The artifact that I have chosen to reflect on is an oral communication presentation for a Small Group Communication course. This artifact is a quality message because of the process that our group took to formulate and deliver the message. Our group had learned group roles and functions throughout the semester and this project used several skills that we developed to deliver a quality message. Our thesis for our presentation was in the form of a question that we set out to answer “what can the Dean of Students office do to provide a consistent variety of alcohol free events on the weekends?” The purpose of this message was to convince our audience that Monmouth College needed more alcohol free events that all of campus could enjoy. We wanted to find new and exciting ways to make Monmouth College more enjoyable for students while lowering drinking hazards and increasing retention rate.
Our message had two main audiences which influenced the way we delivered our message. The first audience was the Dean of Students office. The Dean of Student’s main concern is student safety and enforcement of college policies. Therefore, we had to fit our message to those two needs. The first way we did this was by talking to the Dean of Students office before coming to a solution to our problem. We showed in the presentation that we interviewed Dean Condon, Kathy Wagoner and Billy Bernard who all work for the Dean of Students office. We got their opinion to what should be the solution to our problem. We then used the information they provided us to fit our solution. For example, Kathy Wagoner suggested co-sponsoring events with ASAP and Res Life staff might be a good solution. In our presentation we incorporated co-sponsoring in our solution along with other solutions that we thought students would enjoy, who were our second audience. Students would be the ones most impacted by our solutions we presented. Therefore we also had to cater our message towards them as well. To do this, we started our presentation with a skit that was funny yet relatable. The skit was about a friend that wanted to go out and have fun but didn’t really feel like drinking that night. Then her drunken friends came in and said a few jokes and invited her to go with them to a party. Since she had nothing else to do she went with them. This skit got the students engaged with our presentation. Also, this presents our issue in a way college students can relate. They might have been that girl at one point or know of someone who has been.
One of the things that made this a quality message was the research that was done to make the message. Our team interviewed several faculty members and also sent over 170 surveys to students asking their opinion on the matter. This research helped us compile ideas as to what people wanted and compared them to our restrictions that our group was under. This was represented in our presentation through explaining what our results were in the survey. We went through the steps of fact finding to come to three viable solutions to our problem. We had support for each solution by the students that we surveyed and the faculty we interviewed. We then chose the best solution based on the standard we set at the beginning of the presentation and the restrictions we faced. We looked at how much each solution would cost, what affect it would have on the Dean of Students office and if it covered most of the desires students expressed in the surveys. Using all of these checkpoints we found that creating a way to affectively host events that’s organizations can co-sponsor is the key part to our solution. In our presentation we laid out the solution in an organized power point. The power point slides were bulleted lists instead of paragraphs and whoever was selected to present that part of the presentation explained each bullet point in full detail rather than reading word for word off the slide. When each of us presented the slides that we chose to present on, we tried to be as clear and elaborate on any questions that the audience might have. In our preparation for the presentation, we all thought of questions that the audience might have during each slide of the presentation. Our goal then was to think of as many questions that we could come up with so that we could change our slide or explain our concepts better in order for the message to be clear to the audience. Examples are a great way to get the audience thinking how our ideas could come to life. We tried to realistically paint a picture in the audience’s mind of what some of these events or ideas might look like. In order to do this we went into great detail about what our best solution was. We described that having organizations bid to hosts events on certain weekends was the best solution. We then explained why, how this solution would be implemented, what problems could come up, what resources we needed, who would be involved and what the incentive for organizations to do this plan is. We tried to think of everything possible that would be needed for our plan to work properly. We did this because we knew the best way to persuade our audience was to leave no doubt in their mind that our solution was the best solution.
Our group showed that our message was a quality message because of the way we adapted our message for each of our two main audiences, conducted thorough research, compared our findings to our restrictions and to our audience’s needs, and organized our presentation to be helpful in explaining out solution.