What is an elevator speech and how do I give one?

An elevator speech is just that, an elevator speech.  This is the type of speech that you would give to a potential employer that you have been trying to get an interview with as you catch them getting in the elevator or walking down the hall.  An elevator speech has also been called an “elevator pitch”.  You may use this kind of speech to sell your product or services to a potential buyer or client.  You want this speech to be no longer than the ride in the elevator, which can be anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, and you need to really be able to sell yourself in the time that it takes to get from the first floor to the top floor or vice versa.  Your elevator speech needs to be clear, consistent, compelling, and to the point.

Tips on writing an effective elevator speech:

  1. Know your audience. What are they looking for?
  2. Know yourself.   Why do they want you or whatever it is you are trying to sell?
  3. Make it exciting!  Make them think this is best the best thing they could ever have!
  4. Write it down and perfect it.  Eliminate useless information and keep it short and to the point.  It shouldn’t be more than 90 words long.
  5. Practice, practice, practice and more practice!  You want to have your elevator speech memorized so you can give it effectively and in the moment.

Here is an example of an elevator speech for a student trying to get a job:

“Hi, my name is Mary Jones. I am currently a sophomore student attending ABC college. My major is in business with a minor in art. I have volunteered with the student credit union throughout my first and sophomore year at college.

Last summer I completed an internship with The Museum of Modern Art, and I’m hoping to find an internship in finance this summer in the Boston area. I have always had an interest in art and I’m also finding that I have a knack for business. In the future I’m hoping to combine these two very different disciplines and find myself a career that includes them both.”

Here is an example of an elevator speech of someone trying to sell their services:

“I am Joe Smart and I am a partner at BPK&Z, a large local CPA and consulting firm. While we do the audit and tax work like everyone else, our real niche is some very high end work – serious tax savings, business valuations and litigation support, significantly improving business processes, closely held business advice, that sort of thing.”

You never know when you might need an elevator speech but having one prepared just might land you that dream job or top client!!!

By Tacita Dockins, Business Major, IUPUC

works cited:

http://www.ingenuitymarketing.com/pdfs/freetools/Ingenuity-ElevatorSpeeches.pdf

http://internships.about.com/od/networking/g/elevatorspeech.htm

Should Indiana countinue to require cursive writing to be taught in public schools. Why? why not?

My position in the debate in whether or not to keep cursive requirement in the public school system is to continue teaching it.

I have looked up many adequate reasons as to why keeping cursive would be helpful. For example it is an elegant, timeless form of writing that shows more advanced skill levels, penmanship, and higher education. Also when it comes time for you to sign for a form of payment such as a credit card or signing for a check, it will be impossible for students later in life to accomplish that until other advances are made.

Cursive writing also becomes necessary when signing important government and federal documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and Bill of Congress.  Not only is it important when signing documents, but it has also been around for many centuries and an art could die if cursive is taken away.

Not all people in the world were born right- handed and with the invention of cursive left-handed people were able to see their hand writing better than when they print, by tilting their paper, and with cursive starting bottom to top it was easier for left-handed people to read what they had already written.

Administrators have found that with the option of taking out cursive there wouldn’t be much of a cost difference because it costs ten dollars per student to teach

The use of cursive will also help with the young children, because it helps with the words not being choppy, and it advances fine motor skills at a younger age.

I do understand why they want to choose to take cursive away.  For example, other subjects like math, science, and social studies could suffer when taking more time to work on cursive.  Cursive throughout the years is coming to be known as a dead language and people would not want to restart the use of a dead language.

Along with cursive being a dead language, some people no longer have the skill level to learn how to write not only one new alphabet but two. The main problem letters are “d,” “p,” and “f.”

Some think that there are very few reasons to use cursive now days; however it’s not true because we need it for several things involving the privacy of our money, with the use of checks and credit card,  federal documents and their authenticity, and raising skill level of the younger age.

What Makes a Successful Website?

How many of us have visited a “bad” website? What separates a “bad” website from a successful one? Since we are a technology-driven culture, we rely on websites for various reasons, including shopping, news and entertainment. Some of the characteristics that can define a site as “bad” or “good” are usability, credibility and attractiveness.

The usability of a site greatly influences its success. The website should have easy-to-use menus that are organized logically. When visiting a site, we usually have a predefined purpose in mind. We expect to be able to find what we are looking for quickly and easily.

