5 Ways to Become a Better Speaker

by South University 23 September 2014

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once joked that most people would rather be the person in the coffin than the one giving the eulogy. Public speaking, from large, formal presentations to simply sharing your ideas in a team meeting, can be intimidating, but it's also a skill that even the shyest of personalities can learn to master. With reliable delivery techniques and thorough preparation, anyone can address a room full of listeners with confidence and success.

Businessman1. Do Your Homework

"It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech." -- Mark Twain

Researching your topic extensively will make you feel comfortable at your presentation. Nothing is more stress-inducing than winging it, and the audience can usually tell if you're ill-prepared. Familiarize yourself with the topic and allow yourself time to digest the material. Write down any lingering questions or gray areas that need to be researched further, and consider what arguments or concerns audience members may offer.

2. Identify a Theme

“A theme is a memory aid; it helps you through the presentation just as it also provides the thread of continuity for your audience.” -- Dave Carey

In today's world, most speakers rely heavily on PowerPoint presentations for long talks, which are incredibly useful when it comes to staying on track. However, speakers should always come prepared to present without the visual display. Having a running theme, tagline, or basic message in mind as the spine to your outline's skeleton will save the day, should technology fail you.

3. Practice Your Delivery

"All great speakers were bad speakers at first." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Practice makes perfect, and the best way to perfect your delivery is through repetition. Time your presentation, record yourself, and listen to your tone and delivery. You can even leave yourself a voicemail about a work-related topic and see how you sound. (Make sure to count how many times you say "um" or other similar filler words.) Or, ask a trusted co-worker to give you critical, helpful feedback on how you speak in everyday professional situations as well as in front of larger crowds. Practicing not only prepares you for the current speech, but it also provides you with an assessment of your individual strengths and weaknesses. In time, you'll become more comfortable talking with or to anyone.

4. Learn from the Experts

"Good artists copy. Great artists steal." -- Steve Jobs

Think of the most brilliant speakers throughout history -- the ones that inspired great change, led major companies through times of trial and served as catalysts for action. These individuals may have had different styles of delivery or goals in mind, but their influence was similar. Study their words, gestures, advice, and styles. There's no need to reinvent the wheel when the car is sitting there.

5. Take a Breather

"The most precious things in speech are the pauses." -- Sir Ralph Richardson

Most people have experienced running out of air while giving a speech, which is usually a sign of both nerves and speed-talking. Focus on a slower delivery, remembering to breathe between transitions and important points. Build pauses into your presentation's framework through the use of audience questions and interactions. Eventually, those deliberate pauses will feel more organic, thus allowing you to breathe easier -- both figuratively and literally.

How Information Technology is Improving Healthcare

by South University 16 September 2014

You may have noticed that tech in healthcare is changing rapidly, but did you know that it's saving lives too? In honor of National Health IT Week (September 15-19, 2014), here's a look at how information technology is changing the way we care for others.

Healthcare IT nurseAs computer and technology use in hospitals, clinics and private practice expands, information technology is being used in countless ways to improve healthcare delivery, patient safety, and the relationship between patients and healthcare providers.

The most noteworthy use of IT is in patient records and data management. Healthcare professionals used to be tied to clunky paper charts that were easily lost, damaged or misinterpreted. Now, providers can track patient records securely and easily, appending pharmacy records, test results, X-rays and even vital signs to a virtual chart that's easier to read and share and that can also be checked against other databases.

Patient records aren't the only use of information technology in healthcare. In fact, an entire discipline called nursing informatics has sprung up at the intersection of IT and clinical care. This interdisciplinary study links together the practice of nursing with the management of IT. It's where science meets data, and the field is growing ever more popular with increased demand in technology and a workforce that wants to combine their passions for science and data in service of medical patients and improving healthcare for all.

Fields like nursing informatics are even saving lives. In fact, a recent survey by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that nurses who use IT are more likely to spot medical errors, and with less time spent documenting patient care, nurses can spend more time caring for patients. As more people become insured and seek quality care, the demand for information technology that can accurately track patients and improve health care is only expected to grow.

Expect more jobs for IT professionals in hospital settings as the field expands. From medical coding specialists, records technicians and transcriptionists to healthcare information engineers, support specialists, clinical IT consultants and healthcare systems analysts, healthcare IT roles are growing every year. Healthcare IT will doubtless emerge on the top of lists boasting in-demand jobs as healthcare continues to evolve and change. Additionally, information technology will stay relevant for policymakers and hospital administrators looking to increase the speed, volume and quality of service in their care centers.

You might even want to consider checking out the field for yourself. Start by checking out our programs in the areas of information technology and healthcare. The College of Nursing and Public Health also includes a Master of Science in Nursing program with a specialization in Nurse Informatics. If you’re interested, request more information about these programs today!

See suprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs,median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

A Little Volunteering Could Do a Lot for Your Career

by South University 10 September 2014

Actor Leonard Nimoy once said, "The more we share, the more we have," and no better example of this exists than the act of volunteering. Through donating time and energy, volunteers receive a different type of payout: knowledge and experience. When considering education and career advancement, seek volunteer opportunities that can both enlighten and inspire you while providing real-world exposure to prospective careers. When you try volunteering, you might just find it helps you in all the following ways--and maybe even more!

Career movement image1. Unearth your passion.

The method in which you volunteer provides insight into career paths that may suit your individual interests. By making a list of potential volunteer opportunities and ranking these based on what you'd like most, you're gaining valuable information on what makes you tick.

2. Identify your dislikes.

You might naturally assume that volunteering at the animal shelter is the perfect placement for your crazy cat lady tendencies, but, in reality, you may discover that working with homeless and sick animals is simply too much for you -- and that's okay. Realizing this early on is essential to planning a happier career path, and it may motivate you to set new goals aimed at eradicating what you dislike. Volunteering is a great way to avoid years of college studies aimed at the wrong pursuits.

3. Make connections.

Not only will you gain a list of references through volunteering, but you'll also have the benefit of learning directly from those in the field. Typically, volunteers encounter employees with different job descriptions, from executive directors to front-line workers. These connections are helpful when switching careers or moving into a field you haven't experienced first-hand.

4. Discover new options.

Volunteers get the chance to look beyond stereotypes and job titles to see what happens behind the scenes of different organizations. While you may assume you want the most visible position in the field, you may quickly learn of other occupations that are lesser known (and perhaps a better fit for your individual talents and abilities).

5. Venture beyond your comfort zone.

When a paycheck is on the line, you may find yourself more reserved about taking chances or delving into challenging tasks. With volunteerism, you can feel more comfortable trying on different hats that might otherwise intimidate you. Whether it's public speaking, crunching numbers, or proposing fresh ideas, you retain more control over your potential projects, therefore gaining experience that's tailored to your needs and interests while allowing yourself to take constructive risks.

How to Find the Right Balance between Family and School

by South University 8 September 2014

Balancing your work life with family time can be a challenge on its own. Throw school into the mix and you have a demanding, but potentially very rewarding, mix to manage. Here are some ideas to help you make it through school without forgetting what your family looks like or missing out on important life moments.

Nurse with son

Become a Planner

No matter how complicated your schedule gets, you're golden as long as you can stay on top of it. Plan your school and work schedules out first, then sit down with your family and plan out the together times, from field trips to movie nights, that are most important to them.

Be Realistic

It may be tempting to pack your schedule to the gills, trusting that you'll figure it out along the way somehow. But being realistic from the start helps keep stress levels low and avoid disappointments. If you need an hour to get something done, plan an hour into your schedule -- not 30 minutes.

Stick to a Routine

From who cooks dinner to bedtimes and when homework gets done, establishing a household routine is like automating -- or at least streamlining -- everyday tasks. Clear expectations make life easier and give everyone a way of contributing to your success in school.

Make Lists

If it's on paper, you won't have to worry about keeping track of it in your head. Having both a daily to-do list and a long-term to-do list ensures that nothing falls by the wayside. The lists help you stay productive, too; if you can't bring yourself to tackle what you're supposed to be doing on a given day, just choose something else from the list.

Have a Family Night

Put your heads together and designate a family night where the only criteria is that you get together and have fun. Think pizza, board games, a favorite TV show, fun crafts or going for a bike ride. There are only two rules: Everybody's there, and no work or school work allowed during that time.

Delegate

There are only 24 hours in a day. So, if you hit a point where you just can't do everything, it's time to delegate! Turn to your family, friends, coworkers and schoolmates, depending on the challenge you're facing -- and ask for help.

A Little You Time

Meeting all the demands of work, school and family can leave you feeling like you're being pulled in many different directions. Make sure to schedule periodic down time to refresh and renew -- whether it's quiet time with a book, a short midday nap, or just five minutes to close your eyes and breathe.

Remember, you're in school for a reason. Although balancing school and family (or work and school and family) is a true challenge for anybody, you're working your way toward some very tangible successes and rewards. Hang in there and circle the family wagons -- you'll be ready to graduate before you know it!

Attend a Reading from our Student Literary and Arts Journal

by South University 4 September 2014

Please mark your calendars for a Student Reading from the latest Asynchronous issue, with the reading to be held on Tuesday September 16, 2014 at 7 pm EDT. We encourage you to attend in support of your fellow student writers and artists! Register at https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/114488735 to reserve your spot.

Literary Journal cover

Students will be reading from the 2nd annual issue of Asynchronous, our student literary and arts journal published earlier this year. The journal showcases student writing, photography, and artwork in an online format and provides an outlet for creative expression that cannot always be found in a classroom setting.

View the latest issue at http://online.southuniversity.edu/asynchronous/documents/Vol1Issue2Spring2014.pdf.

Find more events on the Campus Common Events Calendar here.