What Does Your Workspace Clutter Say About You?

spectacles on table in office

Every office has one: the guy or gal that always seems to be just a step or two behind, frazzled, messy and has a workspace that’s cluttered. This co-worker could be producing the most amazing work and still, their reputation is going to remain as the messy, unorganized peer. Is that person lacking organizational skills?

If your desktop hasn’t seen the light of day in a while, you might want to consider improving your organizational skills – not only for your own sanity, but to start doing damage control on your poor office reputation. Getting started is the hardest part and this is where the seasoned vets at the Jaycees come in.

First, you need to physically organize your space. Every paper on your desk should have a home, whether that home is a folder, filing cabinet or outbox. Have any Post-it notes that have lost relevance long ago? Trash ‘em. Any crumbs or coffee cup rings on your workspace? Clean it ASAP. Once these tasks are complete, it will be a little easier to think.

Next, it’s necessary to get to the root of the problem: why are you so darn messy? Are you lacking in time management skills? If this is the case, be sure to allocate yourself just a few minutes every day to help you keep a clean space.

Finally, it’s time to delve into your digital disorder. If you haven’t been diligently deleting unimportant interoffice emails (ahem, reply alls) or work-related items that are no longer important, it is time to clear that clutter as well. This will help cut down on time when you actually need to find something in your inbox. And this is where you can get the extra time you need to organize daily! Funny how things work, right?

Just remember that you are not decluttering just because it isn’t easy on the eyes. Improving your organizational skills will undoubtedly help you in the workplace AND it will give your co-workers and boss a much better impression (hello, promotion!). Do you have any organizational tips of your own? Visit our Facebook or Twitter pages and let us know!


Improving Leadership Skills through Education

Group of students

As members of a professional organization like the Jaycees, we tend to cultivate different skills through our social interactions with each other and in the workplace. However, is there a certain point we reach that we can no longer just count on these interactions to improve our skills? While we one never stops improving, one of the most effective ways to improve leadership skills is through education.

What is your leadership style? The best way to start improving your leadership skills is to understand the best way for you to lead. There are many quizzes out there that can help evaluate your dominant skills and determine how they help or hinder your leadership abilities. (Educate yourself here to find out the areas in which you need assistance.)

Learn more about communication. We don’t doubt that most Jaycee members are able to effectively communicate with one another, but how do you fare on providing one-on-one communication? Are you able to take nonverbal cues from peers/coworkers/team members that could influence your effectiveness as a leader? Communication is key when it comes to becoming a better leader so make sure that you are aware of what is required of you.

Be motivating. How do great leaders get their team to spring into action? Motivational leadership, that’s how! Check out some great tips to help yourself learn a little more about how to inspire those you lead here.

Consider continuing education. If you are interested in making a career out of being a great leader, perhaps you should consider furthering your education, With an additional bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree, one can become a ninja-level leader.

One great thing about being a member of the Jaycees is that we never stop learning, whether we simply listen and learn from our peers or we take the time to fine-tune the skills that we wish to improve. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Jaycee, contact us today!


Building Blocks: How Large Does Your Network Need to Be?

Social network

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again – “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Of course, your network can’t make up for lack of knowledge or capability, but they can help get you an interview when you might otherwise not. While building a network, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s the quality of the connections you make that matter – not the quantity.Your network should and will continue to grow as long as it is beneficial to you – however, handing out business cards at any chance you get will earn you no favors down the road. Here are some simple guidelines to follow to keep increasing your network with quality industry professionals:

  • Do something nice for someone in your network at least once a week. Yup, being nice is a way to increase your network. But how do you grow your network if you focus on the people that you already know, you ask? It’s simple! People talk and if you do enough selfless acts (we’re not talking moving mountains here – more like bringing in donuts, passing along a job opportunity to someone that may be a fit, exceeding expectations on deadlines, etc.) for others, it will become apparent and those people will remember you when speaking with others in their network. Do unto others, right?

  • Make an effort to meet new people in your industry at least once a month. Again, you’re hearing us right – just once a month. It could be as simple as attending your local Jaycee chapter meetings, a business-women networking event, an entrepreneur meetup group or more. Not only does this give you the opportunity to enjoy after-hours time with your peers, you also are getting your name and face out there while enjoying a nice night out.

  • Maintain existing relationships. Ok, so this final bit of advice is a mixture of the first two but important nonetheless. Making contacts is important, but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Cultivating those relationships will show that you are invested in them, giving you the benefit of the doubt when an opportunity arises. Remember that it is the tortoise that wins the race, not the hare.

Networking is all about building relationships not increasing the amount of connections you have on LinkedIn. Would you honestly put yourself out there of an industry professional that you know nothing about other than their business card credentials? Be in the forefront of everyone’s mind for the right reasons. Not a member of the Jaycees? You’re missing out on a great opportunity to create some meaningful networking connections! Visit our website to find out more about our organization and how to join.

