118 College Dr. #5131
Hattiesburg, MS 39406--5131
I am honored to be elected to the presidency of the Southern States Communication Association.
I welcome ideas as I am charged to preside over the association and its annual convention in New Orleans, LA, April 2 - 6, 2014.
Some background about me: After receiving the Ph.D. (University of Kansas, 1991) I moved South to the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, where I am now a Professor of Communication Studies teaching courses in organizational communication, conflict management, and humor in communication, along with business and professional speaking and small group communication. Current research involves developing a model of humor in human communication, building on years of research in that topic as well as in children’s communication in organizations.
My experience with the Southern States Communication Association began with my first trip to that wonderful convention city, San Antonio. From the start, I found SSCA to be a welcoming place. Ever since, I have experienced SSCA to be a group that not only welcomes scholars but gives supportive yet useful critiques to them, and I have continued to find unequaled opportunities for networking and professional friendships there.
Activity in the Communication Theory and Applied Communication Divisions began my service to SSCA. I chaired the Applied Communication Division, planning its programs for St. Louis in 1999 and Baton Rouge in 2005. I also planned the Bostrom Young Scholar panels for another San Antonio convention in 1998. In 2000, I was elected as SSCA’s representative to the NCA Nominating Committee. The greatest SSCA project for me began in 2004, as I became Editor-Elect of the Southern Communication Journal. Editing the journal (2006-2008) was most rewarding, as I gained exposure to multiple and varied research in the field, with the opportunity to provide supportive critique to all and bring a select few forward for public presentation in print. More recently I served as chair of the SSCA Publications Committee.
Kids Talking incorporates insights and conclusions
Thanks for the website visit!
I keep busy at the
University of Southern Mississippi How about a full
in Hattiesburg, MS with: VITA?
Past FAMILY PICTURES.
Unisys Satellite View
JOHN MEYER'S RESEARCH
on communicating with children
I spent several years observing
and interacting with children and staff at a local Child Development Center.
It has been fascinating to see how children learn to manage relationships
in one of their first organizations outside of the family.
Here are five key guiding principles that should guide our communication with small children (they often need adult help to do these; but adults must model these communication styles also):
1. Expressions of feeling are important in all settings. It is important to express emotions in a controlled way, to constructively express emotions and desires through words, and acknowledge that others have feelings, too!
2. Understanding and following rules is important for maintaining order. Children need a sense of order in their lives, and their communication is no exception. It is important to take turns so all who want to can talk or play. One must also learn to balance sharing with respecting others' property.
3. Relationship building is central to developing a supportive communication climate. Simply spending time with a child communicates an important sense of support and relationship. We should make every effort to praise their effort and accomplishment. Too often, children are only "corrected" or "scolded" without the balancing praise.
4. Giving good reasons helps influence others. Simply screaming, yelling, or commanding messages are not welcomed by children or adults. Giving reasons for requests and trying several different messages if the first does not work are helpful strategies.
5. Everybody must learn to constructively deal with conflicts. Sometimes, people just want to be by themselves. Other times, we can move to a new area or topic so as to not draw out a conflict. Finally, facing conflicts by talking them out can save the relationship later. Current anger does not have to end a friendship, and for children it almost never does.
These guidelines and examples are presented in:
Meyer, J., & Driskill, G. (2000). Helping tots talk to tots. In W. I. Gorden & C. G. Waugh (Eds.), Let's Talk: A Cognitive Skills Approach to Interpersonal Communication (pp. 390-394). Dubuque, IA: Kendall-Hunt.
The following are the ten basic communication strategies
children use for managing their relationships:
1. A Statement About Friendship. Clear statements were made about whether or not the communicators were friends.
2. Proximity or Closeness. Sitting next to or playing near another person indicated liking; staying away from that person indicated uncertainty or dislike.
3. Touching or Hugging. Physical contact usually indicated strong liking or affection, except hitting or kicking, of course, which indicated the opposite.
4. Listening. This involved telling others about something that had happened, and having the other party stay and listen.
5. Expression of Feelings. By yelling, calling names, pouting, or saying some variant of "I love you" or "I hate you," children would simply give voice to their feelings. This category included all simple verbalizations or exclamations indicating an emotion.
