In contrast to the typical technically-focused educational events, the Boston Area Chapter’s November educational program – “How to Deal with Difficult People” presented by Amber Galou, Stephanie Fedak, and Bruce Sohmer – was a chance for attendees to shift their focus to “soft skills” that effect every aspect of life in the workplace. The speakers presented the theory behind individual learning styles and how they impact the difficult conversations we sometimes need to have at work, as well as different methods for influencing others when working through these difficult situations.
As we learned about the diverse ways our brains our wired, the speakers posed questions to the audience: Can you think of a time when you had to deal with a difficult person at work? Can you think of a time when you were a difficult person to deal with at work? These short interludes gave attendees a chance to think about their own experiences in navigating difficult situations at work, as well as a chance to meet new people and commiserate over some workplace horror stories.
The program was held at Framingham State University, home to our newest Student Chapter under the able leadership of Academic Advisor Sunny Tam, Director of PSM in Biotechnology at the University’s Graduate Studies and Continuing Education program, giving Student Chapter members a chance to introduce themselves to their new Boston Area Chapter colleagues. Student members participated in thesame exercises as seasoned industry professionals, giving each group an opportunity to see how the same types of communication problems can occur at any stage of one’s career.
Our Chapter’s Educational Program Committee (EPC) produces monthly events that help members develop by learning about trends and practices in our industry. The success of November’s event suggests that taking an evening to focus on developing ourselves as people can also help to make us better engineers.
If you’re interested in helping the EPC plan and organize educational programs for the Chapter, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org . We’d love to have your help on the committee!