many things to accomplish. Getting adequate sleep does take time; however, sleep is a source of rejuvenation for the mind as well as the body. Sleep provides the resources to think more clearly, organize thoughts more efficiently and learn and retain information more easily. If you do find yourself stressing over a daunting to-do list, take time to relieve the added pressure by engaging in some form of exercise or meditation. Exercise is not only good for the heart and overall personal wellbeing and health, but also improves brain function to spark memory and general brain function. Engaging in a regular exercise regimen has scientifically-proven long-term benefits including longevity, improved memory and enhanced thinking skills.

On those busiest of days, don’t forget to take time to enjoy life with friends. Social engagement is as basic a human need as eating and sleeping and should be regularly worked into your schedule to foment success. Taking a break to enjoy dinner with friends may be all that is necessary on a hectic day to help you relax, redirect energies and ultimately refocus.

While these strategies seem simple and intuitive, they will require a conscious effort to implement for most people. However, the added benefit you will find in your personal and academic life will be significant.

 


Design Thinking and Makerspaces

By Mary Raber

If you’ve been hanging out around the Pavlis Honors College you’ve probably heard talk about Design Thinking and Makerspaces. And maybe you’re wondering, what are these things and why are they important?

As stated by Tom & David Kelley, co-founders of the product innovation company IDEO and authors of Creative Confidence, “Most people are born creative. As children, we revel in imaginary play, ask outlandish questions, draw blobs and call them dinosaurs. But over time, because of socialization and formal education, a lot of us start to stifle those impulses. We learn to be warier of judgment, more cautious, more analytical. The world seems to divide into “creatives” and “non-creatives,” and too many people consciously or unconsciously resign themselves to the latter category.”

Last fall, the Pavlis Honors College announced the creation of a new Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE), and as part of our mission we want to help Michigan Tech students, faculty and staff reclaim their “creative confidence.” Design thinking and makerspaces are two great tools that can help.

“Design Thinking is defined as a methodology and a mindset that draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be—and to create desired outcomes that match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity,” explains IDEO CEO, Tim Brown.

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It is an iterative process that starts with Empathy…understanding the needs and challenges of the people who might use the innovative ideas you are developing. By getting out and talking to people, you can learn a lot about their needs and challenges which can help ensure that you are focusing on the right problem. Then through ideation processes such as brainstorming, new ideas are generated. Simple prototypes of these ideas can be created with fast and inexpensive methods such as sketching, role playing, or building models using materials like post-it notes and pipe cleaners. These simple prototypes can then be used to gain valuable feedback by testing a physical model of your idea with prospective users. This allows you to determine whether you’re on the right track before you’ve invested too much time or money, or if you need to go back to a previous step to explore your idea further.

We now have a team of faculty and students (our University Innovation Fellows) who are trained in the design thinking process and are available to help others develop design-thinking skills through facilitated workshops and class sessions. The team has already been working hard to help infuse this process across campus and into the community.

You’ve probably also heard about our new makerspace, The Alley. Makerspaces are popping up all over the world and there are an estimated 400 makerspaces in the US alone. They are intended to be creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, collaborative, invent, tinker and learn using a variety of tools and materials. By all accounts, they are not just spaces, they are communities of people from all disciplines and backgrounds who enjoy making things. They encompass making in all forms, whether building with power tools, creating 3D printed prototypes, experimenting with cooking, or creating through more traditional art forms like sewing and painting.

Over the past year, a diverse team of students, faculty and staff have worked to convert the old bowling alley in the basement of the MUB to a really cool collaborative work space where members of the Michigan Tech community can bring their ideas to life.

In September, representatives of Milwaukee Tool came to campus to help facilitate a workbench building event. Milwaukee Tool is a strong supporter of The Alley and helped get the makerspace off the ground with a generous donation of tools. The Alley officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on October 25th, 2016.

The Alley is a student-led makerspace, with a team of Maker Coaches (student, faculty and staff volunteers) who staff the space, maintain the tools & equipment, train new users, and help to make it a safe place to work. It is open to the Michigan Tech community on Monday-Thursday from 3:00-9:00pm. For more info on the space, or how to get involved as a volunteer Maker Coach, check out The Alley’s website or Facebook page.

