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5 Big Training Tips for Regional Officers

5 Big Training Tips for Regional Officers

For the first time, a training track exclusively for Regional Officers was held during the 2016 Honors Institute. Topics included professional etiquette and leading virtually — and in case you missed it, here are some of the highlights.

1. Be Strategic: Setting Regional Goals

Goals do matter. The 2015-16 International Officer Team set a goal to create a structured Regional Officer training program, and this track at Honors Institute was the result!

Be intentional with the goals you set — how will your goals enhance the mission of Phi Theta Kappa, and how will they make Phi Theta Kappa stronger?

Let Phi Theta Kappa’s strategic priorities guide the goals you set as a Regional Officer team:

  • Mission Alignment — How can you create the Phi Theta Kappa Experience for those in your region?
  • Membership — How can your region ensure more eligible students understand the full benefits of membership? Promoting initiatives like the REACH Rewards program may be a great place to start.
  • Programs — After members are inducted, how can your region inspire them to get involved in Phi Theta Kappa programs that build their personal and professional development skills?
  • Building Relationships — Serving as a Regional Officer is all about relationships — being a servant leader, a support system and a cheerleader for your chapters.

2. Leading Virtually: Why You Should Care (…Really)

Develop a strategic, intentional communication plan for email, videoconferencing and social media, and implement it as a Regional Officer team.

Email: Make consistency and quality your trademarks. Some tips:

  • Work closely with your Regional Coordinator.
  • Be consistent and timely.
  • Read backwards and aloud.
  • Assume every message will be forwarded.

Videoconference: Determine the best platform for your audience.

  • Set your strategic design —advertise, set up, practice, structure, event management, record it or not?
  • Make eye contact, exaggerate and over smile.
  • Find best practices here. 

Social Media: Tips to keep in mind:

  • Assume that what you post will gain wider traction.
  • Build as much positive professional content as possible.
  • Have a designated officer who is concise, responsive, respectful and strategic to post on behalf of the team.

Parting words:

  • Complete Five Star Competitive Edge.
  • Study how others — especially those in positions to which you’d like to advance — market themselves and project their image online.
  • Ask someone in a hiring position to audit your online presence and provide constructive criticism.
  • Recognize that leadership = service; be a good steward of resources.

3. Ambassadorship: Representing Yourself and Phi Theta Kappa

As a Regional Officer, your public speaking, your participation in class and on campus, your personal interactions, your electronic communication and your behavior will all face scrutiny. Make your interpersonal communication more effective by

  • Focusing your message — create an elevator speech; know your subject; personalize your message
  • Magnifying the listener’s attention — be precise and as descriptive as possible; consider the first impression you’ve offered; identify what’s in it for your listener
  • Breaking through barriers — eliminate noise; consider perception
  • Listening actively — listening is to hearing as observing is to seeing; gauge if the listener understood
  • Following up — send electronic introductions; contact Headquarters for answers to questions; say “thank you”

Your ambassadorship can make a difference. Use it to enhance the Phi Theta Kappa Experience for those in your region. Share the experiences you’ve had with the widest possible audience. And work with your team to leave a legacy, even if it’s as simple as consistent leadership.

4. Professional Etiquette: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Let’s brush up those social skills.

Dining Do’s and Don’ts:

  • At a buffet — Don’t overload your plate. Your focus should be on visiting and networking with others, not the food.
  • At a restaurant — If you’re being treated to a meal, always ask what your host recommends before ordering. This will give you their expectation of the cost of the meal.
  • Only order the basics — This means a nonalcoholic drink and an entrée. Your host will let you know if it’s okay to order an appetizer and/or dessert.
  • Don’t panic if you use the wrong utensil; just carry on without drawing attention to it. Key tip: move from the outside in.
  • Place your napkin in your lap once everyone is seated.
  • Don’t begin eating until everyone is served.
  • Solids (bread plate) go on your left; liquids go on your right.
  • Put butter on your bread plate first, then on your roll.
  • Cut only enough food for the next mouthful.
  • Don’t season food before you’ve tasted it.
  • Sit up straight and keep arms off the table.
  • Don’t push your plate away when finished.
  • Conversation — Avoid controversial topics.
  • Excuse yourself quietly if you leave the table. Be sure to push your chair in.
  • Place your napkin in your chair if you’re coming back.
  • Don’t reapply lipstick or use a toothpick at the table.

Should you find yourself at the head table:

  • Remember that you’re on display — everyone can see you, so be on your best behavior.
  • Visit with guests of honor — be sure to greet the others at the head table, especially any special guests.
  • Put away your smart phone — no talking or texting. Be engaged in what is happening at the event.
  • Actively listen — be engaged and look interested in what is happening at the event. 

Tips for remembering someone’s name:

  • When the name is spoken, concentrate on the person and their name.
  • Use the person’s name in conversation.
  • Visually write the name on the person’s forehead.
  • Associate the name with the person’s appearance. 

What if you forget someone’s name?

  • Reintroduce yourself.
  • Confess.
  • Ask how he/she prefers to be addressed OR how to spell his or her name.
  • Ask a mutually respected third party.
  • Ask for the person’s business card.

5. Leading Regional Meetings and Workshops

Workshop planning:

  • Do your research, and consult experts.
  • Organize your content.
  • Consider your presentation platform.
  • Share your presentation with others for feedback.
  • Practice, practice, practice. 

Regional Meeting planning:

  • Be sure to work closely with your Regional Coordinator.
  • Carefully and thoughtfully select a speaker.
  • Develop a script and rehearse!
  • Communicate with your sponsors and vendors.

The day of the event:

  • Arrive early.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Be flexible. Have a back-up plan if audiovisual equipment doesn’t work.
  • Know your topic and your audience.
  • Don’t “wing it.” Use your notes. 

Show time:

  • Maintain control of your presentation.
  • “If you don’t know, don’t lie.”
  • Avoid excessive joking or sarcasm.
  • Remain professional. 

How to nail your delivery:

  • Maintain good eye contact.
  • Pace yourself.
  • Be brief.
  • Show your passion and excitement. 

Regional Officers: make plans to attend a special Virtual Office Hours training session on Wednesday, July 13, at 4 pm CT. The topic will be “Best Practices for College Projects.” Register today!

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