A site’s credibility should be considered as well. We should look to make sure the information given within the site is up-to-date, and any sources cited are reliable and well-reputed. An easy way to check for the site’s credibility is to verify its security. If the website is asking for personal information, at the top of the page in the address bar the website address should be preceded by “https” instead of “http” if it is secure. In addition, the most secure websites will have a padlock image in the address bar and “https” will be displayed in green font. An example of a secure site would be Amazon (while signed in to your account).

Perhaps the most easily identifiable trait is the attractiveness of the site. The font of the site should be easy to read and consistent throughout. Two categories of fonts are serif fonts and sans serif fonts. Serif fonts have strokes at the end of the letters. Examples of serif fonts include Times New Roman and Garamond. Sans serif fonts are clean characters without strokes. Examples of sans serif fonts are Arial and Verdana. The color of the font greatly affects its readability. For example, a bright or flashy font will be more difficult to read than a black or solid-colored font. Any graphics used within the site should be relevant to the material. Graphics should not distract the reader from the written material. If too many graphics are on one site, the images may take longer to download, decreasing the usability of the site. Finally, the layout of the site should be well-organized, logical and clean. The material should be organized in such a way to draw the eye to the most important parts of the site.

To illustrate the points I made above, I have chosen two websites, one of which I think is successful and the other one I would call “bad”. The links are:

http://www.joust.co/

http://yvettesbridalformal.com/
You can compare and contrast the two websites according to usability and attractiveness. Notice the clean and easy-to-read font of joust.co.  The user can easily find the information he is looking for in the site’s menu. Yvette’s page does not use consistent font sizes or colors, making the text difficult to read. Graphics are used that are not relevant to Yvette’s bridal/formal theme.

In conclusion, a business’ website could either bolster its reputation or weaken potential customers’ perceptions. Careful thought, planning and a bit of creativity can go a long way in building a website. Usability, credibility and attractiveness are just three main points to keep in mind while developing a successful site.

By Kimberly Riche, Business/Marketing major, IUPUC

The Value of Twitter for Business

How is twitter valuable to businesses?

 With social media becoming more popular it is impossible for businesses to be competitive without them. In 2011, 77% of Fortune 500 companies have a Twitter account. This is an 18% increase from 2010. Twitter is valuable because it is so quick and easy. All businesses have to do is send one message and it is relayed to everyone that is following their account. Since twitter is mostly done through cell phones the message are received almost immediately.

How should it be used?

Just like any social media Twitter can be very dangerous for companies. If a message is misunderstood or offensive the message could lose clientele. It is very important to always have someone other than the author reading over Tweets before they are sent out. The most important aspect for any business to understand when using Twitter is the SEO benefit. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In short this means that you want your account to be one of the first to show up on the screen when the key words of your account name are searched. If it isn’t at the top of the list most people won’t waste their time searching through pages to find it. Making things easier on your customers will be the most beneficial. Twitter should also only be used for business information not for personal opinions. There is an example below showing a bad tweet that was posted by Chrysler.

Here is a list of useful tips that can be used when starting a Twitter account for your business.

  • Make sure your Twitter name is either your company name, or slogan.
  • Be as active as possible in your tweets or people will stop following you.
  • Add your company logo and colors to your Twitter page.
  • Add your Twitter account to your phone so if you are traveling you can still update it with important news.
  • Never use a business Twitter account for personal opinions.

Bad Tweet

Pros and Cons of Online Classes

When students register for classes at the beginning of their college education, many are faced with the question, “Should I take any online classes?” To some, this is an immediate yes or no reply, but others may not know or understand the pros and cons of online classes. Online courses generally consist of uploaded lectures from the instructor, written assignments that are submitted online, and the availability for quizzes and exams to be administered through an Internet connection. A strong Internet connection is vital to successfully completing an online course.

Pros

  • Flexibility & freedom

Students are given flexibility and freedom in terms of when and where they complete the requirements for the class. Students can complete the course in the comfort of their home, even while sitting on the couch in their pajamas!

  • Learn at your own pace

Students are able to learn at their own pace. This is an advantage because it allows the student to re-watch lectures and progressively work on assignments.

  • Save time and money from travel expenses

Students will save time and money associated with traveling to on-campus classes.

  • Use of technology

Students will learn new forms of technology. Technology skills are extremely marketable when applying for jobs.

Cons

  • Time management

Students must have good time management skills to succeed.

  • Technology Failures

Technology is not always reliable, so students should be cautious of procrastination. For example, Internet and electricity may be down for some reason in the area, not allowing the student to submit assignments on time. Also, students need to be aware that computers may crash, leaving them with no way to complete the assignments.