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Find Your Community, Follow Your Passion

By Kari B. Henquinet

When I was in college, I knew I wanted to make an impact somehow to address poverty in the world. I never imagined I would one day be a university faculty member or have a Ph.D. in anthropology. Now looking back, the path I took makes sense. But sometimes we can’t yet see the big picture, and step-by-step we try to follow our hearts mixed with a hardy helping of advice and support from those who have gone before us.

IMG_1929About 21 years ago, you could find me in a small town just outside of Arua, Uganda (East Africa) living in a mud hut with no electricity and learning to carry water on my head from the community bore hole. On one of my first trips to collect water there, I tried to engage in conversation with some of the young women I walked with. “Do you like school?” I asked. No response. “Are you in school?” I asked. No answer. Awkward moment. I smiled and kept walking, wondering what just happened. Later as I learned more, I realized that they had understood and responded to my questions, but I had failed to recognize the “yes,” which was communicated with raised eyebrows in this culture.

For six months of my senior year, I lived in this community with a Ugandan family, interned at a primary health care program, and conducted anthropological research for my senior project on health beliefs and practices in rural households in the area. This was a huge stretch for a girl who had grown up in a comfortable, largely white middle class suburb of Chicago. As you might imagine, my stint in Uganda was a life changing experience. I learned in ways that would have never been possible in a classroom environment or in my home society. I had been taking classes for three years at Wheaton College focused on international development, poverty, cultures, and health. Outside of the classroom in Uganda, though, I learned with my whole person, not just my head. Through many moments of frustration, I eventually accepted that I was going to be like an infant for a while, who did not know how to do the most basic things in life like communicate! I messed up a lot. I got sick sometimes. But I also laughed a lot (many times at myself!). I gained a lot of humility and confidence at the same time. I made some incredible friends in Uganda and was impacted by communal values of hospitality, respect, and cooperation that I carry with me to this day. I learned a lot about myself and the world through this experience.IMG_1930

At my undergraduate institution, I was part of a learning community called the Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR) Program that was in addition to my major. This program required me to write regular reflections on what I was learning and to conduct research while abroad. It was this combination of building a community of scholars, diving into total cultural immersion, and doing reflection and research around my major fields of study (anthropology and biology) that made this experience so impactful and my learning go deeper than it ever had before. I carried the model of immersive experience and reflection with me as I went on to work as an international development professional in Niger (West Africa) and later conducted research in Niger through cultural immersion for my Ph.D.

I know from my own life that the model of building a community of scholars, immersive experience, reflection, and carrying out research or projects in one’s major field are powerful. But I am not alone. The Association of American Colleges and Universities researchers have identified a set of now widely recognized high impact educational practices that have been demonstrated to increase student retention and engagement as well as correlate with deep learning. Among them are: diversity and global learning, service learning, community-based learning, internships, capstone projects, undergraduate research, and learning communities. These practices are central to the Pavlis Honors College curricula. You can find your community here and stretch yourself in new directions. Our honors communities can be that support you seek to follow your heart and develop your passions into a fulfilling and impactful career path.

 

 


Traces of Reading, or A Tale of Two Bookshelves

By Laura Fiss

Anne Fadiman says that there are two kinds of book-lovers: “courtly” and “carnal.” They differ in their attitudes toward the marks and side-effects of reading: creases, dog-eared pages, bent or broken spines, ripped pages, food and water stains. Courtly lovers treat the book with respect and veneration, honoring the book as object. Carnal lovers consume the book enthusiastically, viewing any degradation of the object as a natural result of a delightful encounter. I fall somewhere in the middle, as I suspect most of us do. I treat my books with care – particularly the nineteenth- and twentieth-century volumes in my possession – but I also see the creased spines of some of my more well-loved paperbacks as a badge of honor. The only time I wrote in a library book (gasp!), it was a copy of H. J. Jackson’s Marginalia, and I carefully initialed and dated my notation.

