Association of University Administrators Conference

April 3, 2008

It is not just the complexities of higher education management that challenges delegates at the Association of University Administrators annual conference.

Alongside weighty topics such as crisis management and strategic change, delegates were offered sessions covering basics such as how to read, how to write and how to meet people.

In one 90-minute seminar, James Craig, a financial accountant at the University of Leeds, aimed to teach delegates the art of effective business writing. "Being able to communicate effectively in writing is a skill that can be lacking, even among highly educated people," the session publicity said.

"Whether you are sending a quick e-mail to a colleague or drafting a report to senior management addressing complex matters, this will help you communicate your message clearly and succinctly."

Another session, led by Jane Smith of consultancy firm Word Smiths, also focused on literacy, introducing delegates to speed reading.

"In this age of information overload, the mountains of reading material that bombard us all seem to grow bigger as each day passes. Being able to manage this glut of information has become a vital skill," the seminar notes said, adding that speed reading techniques can enable "virtually everyone" to read from 500 to 1,000 words per minute.

Higher education consultant Jo Kan addressed the subject of how to network. "You've heard the adage a million times before: it's not what you know it's who you know, and the reason you've heard it so many times is because there's some truth in it," said the seminar notes.

"The best part of networking," she said, "is that moment of stunned realisation after you've hit it off with someone new, someone you hesitated to meet because introducing yourself seemed awkward or intimidating."

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