CCIL’s message was spread at the beautiful Jagiellonian University in Krakow Poland. A panel presentation by John Chetro-Szivos, Tom Massey, Mary Piecewicz, and Ron Reidy detailed the work of CCIL and future projects. There was a lively discussion about cooperation with Polish scholars including the Journal of Intercultural Management being available on the CCIL website and the production of podcasts in Polish.

Photo Gallery:

The city, the conference and the statue of Pope John Paul

CCIL hosted their first ever free seminars on Thursday, October 14th and Wednesday, October 20. In just a few short months, our team was remarkably successful in pulling together business professionals and academics from a variety of backgrounds for two extremely informative and interactive events.

A big thank you must go out the panelists; Azure Collier, Manager of Integrated Media and Alumni Relations at WPI, Alicja Januszewicz, Global Training Manager for  Boston Scientific Labs,  and Jose Ramirez, Sr. Director of Diversity at UMASS Memorial Health Care. These folks knew their stuff!

The topic for discussion was Generational Communication Preferences – Tools, Technology and Time.  The introductory remarks provided by skilled CCIL Leader, Mary Piecewicz, grounded the audience with the generational differences documented by the literature.  A notable takeaway from this introduction was that communication preferences are not linear.  For example, in regards to hierarchy and authority, Traditionalists and Millennials are more responsive to authority followed by Boomers and then Gen-X’s, who would prefer to make their own rules.  That being said, the one area that clearly does follow a linear progression is around communication preference.  Traditionalists are the most comfortable with face to face communication, followed closely by Boomers with Gen-X’s and Millennials being increasingly comfortable with communication in virtual environments.

Following the introduction, the panelists then enlightened the audience with their immense knowledge of the subject through their response to skillful questions posed by founder of CCIL and Fitchburg Communication Professor, John Chetro-Szivos.  Key takeaways from this discussion included the need to focus on balance when selecting communication tools, the importance of the right content, and most importantly, selecting the right tool or vehicle for your intended audience.

The panel members came with varied backgrounds and organizational experiences surrounding the use of technology in their communication.  However, they all were very clear in their message that no one method (Print, Email, Social Media, or Face time) is the solution to ensuring effective communication.  Especially when communicating across generations.  It was also clear that the proliferation of communication tools within the last decade is clearly having an impact on even the most conservative and highly regulated industries, especially in the realm of employee training and development.

Caution was suggested however, in focusing too heavily on the tools of communication. Jose Ramirez made note that it is most important to first insist on disciplined content and messaging and then communicating through whatever communication channels are preferred by a particular audience.  He also suggested that due to the ease and speed of today’s communication tools that communication may be becoming too causal.  The freedom that has come from the ability to self publish, which Azure Collier noted to be one of the most influential communication developments, must be treated with care.

The concluding period for audience questions stimulated discussion that touched on many issues. The benefits and drawbacks of communication technology were discussed at some length through a variety of lenses.

At the end of two great nights, this communication student went home with an ever growing appreciation that despite drawbacks, communication advancements are here to stay and thus it is more important than ever to commit to staying current on the latest trends, developing balanced communication strategies that are audience focused, and producing quality content for all generations.

by Robin Frkal

The CCIL seminar last Wednesday addressed the issue of “generational communication preferences” within the workplace. The seminar began with a brief overview of the four major generations that are present in today’s job market: the Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Millennials. We were then introduced to the three guest panelists: Azure Collier, the youngest of the panelists, then Alicja Januszewicz, the Training Manager over at Boston Scientific (whose perspective on the “very traditional” tendencies of the place may not be entirely accurate), and finally Jose Ramirez, the Director of Diversity at UMass Memorial and the most senior of the three panelists. I appreciated the age differences between the three panelists – it made for a much more varied and insightful discussion. To be honest, the topic of the seminar was one that I had never before considered. Yet once the discussion began, its implications became immediately apparent – while communication technology continues to advance, those generations that do not advance along with it are at a severe disadvantage. As such, there must necessarily be some compromise between the ever-advancing technology of the workplace and those employees who are unfamiliar, or uncomfortable, with these virtual means of communication. Such a compromise can be, for example, a hospital-wide training program designed to familiarize employees with a new piece of technology, or it can be the simultaneous use of both newer and older methods of communication, i.e. sending out a mass email as well as posting a notice on the company bulletin board.