IMG_20161020_123917107The child of bibliophiles, I feel a strong attraction to the book as object. My childhood bedroom, a wood-paneled former study, had one wall of bookshelves and another of windows. I feel a strong sense of comfort when I’m ensconced in a place with nearly-ceiling-high, full bookshelves. Yet as I sit in my new PHC office (with a beautiful view of the fall foliage out the window — come visit us if you haven’t already!), the bookshelf next to me doesn’t have the same effect as the bookshelves of similar height in my office in Walker (come visit there, too!). When I first drafted this post, I thought these books belonged to my office-mate, but I’ve since discovered that they consist the PHC library, which actually changes the way I think about them. At first, I thought that while titles such as The Innovation Killer and multiple copies of Business Model Generation are intriguing and the colorful, mainly paperback spines are aesthetically pleasing, nevertheless these books are, to me, as yet, only objects. Initially, I saw in them the arrangement of another single personality, one who would place Out of Poverty by Paul Polak next to The Seven Layers of Integrity by George P. Jones and June Ferrill for alphabet-defying reasons that make perfect sense to a mind not my own. Now that I know these books are for everyone, I feel less closed-off from them, knowing I could pick one up at any time and begin reading (I suppose I’m too courtly to borrow someone else’s books without their permission).

LauraBookShelves
Each one of these books has a story. I’ve moved several times in the last few years, and I always enjoy the chance to hold each book individually.

Still, these books don’t have the same effect as the ones in my Walker office, particularly my nineteenth-century bookcase (alphabetized by author, then with books ordered by date of publication). There’s my shelf of Jerome K. Jerome, where a few sad print-on-demand titles rub alongside first editions (British and American) purchased for a song online: few people want Second Thoughts of an Idle Fellow as much as I. Above and below lie ranks of black Penguins and white Oxford World’s Classics, slim volumes and doorstoppers with variously creased spines. Particular books remind me not only of the plot but of a moment in my personal and academic life. Little Dorrit changed my mind about Dickens. I finished The Mill on the Floss on a bus in France, tears running down my cheeks. He Knew He Was Right fired up my blood throughout its agonizing, painful, infuriating 900 pages, and I finished it while walking to my graduate seminar. While I’m no stranger to multitasking while reading – in high school I played the flute while reading Mercedes Lackey and knitting got me few several Dickens biographies in the final year of my dissertation – walking while reading has always been a matter of necessity rather than pleasure.

I relish the different traditions of reading I participate in, the different rituals of reading I’ve learned. My parents taught me to “break in” a book, particularly a large textbook, by placing it spine-down on a firm surface and gently creasing pages down from both ends. I’ve done that with several Complete Works of Shakespeare over the years. As a child and young adult, I loved filling up a canvas bag at the public library, and now I do the same thing at Portage Lake District Library with my toddler (who’s very into the Llama Llama books at the moment). As a Jew I engage in rituals of reading around prayer books and scrolls, relishing the moment when a manuscript scroll is lifted above our heads (by a web developer the other week) as we sing triumphantly and hope it stays aloft.

PHCBookShelves
These, too, have their stories; I just don’t know them – yet!

I’ve dedicated my life not only to the practice of reading but to the study of reading practices because the act of reading fascinates me in its potency and its fragility. We invest books and other text-carriers (next time, maybe we’ll talk about our relationships to phones) with all these properties, but at the end of the day, they’re just objects: paper, wood, rag, cloth. In the words of one of my favorite jokes (about a pool table), if it falls from a tree, it’ll kill you.

Why do we do these things? Why do we have rituals around reading, and why do some of us feel so strongly about books and the way they are treated that we might, like the chambermaid in Fadiman’s essay, tell each other, “You must never do that to a book”? Reading is many things: frustrating and fun, arduous and ardent. It can stretch time or make it fly by, make us incredibly conscious of our surroundings or transport us, in Emily Dickinson’s words, “Lands away.” The closed book is itself a metaphor for things we don’t — yet? — know. The books in my office might be closed to me at the moment, but the very fact that they’re books makes me feel at home.


Silicon Valley to Michigan

GLRCBy Office of Advancement

There will be an open roundtable at noon Wednesday (Oct.26) in GLRC 202. The topic of the roundtable is “Silicon Valley to Michigan—Does the Model Translate?”

This will be an open discussion on business, technology, government and the links between Michigan and California. Automotive, start-ups, app-development – who is taking cues from whom? This roundtable is part of the 14 Floors series.

14 Floors is a series of events and activities designed to build momentum and enable culture change on Michigan Tech’s campus. Core are initiatives focused on fostering entrepreneurism and high-tech innovation—both within the context of a global culture and economy. These activities are cross-disciplinary on and off campus, led by staff and faculty, focused on students and largely enabled by Michigan Tech alumni.


