July 2015 archive

The L-Factor

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The library was closing, and I desperately needed another audiobook to listen to. In the last 2 minutes before they shut the doors, I grabbed this book because it seemed like something that was almost up my alley.

The Likeability Factor: How to Boost Your L-Factor and Achieve Your Life’s Dreams by Tim Sanders.

Starting out, I wasn’t sure how much this book could possibly teach me. For the most part, it boiled down to:

“Be nice to people, be likeable, and life will work out for you.”

For the first hour of the book, it felt like that was about there was to it, and I was ready to move on to something different.

Then, right as I was about to call it quits for good, it started getting interesting.

Sanders discussed university studies that found students not only (naturally) rated “likeable” teachers as better teachers, but studies showed that these students learned and retained more from these teachers.

I’ve written articles about similar studies, but it’s always nice to be reminded that research is still finding the same results and people are still talking about it.

The author also discussed the L-factor in terms of relationships.

Interpersonal communication and relationships have always been fascinating to me as a Communication instructor, so it was exciting to hear something I’d never learned before, in terms of what makes a person likeable in a relationship.

Sometimes it has nothing to do with how nice you are. Common ground can play a much bigger role.

The author discussed couples that went their separate ways after abandoning shared hobbies to pursue interests their significant other couldn’t get invested in. They didn’t necessarily do anything that made them “bad” or “unlikeable,” but losing common ground significantly decreased their L-factor with their significant other.

Sanders also discussed the opposite scenario.

There may be some casual acquaintances you run in the same circles with, who are plenty nice, but not likeable enough to build and maintain a relationship with. However, years later you may end up moving to their side of town, and building a relationship based on proximity and favorite neighborhood restaurants.

These are just a few gems I gleaned from the book. Insights like this were enough to move The L-Factor to my list of recommendations, especially for teachers.

It was interesting to note that you can gain and lose likeability, not because you did something wrong or right, but because you became more or less relevant in a person’s life.

Essentially, as the Happy Professor, I couldn’t pass up a book that reinforced the idea that likeable people and professors really do make a difference.

Happy learning, teaching, and relating!

Happy Professors Series: Self Discovery, Travel, and Relationships

DSC_4109 copy“ I currently teach full-time in Orlando, Florida, and I own a Human Communication Consulting business. I’m also writing a book for recent STEM graduates entering the workforce that’s a hybrid between a textbook and a self-help book. It’s about transferring public speaking soft skills from the classroom to the workplace.

I’ve held many teaching positions throughout my life, but my teaching journey truly started while I was working on my M.A.

I expressed an interest in working as an adjunct once I graduated, and the university allowed me to shadow with one of our veteran instructors. I started to adjunct part-time after I earned my degree and realized that I liked being in the college classroom so much more than the 9 to 5 managerial type of work that I was doing.

When a full-time instructor position became available at the university, I wasn’t shy in making it known that I really wanted the job and applied for it. After going through the formal hiring process, I was offered the position. That was 5 years ago and I can honestly say that this type of work is my favorite of any that I have done so far in my professional career.

There are a lot of things that make me happy about teaching.

The non-traditional schedule, the time off so that I can travel and engage in my own personal development, working with a lot of 18 to 22 year olds who have such optimistic energy and are excited about all of the possibilities that await them, that the purpose of my work isn’t about making money.

I get to focus on asking questions and seeking answers for the sake of knowing as opposed to financial profit, as often is the case in the world of business. I get the opportunity to focus on writing; my teaching informs my writing, and then the process goes full circle by my writing informing my teaching.

I work with interesting and intelligent people from all over the world, and I’m able to enjoy the relationships that I have developed with my former students. I have made some wonderful friends of all ages from the classroom. Those friends are now around the globe and earning advanced degrees, starting new jobs, getting married, having children, basically living life, and I get to celebrate those things with them.

My job often doesn’t feel like work. It’s fun, and something that I do naturally anyway.

~ Gino
Orlando, Florida
College instructor, business owner, world traveler, writer

Happy Professors Share Their Stories

DSC_4924 copyHave you ever wondered why so many teachers seem so happy? Or maybe you’ve had your own incredible journey as an educator. Many will tell you that it’s not just about teaching, it’s about the learning that happens, the inspiration that can come from the classroom, and the people one meets.

For some time I’ve wanted to get input from other educators and college instructors about their own unique journeys in their career. Over the last month, I’ve compiled stories from those in Malaysia, Thailand, New York, Oregon, Ohio, Florida, and those that have been inspired to travel the world, write, or start a business as a result of their teaching experiences.

As for myself, the years I’ve spent as an instructor have taught me the value of meeting different people and understanding different perspectives, as well as how powerful a genuine message can be, whether it’s through writing, praise, or encouragement.

As every teacher knows, you always learn more from your students than you anticipate, and I think we can learn just as much from the stories and inspiration of fellow educators.

With that, I introduce to you the Happy Professors series.

If you’d like your story to be a part of the series, feel free to contact me.

Happy teaching, learning, and growing!

A Quick Thought: Sharing Ideas

IMG_3434I wanted to write my recent book to add a new element to my classroom, and it all turned out better than I had hoped. I’m starting to see the results, and the value of hard work and optimism.

I’ve always refused to believe that you can’t squeeze every ounce of enjoyment out of life’s pleasures.

For me, writing, sharing ideas, and teaching are among my favorite things to do. So being able to see them all work together this summer has been incredible.

As self-indulgent as it might seem, more can always be gained from a great opportunity.

Savor it to the last drop.