Effective communication can make an immediate difference

Alumni, elevator speeches and the power of communication highlighted the opening day of The Joseph Project

First day of The Joseph Project: Monday, July 31 (8:00am-12:30pm)

The Introduction

First, I lied to you. The start time mentioned above was correct on paper. However, The Joseph Project begins promptly at 7:45am.

Why? Lombardi Time.

at 7:40am, Lucas and Mark, the two participants arrived and settled in for the 18th installment of The Joseph Project. Today’s schedule shows instruction from several people:

  • Paul Truess, Regional Director for U.S. Senator Ron Johnson
  • Paul Chamberlain (retired), Regional Director for U.S. Senator Ron Johnson
  • Jay Thompson, Attorney (retired), Everson Law Firm
  • Eugene Smalls, Case Manager, St. John’s Ministries
Paul Chamberlain introducing the participants to The Joseph Project.

Chamberlain starts the day with an in-depth look at The Joseph Project. He talks about its origins, where it started, who started it and why it began. The class was shown a short video about Pastor Jerome Smith of Milwaukee who co-started the program with Sen. Ron Johnson in 2015. The class moves into the present day with Chamberlain going over the statewide statistics of The Joseph Project. He talks about what can be achieved and what factors play into participant success such as attitude, respect, willingness to learn, and sobriety.

The Joseph Project reveals the true character of those in the room. When graduates are seeking employment, the employer partners aren’t looking for trained and experienced people, they are looking for dependable and hard-working employees. Employees that respect authority and are ready to learn. Chamberlain ends the morning introduction with a look at the future and a motivational quote to kick-off the week, “This Green Bay class is possible because of the 17 successful classes before you. It is your job to make sure the next 17 classes are possible and successful because of your work here and your success out there.”

“Success in The Joseph Project is a lot like recreating your grandma’s favorite recipe. You know the ingredients, you know you should enjoy the result, but you can never quite duplicate the recipe. That’s what The Joseph Project does. Our recipe for success guides you towards employment, but the ingredients may be a little different from one person to the next. It is up to you to find those ingredients this week, so you have them for the rest of your life.”
~ Paul Truess

The Alumni Panel

The class, following a quick break, reconvened with four new individuals standing in front. It was time for The Joseph Project alumni panel. Eugene introduced four successful alumni from past classes. These individuals took time out of their day, some of them on their lunch break, to share their experience(s) in the program, the practicality of the skills they learned, and what they’re currently doing as graduates of The Joseph Project.

  • Dakota
    • Hired at Services Plus
    • Now employed at WI Building Supply
    • Greatest skill learned at The Joseph Project – Interview confidence and skills
  • Nick
    • Joseph Project graduate in 2022
    • Hired as Services Plus, now employed by Little Rapids Corporation
    • Enjoys having other alumni mentoring him
  • Tony
    • Joseph Project graduate in 2019
    • Hired at Little Rapids Corporation (LRC)
    • Serves on the Safety Committee at LRC and on his Union Board
  • Kenard
    • Joseph Project graduate in 2019
    • Had multiple failed interviews prior to The Joseph Project
    • Greatest skill learned at Joseph Project – How to make a great first impression
Joseph Project alumni providing guidance and advice for participants.

I think it was valuable to hear from those who have graduated from the program. It creates a network of support for current participants, and the alumni that came in to speak showed how the classes changed their lives. The participants can only control their attitude and how they show up. It can be beneficial having someone to rely on and talk with when success or failure arises in the future at the workplace.

Elevator Speeches

After Mark and Lucas had heard from alumni, it was time for us to hear from them. They each stood in front of the room and pretended they were going down 10 floors in an elevator while introducing themselves to a CEO of the company they wish to work for. This exercise is known as Elevator Speeches. The purpose of this exercise was to prioritize talking points and cater the conversation to the individual(s) you are talking to.

Job interviews aren’t going to happen in an elevator, but important conversation certainly can. Mark and Lucas, although going over the expected ride time, had fantastic talking points. Together we trimmed down their elevator speeches to make any conversations in the future memorable and meaningful. Short conversations that any CEO, hiring manager, or decision maker will remember when they sit with them for an interview in the future.

The Elevator Speech exercise was a great lead into the final portion of the day – Effective Communication lead by Chamberlain. He explained the importance of true communication where parties understand the message from the same perspective. If somebody asked you to “pack the trunk,” what do you think of? Packing the suitcase in the bedroom? Organizing the trunk with luggage?

It is important to have true communication to inform, gain knowledge, persuade, entertain, and build relationships. True communication happens both verbally and nonverbally. In addition, all communication has barriers. He also stressed the importance of overcoming barriers by respecting the audience, actively listening, and repeating any unclear messages for clarification.

As we closed the day, it became clearer the importance of good communication. True two-way communication will be vital to the success of Mark and Lucas in The Joseph Project and in the workplace moving forward.

I’ll share more about the second full day of The Joseph Project next week. Stay tuned.

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