Ownership of student intellectual property – clarifying policies and dispelling myths

By Jim Baker

This is my first blog as a member of the Pavlis Honors College team. I work half time in the Honors College as co-director of the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (ICE) alongside Mary Raber. ICE was established in the fall of 2015 to serve as a cross-campus resource to connect entrepreneurially-minded students, faculty and staff to resources and expertise that will help them advance their businesses and ideas into the market. Mary and I have both been involved in startup companies and established manufacturing companies and are building ICE within the Honors College to complement existing campus and community resources. In addition to my new role focused on enabling student innovation and entrepreneurship, the other half of my job involves creating companies and business opportunities around University technologies. I have a technical background with a PhD in engineering and am licensed to practice patent law in the United States.

Among the host of topics rattling around in my head on innovation, entrepreneurship, and various random issues, the ownership of intellectual property for students at Michigan Tech is one that comes up a lot and seems to remain a source of confusion and even mystery. In this post, I will clarify the University’s policies on intellectual property ownership for students.

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The University policy on Patents can be viewed online and provides for two sides of this issue. 1. The University has rights to “any software or invention conceived or reduced to practice by faculty, staff, and students in the course of University employment or research, or through the use of University facilities and equipment”, and 2. The University does not have rights to “inventions developed without the use of its funds, facilities, or equipment.”

University employment is quite simple – did you get a paycheck to do it? University research is also quite simple – is there a contract or other agreement in place that covers the project? The phrase “use of facilities and equipment” is sometimes a cause for concern and is perceived by some to allow the University to claim ownership to anything that a student does while they are at Michigan Tech. That is not the case, and this issue has been formally clarified in a memo issued by Dave Reed, Michigan Tech’s Vice President for Research.

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The memo lays out two very important qualifiers to the facilities and equipment issue. It requires that the facility/equipment be specialized and that the use be substantive. Any facility that is open to the entire student body is outside of the definition of specialized. A dorm room, the library, an open computer lab, and the Innovation Alley Makerspace are examples of things outside of the definition of specialized facilities and equipment because all students have access to them. The supercomputer cluster, electron optics equipment, and any specialized lab facilities would be specialized, however their use alone may not necessarily result in University ownership – the use must also be substantive to the creation of the invention in question.   For example, if you design something on your own computer and then make arrangements to simply have it made in a ‘specialized facility’ then that use is not substantive.

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All policies regarding facilities use still apply so you can’t open a retail store in your dorm room or us a machine shop to manufacture production parts but if you think of the next best invention in your dorm room and email a description to your friend from a University email account it’s all yours to do with as you please. I am hopeful that this post clarifies the policies and practices but if you have any remaining concerns I encourage you to reach out with your specific questions and circumstances. We can answer any questions you have, and through ICE, we can provide guidance on your path forward to customers as well as recommendations to other recourses that will be essential on your way there.

Jim Baker can usually be found at the Pavlis Honors College offices on Tuesdays or Thursdays. If you would like to set up an appointment with him to talk IP, please email Amy Karagiannakis (akaragia@mtu.edu).


Learning How to De-Stress

By Amy Karagiannakis

We all encounter stress in our daily lives, but some of us are able to cope with it better than others. Dave is on the football team, USG representative, serves as project manager for his Enterprise team, works part-time as an intern, stays active in his fraternity, serves on the MUB Board, is a member of the Pony Brigade, maintains a 3.97 GPA, and is probably one of the most laid back, got-it-together people you’d ever meet. Ok, ok, Dave is not a real person, but for the record, the Pony Brigade is a real Michigan Tech Student Organization. The point is that all of us know someone like Dave or have encountered someone like him in our past. How do they not have daily nervous breakdowns?

