Sunday, March 9, 2008

Try something new (the analog version)

Last month I challenged SBB readers to improve their communication skills by trying something new. Since everything I listed involved technology, however, I want to issue a follow-up challenge from the analog world. While it's crucial to keep pace with technology, it's just as important to learn how to use some tried-and-true communication tools and skills, like:

  • A library card. Still free, and still relevant. (If you live in Allen County, apply for one here.)
  • The Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature. Still the best way to find every magazine article in print in a given year, and only available at your local library.
  • Your reference librarian. Reference librarians are the original search engines, and they're better company than Google or Yahoo. When you need to dig deep on a research project, they're the people to see.
  • Public speaking. One of the best ways to raise your profile at work or in the community. But make sure you can do it well before you volunteer. How do you learn?...
  • Try Toastmasters or another skill-building group. There are plenty to choose from in northeast Indiana.
  • Write a letter to the editor. Petrified of public speaking? Let your pen do the talking instead. Click to learn more about where and what to send to the Journal Gazette or News-Sentinel
  • Your writing's not ready for prime time? Well, take a writing class at Ivy Tech Community College or IPFW.
  • Learn a foreign language. Given population trends, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, or Indian are probably good choices. French no longer makes a lot of sense from a practical standpoint, but learning just about any language is worthwhile. (Except Klingon. Learning Klignon is just nerdy.)
  • You'd rather speak with pictures instead of words? Take a photography class. See pg. 32 of the spring Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation catalog from a class that's only $67.
  • Teach a class. Already good at most of this stuff? Consider teaching others. You'll hone your public speaking skills, too, and you'll inevitably learn something new about your topic.
  • Read. A book. A real book. Something with actual pages.
  • Travel.
  • Turn off the computer and talk to someone. Yes, I mean now.

1 comment:

ScLoHo (Scott Howard) said...

Let's see, I've used my library card, and will take the book BLINK on vacation this week to finish it up.

And I get points for traveling and talking to my wife, although this will be the longest time we have spent on a trip together (a full 7 days).

We will have our laptops with us as she has just launched her business website and we're still working out some of the bugs, but we're really looking forward to the non-electronic part of our vacation too.

Thanks for the excellent list of suggestions!