  • No face-to-face interaction

Online classes do not allow room for face-to-face interaction with other students or the instructor. However, some instructors offer office hours for one-on-one sessions if necessary. Also, unless a chat room is enabled for the course, there is generally a delayed response when communicating with the instructor, especially if the student and instructor have different schedules.

To sum it up, there are a variety of pros and cons when comparing online classes to traditional on-campus classes. It is important for students to know their learning styles and time management capabilities before committing to taking online courses. To some, online courses could bring relief to their heavy course load, but they could be a heavy burden to those who are technology illiterate and those who lack time management skills.

By Katie Shaffer, Business Major – IUPUC

Bad Email Practices

            Have you ever received an email with so many typos and grammar mistakes in it, you can hardly understand what they were trying to get across. This is becoming a far too common in modern day emailing. In today’s society a common form of communication is texting and the use of social networking like twitter, Facebook, and myspace.  Although they make it a quick and easy way to communicate to friends and family, it doesn’t call for the most formal use of words and grammar.  Examples of the incorrect word forms people are using are slang, abbreviations, jargon and more. Because it is widely accepted in these situations, people are becoming less likely to use the proper format for professional emails.

            The problem with writing a professional email or letter in an incorrect format is it causes miscommunications between two parties, or would allow someone to believe that you are not properly educated. You only get one first impression and if it is used in slang and abbreviations, you might not give across the right impression of yourself or lose creditability with the receiver. Most of the mistakes that are in an incorrect email can be fixed by simply just proofreading before you send it. Reading it back to yourself allows you to make the corrections before you send it and don’t have to resend it with the correction. Most email replies are to clarify the previous emails sent to them and this can be avoided by reading over and correcting any mistakes or ideas the first time you send it. 

                Some examples of things not to do are:

  • Sending emails when you are angry
  • Including useless information
  •  Abbreviations or slang
  • Not putting a subject line
  • Not using complete and proper sentences
  • Capital letter(might come across as yelling)
  • Poor formatting of the email

            The use of email is a huge channel of communication in the modern society and I believe it will be around for a long time. The use of proper and professional writing only makes sense. When reading professional writing you are able to understand what is being sent to you and are able to make a good impression on whoever is reading your email. I hope this post makes you think next time you push the send button to make sure you read over the email one more time. It may take a few seconds, but save you from the embarrassment and miscommunication with coworkers, friends, and other in your professional field.

By: Luke Eddins

Why Use Paper When We Have Plastic?

Plastic is becoming more convenient and easier to use.  No, I am not talking about bags at the shopping center.  I am talking about your debit and credit cards.  Not only are they more convenient and a time saver, they are also cheaper!  There are many pros and cons as I will explain for both products but I think we all can agree that plastic is the new way to go when making payments.
Debit cards, which are also known as, check cards or bank cards give people a greater sense of safety and control when purchasing items.  Unlike credit cards, where you can continue to charge things over and over again, debit cards can be prevented from using all the money in your account.  Debit card transactions are easier to show proof of purchase and solve problems with the bank.   The convenience is the main reason people use debit cards.  You do not have to carry around those bulky check books and keep a running balance.  If you have a bank like mine, every time your debit card is swiped you receive a text with all of the transaction information.  This is turn makes it easier for you to not have to keep a running balance in the check register because, it is always at your fingertips.  The nice thing about debit cards is they do not require identification if the back of the card is signed.   Lastly, with a debit card it is highly unlikely you will over draw your account, when it is very easy to do so with a check.  The debit card should and will decline if the funds you are purchasing are insufficient to the funds in your account.
Now let’s move onto checks.  What good are they in the twenty first century?  If you answered absolutely nothing, you are correct.  The number one reason why checks are no good in this day and age is because they cost us money that we should not have to spend on checks.  Do you get angry at that one person who waits until the last minute to completely fill out their check?  The convenience of time for checks is not good at all.  If you are in a rush or the people in line behind you are in a rush then things could get hectic.  Using checks can make it very easy to over draw on your account.  If you do not keep good check register then you could incur many fees for overdrawing on your account.  People used to write checks to pay their bills but now with online banking it is just so simple to do it that way.
If I have not made it clear yet debit cards are more convenient than checks.  They are cheaper, safer, and most of all a time saver.

~Ryan Haddan

Thanks to http://www.ehow.com/about_6103852_debit-cards-vs_-checks.html