 Picture from: http://www.theplaidzebra.com/it-turns-out-that-selflessness-is-the-easiest-way-to-save-you-from-stress-and-extend-your-life-2/

Picture from: http://www.theplaidzebra.com/it-turns-out-that-selflessness-is-the-easiest-way-to-save-you-from-stress-and-extend-your-life-2/

Understanding how our body deals with stress is a good first step to managing it, so let’s review 8th grade science. Our nervous system is made up of the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system. We will focus on the former. The sympathetic nervous system regulates what Walter Bradford Cannon called our fight-or-flight response. When this process is stimulated, your blood pressure rises, your heart begins to race, muscles tense up, and your breathing intensifies. If your typical day-in-the-life is consistently stressful, you may be conditioning your sympathetic nervous system to stimulate the fight-or-flight response for every minor circumstance. Experiencing this reaction multiple times a day can really wreak havoc on your mind and body. Finding ways to bring your heart rate down and relax your mind is important to managing stress and the triggers that cause it.

Picture from: http://users2.unimi.it/fens_stress/index.html
Picture from: http://users2.unimi.it/fens_stress/index.html

I find the most effective way to deal with stress is meditation. Meditation can be practiced by anyone. There is no wrong way to meditate, but here are some guidelines that can help you benefit from it. Finding a place for meditation during the day can sometimes be a difficult task. However, these are when our stress levels are highest. If you can’t be at home and you are looking for a place to meditate, consider the following options around campus: library study room, an empty classroom, Counseling Services Relaxation Room, empty common areas in the residence halls, or even outside in the warm sun on a nice day. Your meditation spot doesn’t necessarily need to be quiet. Some people prefer background noise or music to complete silence. Once you have your spot, get comfortable. Despite popular belief, you do not have to sit in full lotus position to meditate. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Men-and-meditation
Jagged rocks, on the edge of a cliff, in full lotus? Not my idea of comfortable, but to each their own…

Close your eyes and slow your breathing. Focusing on your breathing will help eliminate the negative thoughts and feelings that triggered your stress. If you are still having trouble freeing your mind from negativity, try focusing on an object or image that relaxes you. Others may find that the repetition of a single word said softly and slowly helps to relax them. Whatever you choose, the point is to find something that doesn’t require a lot of thought, but enough that your mind is able to focus on that instead of the negative thoughts and stressors. As you continue to breathe slowly and deeply, your heart rate will begin to slow, your muscles will relax, your mind will clear. Meditate for as long as it takes to reach this point of tranquility.

Statistics show that stress among college students is on the rise. The demand to be involved in multiple extracurriculars, getting internships and/or co-ops, keeping that GPA up, applying for graduate school, exams, getting a job, the availability of immediate communication via email, text, and social media all contribute to the stresses of today’s generation of college students.  Recurrent, long-term stress and anxiety can lead to a long list of physical and emotional ailments.

Photo courtesy of Flickr contributor Lee Winder
Photo courtesy of Flickr contributor Lee Winder

If you feel stressed and need help, remember that you are not alone. Michigan Tech offers one-on-one and group counseling services that are free to all Michigan Tech students. If you find meditation or other relaxation techniques to be unhelpful and you are experiencing physical and/or emotional symptoms of stress, please seek help from a counselor or doctor.


Filling the Pool…

By Lorelle Meadows, Dean Pavlis Honors College

For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to find time to read a book that was recommended to me by a PHC student. It’s called Crucial Conversations. It’s about developing the skills for engaging in the day-to-day conversations that affect your life. But not just any conversation – crucial ones: the kind when opinions vary, the stakes are high and emotions run strong. Yikes!! Sounds like something we like to avoid!

Crucial Conversations

One of the first things the authors mention is the importance of the free flow of relevant information – the open and honest sharing of perspectives and ideas – because only then will the best decisions be made and only then will everybody buy in to and respect the decisions. The authors call this filling the pool of shared meaning. I like this analogy and the image that it takes all of us to fill this pool. It also fills much quicker if we are all pouring in our thoughts and ideas.

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When people have a chance to share their ideas – no matter how controversial they might appear at first glance, no matter how challenging to others beliefs – people feel valued and engage in making meaning together – in understanding. Even though not everybody is guaranteed to be completely happy with whatever decision is made, the deeper the pool, the better the choice and the stronger the belief in the decision and the understanding of why the decision was made.

What I hope to always remember as I continue to meet and work with others, is that in that instant when I feel challenged or faced with controversy, and my heart begins to race and I start to think about running or hiding, that I am engaging in the beginning of filling that glorious pool of shared meaning. And, soon, that pool will be overflowing with unique perspectives, amazing ideas and all I have to do is dive in!!