The Jaycees Through the Years: Charles Lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh, wearing helmet with goggles up

Over the ninety-three years of the United States Junior Chamber – or the Jaycees – has been an organization, we’ve seen some very bright and famous names become members of our organization. Did you know that before he was the first person in history to travel on a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean he became a member of the Jaycees? Together, the Jaycees and Charles Lindbergh helped make history.

Pre-Jaycees, Charles Lindbergh attended engineering school at the University of Wisconsin – that is before he dropped out to learn how to fly! And boy, are we lucky he did. After joining the Jaycees, Lindbergh graduated from Nebraska Aircraft Corporation in 1925 at the top of his class. No surprises there!

With the Jaycees’ national project focusing on the development of aviation, it was only a natural pairing for Lindbergh and our professional networking organization to work together to help improve how we are using flight to the country’s advantage. Before the flight from New York to Paris, Lindbergh and other Jaycee members collaborated to develop what we now know as our current mail system: airmail.

After that, the rest is history (no pun intended). Lindbergh wowed the world when he achieved ultimate fame by completing the first trans-Atlantic solo flight. He eventually settled down, married and had a family. Following a long period of war, drama and family tragedies, the Lindberghs finally found solace in travel and permanently took up residence in Maui, HI until his death in 1974.

Not only did Charles Lindbergh do so much to increase recognition for the United States Junior Chamber, he also was a pioneer in aviation and many of the luxuries we know today would not be possible without his knowledge. Do you have a favorite Famous or well-known Jaycee member that you would like to see featured in our “The Jaycees Through the Years” series? Visit our Facebook or Twitter and let us know!

Image credit: photograph by John M. Noble via Wikimedia Commons

Jaycee Reunion Picnic

Al Fresco Dining With Hamburgers And Salad

The Iowa Governor’s Association will be hosting the Annual Jaycee Reunion Picnic on Saturday, August 24 from 3-6pm at Ellis Park in Cedar Rapids.

All current and past Jaycees and their spouses are invited to attend.  The Governor’s Association will be providing a grill and picnic shelter.  Attendees are asked to bring meat to grill, a dish to share, table setting, and beverage of your choice.

There is also an option to attend the Kernel’s Baseball Game that night at 6:30pm.  Tickets are $8-11.

Contact Tracy Taylor, 1965blackcloud@gmail.com, with any questions.

Exploring the U.N. Millennium Development Goals: Part One

MDG1_July copy

The United States Junior Chamber has adopted the U.N. Millennium Development Goals as our public policy platform. The Millennium Development Goals – or MDGs – are eight ambitious goals set by the United Nations to address some of the most pressing needs here in the United States and also around the world. The US Junior Chamber and our state and local organizations are doing our part to help the U.N. achieve the following goals:

  1. Ending poverty and hunger

  2. Universal education

  3. Gender equality

  4. Child health

  5. Maternal health

  6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases

  7. Environmental sustainability

  8. Global partnership

Why exactly did the Jaycees choose to support the U.N.’s MDGs? The Jaycee Creed aligns specifically with what the United Nations is trying to accomplish worldwide, specifically, “…that Service to Humanity is the Best Work of Life!” We are happy and proud to be a part of the most successful global anti-poverty push in history.

With two more years to achieve the lofty goals set, there is still work to be done. While many Millennium Development Goals have or will be met by the 2015 deadline, progress in many areas is still short. Join the United Nations in their efforts by participating in events with your local Junior Chambers chapter. Tune in next week for details on how you can help!

Why “Real Talk” is Still Important in an E-Based World

Four businesspeople in boardroom with paperwork smiling

Texting, emailing and social media – oh my! If you are like one of the billions of people that are online every day, whether for business or personal use, you have probably grown accustomed to meeting, conversing and doing business electronically. While the young professionals at the Iowa Junior Chamber concede that conducting business online makes life easier, there is no electronic replica of face time (no, not Facetime on your Mac) with your customers, colleagues and clients. What are the benefits of actually attending a meeting in-person rather than one over Skype or email?

  • Making an impression. How can you compliment someone’s new office building or give a solid handshake over a Google Hangouts meeting? Without face-to-face meetings, we miss out on different conversation starters that are likely to leave your client or customer with good memories and lasting impressions.
  • Create connections. Business calls are just that – business. We might go through the motions of the niceties: “Hi, how are you? Good, me too.” Sound familiar? When you meet someone in person, you naturally cement relationships with small talk that is much more personable and effortless than the white noise you may find in emails or calls. Notice some sports memorabilia in a new client’s office? Nothing can start off a great relationship like some friendly rivalries.
  • Body language is king. Forbes Magazine has recently reported that over half of our communication is nonverbal – stemming specifically from our body language. We’ve all dealt with clients that may tell you what you want to hear, only to ask for something different in the end. If you had an in-person meeting could you have saved a lot of time and money by reading their body language? Perhaps.

