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How to Kickstart your Entrepreneurial Ambitions with Higher Education

How to Kickstart your Entrepreneurial Ambitions with Higher Education

What has characterized the 21st century is the exponential number of changes brought forth by technology. It has disrupted the way of life uthor

nd improved how we acquire new skills. It has also reshaped how institutions provide their services, unlike any other time.

The presence of augmented reality, social media networking, wearable technology, virtual reality (VR) mobile and others have redefined how everything used to be done. Nowadays, most of us have to be in the never-ending school of learning new competencies.

An Overview of Higher Education

There are examples of higher education institutions already putting in place academic programs tailored towards what employers typically seek. In other words, there is a shift towards skill-based learning, which will prepare aspiring students to find a much more relevant career path. As 2016 comes to a close, three forces have revamped how we learn and teach. We will witness different pathways to higher education, experimentation with new teaching models and a student-driven curriculum.

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A TechRepublic analysis confirms colleges have already started implementing various pathways to higher education beyond the traditional model. The following are examples of skill-based learning:

  •         Competency-based education (CBE)
  •         Massive Open Online Course
  •         Education business collaboration
  •         A headstart with earning college credits in high school

To get the most relevant education and experience from the marketplace approximately 600 schools have designed a skill-based learning program. This means future professionals will benefit from having the skills they really need versus having an academic curriculum that is not quite adapted to what employers are looking for.

The other teaching experiment that has yielded positive results is the use of massive open online courses (MOOCs). There are details still to be worked out with trying to find the right business model that can finance this educational framework. Elsewhere, academic entities and businesses have started working together more closely. One of the many benefits of teaming up is giving students the experience needed to land a job with a successful company. At the same time, the curriculum gets more personalized and readies students to prospect effectively employers that are a right fit.

Finally, one way to get a quick start is taking college level courses in high school. The benefit is reduced tuition and you end up earning college credits before embarking on your college career.

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The Evolution of Entrepreneurship and Redefining It

An entrepreneur is someone who exercises initiative by organizing a venture to take benefit of an opportunity. It is also can be someone who has an idea and applies it to improve processes for whatever undertaking. Entrepreneurs over the course of human history have come from all walks of life.

The following infographic illustrates where entrepreneurs got started and where they are at the present time:

Evolution of an Entrepreneur

    As the above visual graphic illustrates entrepreneurs have evolved since the renaissance. We first had renaissance tradesmen and then came the colonial expansion. After that, the industrial revolution produced a handful of novelties, inventions, and innovations. All of this catapults the 20th century followed by the information age with the internet reaching global reach on a massive scale. Then comes the internet, e-commerce along with innovative companies like Google, Amazon, Etsy, eBay, etc.

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    And this leads to the next phase of what entrepreneurs will be doing in the future.The era where holding a job for an indefinite amount of time or a number of years does no longer apply to entrepreneurial people. Individuals in this group see what new models can be tested and exploited. Sometimes having that bachelor’s degree does not land you the ideal position or career you want. As this post from  Concordia University points out, a master’s of business administration (MBA) can especially produce successful outcomes on the road to success.

    Going back to the University or college lets you network with professionals established in their field. You also get to know people outside of your industry letting you learn all of the ins and outs. And being surrounded by talent just allows you to get immersed in different environments that will nurture your own professional development.

    As a Harvard Business Review paper thoroughly suggests there needs to be a revision into expanding the definition of entrepreneurship. Furthermore, large size businesses, enterprises, corporation and more must evolve their management practices. This means moving rapidly from employee management practices to fostering entrepreneurial management practices.

    Conclusion

    These rapid and disruptive changes have altered the traditional dynamics within the realms of education and entrepreneurship. Not only has education had to evolve but really reorganize the teaching material to meet the demands of the skills needed in the 21st century.

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    Institutions have begun rolling out new models of learning, new strategies of acquiring knowledge for professionals and entrepreneurs. Today unlike any other time, a startup culture has been born.

    Companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and a host of others were started by a few regular people passionate about an idea. None of these companies were built overnight, but those who pursued the project to the very end saw a great reward that follows from hard work and sacrifice.

    Featured photo credit: UNCG Research via Flickr via flickr.com

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    Anthony Carranza

    Multilingual writer and journalist covering all things technology and productivity.

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    Last Updated on May 21, 2019

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

    If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

    Example 1

    You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

    You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

    In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

    Example 2

    You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

    People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

    You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

    Example 3

    You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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    The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

    Example 4

    You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

    Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

    If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

    Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

    • Understand your own communication style
    • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
    • Communicate with precision and care
    • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

    1. Understand Your Communication Style

    To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

    In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

    Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

    2. Learn Others Communication Styles

    Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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    If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

    “How do you prefer to receive information?”

    This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

    To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

    3. Exercise Precision and Care

    A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

    On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

    Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

    I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

    I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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    In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

    The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

    Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

    4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

    Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

    In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

    “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

    Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

    Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

    It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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    It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

    It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

    Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

    Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

    The Bottom Line

    When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

    I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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    Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

    Reference

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