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News & Events

What Can You Learn this Month?

The final week of Interterm 2007 offers courses beginning Monday, Jan. 22, on folding

paper, how to play Bridge, Sri Lankan and Chinese cooking, traditional Korean dance, and more.

The Interterm Program, now in its ninth year, is a series of non-credit courses taught by Smith community members -- students, staff, faculty, alumnae and associates. This year’s program runs through Friday, Jan. 26.

News & Events profiled a few of the Interterm Program courses. This week:

Merrilyn Lewis, advancement

January 23-25, 2-3 p.m., Seelye 106
Savvy Socializing: How to Greet, Meet and Connect with Others
Instructor: Merrilyn Lewis, advancement

No matter what you do in life, notes Merrilyn Lewis, an advancement officer, socializing skills are important. And yet, socializing is one of the most common human phobias.

“They have medication to help handle [the fear], so you know it’s widespread,” she says. “People are concerned over what to talk about, not wanting to sound stupid, and feeling awkward disengaging from a conversation.”

To help assuage those fears, Lewis has taught her Savvy Socializing course during Interterm for six years, and it’s become a popular selection among students. Often, enrollees in her course are Smith seniors embarking on the job search and in need of smooth interviewing and schmoozing skills. After all, Lewis explains, “if given a choice between a really talented co-worker who is difficult to get along with, or a competent person with good social skills, most people will select the person with the good social skills.”

Lewis maintains a light atmosphere during the three-day course, she says. “It’s quite light-hearted and fun, while the advice is very practical and immediately applicable.”

She will instruct her students in ways to help others feel comfortable, how to join a conversation in progress and exit a conversation gracefully. “Also, it’s important to know what to talk about, how to listen attentively, and how to work a room during a networking session,” she says.

Most importantly, Lewis’ students will gain confidence in social situations, she says, so that the next time they find themselves chatting at house tea, trying to gain rapport with an interviewer, searching for the right utensil during dinner at the president’s house, or fumbling for something to say on a first date -- they’ll know what to do.

1/19/07   By Eric Sean Weld
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