Jose addressed this issue by making a particularly interesting observation: although things like texting, tweeting, and email provide a much quicker and more convenient method of communication, not every employee uses, or is able to use, these devices. As such, today’s workplace is experiencing an overlap period in which all forms of communication must be used in order to reach everyone. Due to the increasing number of available channels, today’s workplace communications are actually less streamlined than they were a decade or so ago.

This point was supported Azure, WPI’s Director of Social Media, who said that, in an effort to reach all available alumni, she has to utilize as many different means of communication as are at her disposal. This includes traditional measures such as letters, phone calls, and newsletters. However, according to Azure, the majority of the response she receives comes from WPI’s facebook page. Yet even though most of Azure’s success occurs via virtual means, she made it clear that her job is to get the alumni back to the actual campus itself for events, fundraisers, etc. The goal of her job is to utilize WPI’s social media outlets in order to attract people back to Worcester for annual gatherings. I found this to be an interesting hybrid of traditional and modern approaches to communications – use technology to attract them back, and then old-fashioned face-to-face interaction to acquire donations.
Another aspect of discussion that I found particularly interesting was Dr. J’s question, “What new trends will appear in the workplace as newer and newer technology is introduced?” Azure tended to think that mobility will become more significant as phone technology is broadened. As it is, she mentioned a couple iPhone apps that are currently available that are increasing this trend: one that allows individuals to take an online tour of WPI, and another that lets the user know, like radar, if anyone in his/her phone book is within a certain range of his/her location. I found this idea to be intriguing – for some reason I often think of the virtual world and the real world as being separate, as though they are two distinct and individual things. While surfing the web, I do not really consider myself looking at real life, but at internet life. Azure’s theory of mobility seems to meld the two somewhat. A virtual world that can interact within the real world is novel to me, and I look forward to seeing it come to fruition. It has tremendous implications for the healthcare world – as phone technology improves, it may become less necessary for patients to actually go to hospitals for routine checkups, or it may allow for specialists to become infinitely more available to long-distance patients.

These are just a couple issues that resonated with me. I thoroughly enjoyed the seminar – it is an important subject, and one that I am glad I am now conscious of. In class we have spoken extensively about the dangers of miscommunication in healthcare, and so it was interesting to hear how certain organizations’ communications are handled. I also enjoyed gauging the panelists’ differing attitudes towards communication technology: Azure spoke of her iPhone and its apps with exuberance, whereas Jose seemed to view technology more as a necessary chore, and Alicja appeared to be indifferent. In that respect, the three panelists embodied their representative generations flawlessly.

by Andrew Aho

CCIL is planning on offering a free seminar at Clark University in Worcester, MA  on Thursday October 14 at 7 PM and the same seminar at Fitchburg State College, Fitchburg, MA on Thursday October 21. The topic will be Crossing the Generational Gap in Communication. This will be a panel discussion addressing what are the preferred methods of communication for the different generations in a work setting, how can managers optimize their use of communication technologies to lead teams, and what does the future have in store for leaders.

More information on the seminar will be made available later this summer.

CCIL aims to provide a wide range of high quality distance learning opportunities. We offer instructor led training sessions and public seminars that focus on communication, intercultural leadership and conflict management. Our services are geared towards professionals interested in pursuing life long learning and the practical application of innovative communication and leadership concepts.

We strive to be the premier thought leader in offering relevant communication and leadership content through multiple learning channels such as, podcasts, seminars, instructor led training, and conferences. CCIL will maintain rigorous process improvement efforts to ensure its information remains pertinent for both academic and commercial applications.

Who We Are

Posted: June 14, 2010 in About CCIL
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The Coalition for Communication and Intercultural Leadership (CCIL), is a collaborative educational initiative of Clark University and Fitchburg State College. It offers  a series of audio presentations supported by brief text based outlines.  These digital vignettes on Communication and Intercultural Leadership are designed to provide current information for professionals on communication and intercultural leadership so they can be enhance their knowledge and competencies. Our website offers reviews of current business titles, educational services, and news and information.

Hello world!

Posted: June 14, 2010 in CCIL News
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Check back from time to time to see a number of resources we are sharing with you. We have completed five podcasts and plan on making these available on our website, which is currently under construction. The topics include Communication in a Virtual Environment, Benchmarking, Cultural Scan, Introspection, and Managing in a Cross-Cultural Environment to mention just a few.