News - Crash Course in Confidence Brought to You By Experience First

Crash Course in Confidence Brought to You By Experience First

By Carla Morris

Lincoln Siebert

What do you get when you cross a phone-phobic college student with a semester-long project that requires dozens of phone calls to vendors across North America?

If you are Lincoln Siebert ’17, you get skills that bolster your confidence and help you secure a job.

For the record, Lincoln’s discomfort “working the phones” probably didn’t approach “phobia,” but he avoided initiating phone calls and disliked soliciting information via voice-mail.

That was before his Experience First semester with the Briner School of Business at Greenville University (formerly Greenville College)—a semester-long assignment that cultivated these skills and more.

No Clue, But Willing

“I come from a small town and grew up speaking with the same people every day,” the management major explained, “ . . . not a way to strengthen my public relation skills.”

To compound the challenge at the outset, Lincoln knew little about the subject of his phone calls—leasing a synthetic ice-skating rink at a price that fit the budget of his assigned business partner, Eckert’s Family Farms. Lincoln’s four teammates, students just like him, were also novices on the subject.

“No one wanted to call the businesses and talk money,” Lincoln recalls. To move the project forward, he picked up the phone. Then, he picked it up again and again.

Eckert’s installed the rink in January as part of a plan to increase traffic to its country store and restaurant during the slower winter months. Lincoln graduated in May, skilled and experienced in problem-solving, collaboration, communication and more.

Between installation of the rink and graduation, Lincoln secured a job assisting with the construction of a milk-processing plant. He now engages engineers and retailers to secure quotes and gather information. Once the plant is complete, he will manage the operation.

Lincoln no longer worries about appearing confident and knowledgeable; he is confident and knowledgeable.

The Fast Track to “Professional”

Experience First pairs teams of students with business partners to address “real world,Experience First Eckerts high stakes” challenges. For students like Lincoln, it is the fast track to confidence as well.

Here are four lessons from Experience First that helped Lincoln cultivate self-assurance:

Embrace professionalism – Working with business partners meant stepping up Lincoln’s game. He and his teammates learned to carry themselves professionally in dress, manner and speech.

Convert the overwhelming into small tasks – By Lincoln’s account, he and his teammates could easily have given in to intimidation at the large project. Instead, they broke it down into a series of small projects with checkpoints along the way. Seeing real progress at each point gave them small victories to celebrate and kept them moving forward.

Collaborate – There is strength in "team." “Listen to others,” advises Lincoln. Even some aspect of a bad idea may have value and turn your good idea into a better idea.

Proactively shape first impressions – At the end of the semester, Lincoln’s team presented an account of the project to an audience of faculty, students and administrators. With hay bales, ice skates and Eckert's baskets, he and his teammates went above and beyond to create an atmosphere of Eckert’s family fun as a backdrop to their story.

“The first impression that people received even before we began talking was, ‘this is good,'" explains Lincoln. If people expect “good,” he adds, it’s easier to convince them that it is good.

Learn More

Click on the video below to learn more about the confidence that comes with Experience First.

Students Exceed Expectations Putting Experience First
Satisfied Businesses Turn to GC’s “Experience First” Program Again
GC Announces “Experience First” Educational Initiative

You can help students embrace the idea of giving their work as worship with your gift to Greenville University today. Click here to give.

Together Inspired-sm

This story was published on June 08, 2017

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