Innovation is what keeps the world going round and many Jaycee members will be the first ones you know with the latest and greatest in technology. While we embrace it, none of it can completely replace what you can get out of human contact. Do you prefer to conduct your meetings in person or electronically? Visit our Facebook page or LinkedIn group and let us know which you prefer and why!

Red Regional Event



Red Regional Event

(this counts towards the visitation incentive)

 Who: YOU! Red Region, and anyone else who would like to join!  The more the merrier!

What: Red Regional Event, meet other chapters and people in the region and state!

When: July 13th (Rain Date will be July 20th)–Park Hours: 10:00 am-10:00 pm, Adventure Bay Hours: 10:00 am-8:00 pm

Where: Adventureland Park, 305 34th Ave NW, Altoona IA 50009 (meet at front gate)

Cost:  If we have more than 15 it’ll be $28+tax, 50 or more people will cost $25+tax (normal price is $40+tax)-the final cost will be determined the day of.  Price includes entrance to Adventureland and Adventure Bay (waterpark).  Bring the family!

Other Info:

In order to get the discounted price we must all get there at the same time(or money given to someone to get your ticket) and complete order in one transaction.  I will collect all the money and pay so you must have cash to get the discounted rate.

I am planning on reserving a cabana (or more if we have enough people), so I need a rough estimate of the number of people in your chapter attending asap.

The person who drives the furthest will receive 1 free ticket (2 free tickets if we have more than 50)!

If you have any questions, please contact Nick Shaull neshaull@gmail.com or visit www.adventureland-usa.com

Hope to see you there!

Three Public Speaking Skills for Earning Attention and Respect

Business presentation.

The top three things that people fear the most are death, spiders and public speaking. While many young professionals can avoid the first two, perfecting your public speaking is a task that must be tackled if you want to be well respected among your peers.  Instead of just winging it the next time you speak in front of a group, take some advice from the Jaycees.

  1. Connect with your audience. Speaking in front of a group of your peers can be approached differently than making a pitch for potential clients – but don’t forget to connect with any group to which you are speaking. If you really want to earn the attention you deserve, be honest and real – and even add a little bit humorous in the appropriate situations. Your audience will sense your confidence and they won’t be able to help but hang on your every word. If you’ve already earned the privilege of addressing them, they know you’re smart – but are you relatable?

  2. Start with an end in mind. While preparing – whether it’s five minutes before your weekly meeting or over the weekend before the biggest presentation of your career – it’s often helpful to prepare for a speech by starting with your closing message. What is it exactly that you are trying to express? It’s much easier to remain composed when you know exactly what message you’re sending and you know what it takes to make that point.

  3. Remember your body language. One thing that the Jaycees have noticed is that while a speech can be well planned and thought out, it is often poorly executed due to a lack of passion that is mostly expressed in the way you present. Did you know that more than 90 percent of communication is nonverbal? What kind of nonverbal cues are you sending your audience? Remember to smile, consider your posture, know what you are doing with your hands, don’t forget to move and keep your tone upbeat.

You’ll note that we didn’t mention confidence as a key to earning the attention and respect from your audience. The Jaycees believe that once you perfect the skills that we have outlined, your confidence will soon follow. Do you have any other tips to help advance your public speaking game? Visit out Facebook and Twitter to let us know what helps you!


Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Make Sure Your Social Media Profile Presents the Right Message


Gone are the days when your personal life and your professional life are separate – and you have social media to thank for that. We aren’t bashing social media. In fact, as a social networking club of young professionals, a lot of the Jaycees’ communication and press thrives because of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But in an age where employers are monitoring our social media contributions more than ever, it’s important to make sure you are doing your due diligence to keep a professional image on social media.

  • Pictures – Are you just entering the workforce now that you’ve graduated college? Or maybe you really take advantage of your local networking events? You may want to consider hiding, untagging or deleting all of your crazy party pictures. Employers are searching for candidates that are responsible, well represented and trustworthy. If your pictures aren’t screaming, “I’m the right choice for you to hire,” you need to address the issue. The same thing goes for being considered for raises and promotions, especially if you are connected with your employer on social media.

  • Connections – You are the company you keep. So many of us have contacts on social media that we don’t even know how we connected to in the first place. If your friends/followers/connections don’t shine a positive light on what you’re about, you may want to consider severing ties.

  • Content – Does your profile bio send the right message and is it up-to-date? Are you sharing or retweeting nothing but funny cat memes? Do you like every.single.page that comes your way? If you want your social media profile to work in your favor, think twice about what you are putting on your social networking sites – after all, it is out there forever.

Had enough social media doom and gloom? Don’t worry—when it comes to employers looking at your social networking profiles, it isn’t all bad. Most bosses actually like to see that future or current employees have a personality – you are human! When it comes to social media, just remember to use your platform of choice to best represent your most valuable asset – yourself!