6. Engaging in Conflict. Whether confronting another child over a desired toy, or attempting to manage a problem to please both parties, children would regularly engage in conflict.
7. Joking or Teasing. Having the effect of symbolically separating one child or group from another, or showing that a relationship was going well, use of humor was a common strategy.
8. Playing or Taking Roles with one another. Often interactions began with a simple assignment of roles for a game, or relationships were established as children simply inserted themselves in a game role for a time.
9. Use of Control. People liked to be given power or consent to the enactment of power by others, to maintain a sense of order.
10. Appeal to Rules. One or both parties would claim that rules for behavior determined what should be done, or, alternatively, point out that they had been violated.
More details of the study which brought out the above may be found in:
Meyer, J., & Driskill, G. (1997). Children
and relationship development: Communication strategies in a day care
center. Communication Reports, 10, 75-85.
The following lists some other research results:
Meyer, J. (2000). Humor as a double-edged sword: Four functions of humor in communication. Communication Theory, 10 (3), 310-331.
Three theories of humor creation emerge in humor research: the relief theory, which focuses on releasing tension; the incongruity theory, singling out violations of a learned pattern; and the superiority theory, involving a sense of victory or triumph. Because each theory tries to explain all instances of humor, differing communication effects of humor remain unexplained. Humor's enactment leads to four basic functions of humor in communication. Two tend to unite communicators through identification and clarification. The other two tend to divide one set of communicators from others by the enforcement and differentiation functions. Humor can serve to unify and divide audiences, and lay out social boundaries.Meyer, J. (1997). Humor in member narratives: Uniting and dividing at work. Western Journal of Communication, 61, 188-208.
By providing a less threatening means of acknowledging disagreement, humor served to promote unity among organizational members by reinforcing shared values and establishing the social order within the organization in the face of incongruous or conflicting values. Through enabling members to shift between unifying and differentiating narratives, humor allowed organization members to maintain unity in the face of diversity.Meyer, J. (1995). Seeking organizational unity: Building bridges in response to mystery. Southern Communication Journal, 61, 210-219.
Mystery, instead of being a state that must be solved or eliminated, is actually necessary for the formation and maintenance of organizations. Separation, strangeness, and hierarchy are three sources of mystery which should be strategically used by organization members to enhance communication at work.Meyer, J. (1995). Tell me a story: Eliciting organizational values from narratives. Communication Quarterly, 43, 210-224.
A system for characterizing organizational cultures through their values is detailed, applied and discussed. The unique values advocated in an organization can be elicited through narratives, revealing how members believe they ought to behave as participants in their unique organizational culture, and how they persuasively advocate those values through narratives.Meyer, J., & Carlin, D. B. (1994). The impact of formats on voter reaction. In D. B. Carlin & M. S. McKinney (Eds.), The 1992 Presidential Debates in Focus (pp. 69-83). Westport, CT: Praeger.
The 1992 presidential debates were unique in history in that several substantially different debate formats were used in each debate. After five previous cycles of presidential debates--1960, 1976, 1980, 1984, and 1988--viewers in 1992 saw changes from the typical format of journalists asking questions of the candidates. The single moderator format proved especially popular with viewers, and it was observed that more "real" debate occurred among the three presidential candidates.Meyer, J., & Sypher, B. D. (1993). Personal constructs as indicators of cultural values. Southern Communication Journal, 58, 227-238.
Values are embedded in organization members' interpersonal constructs, which are mental tools used for evaluating others. Personal constructs revealed personal values, which grouped together indicated organizational values such as consideration for others, personability, and integrity.Meyer, J. (1990). Ronald Reagan and humor: A politician's velvet weapon. Communication Studies, 41, 76-88.
For Ronald Reagan campaigning for the presidency, humor served as a "velvet weapon" with which he could make argumentative points as effective rhetorical appeals while at the same time entertaining or ingratiating an audience.Meyer, J. (1990). Theodore Roosevelt's enactment of sincerity in Milwaukee. Kansas Speech Journal, 50 (2), 9-20.
Theodore Roosevelt had a unique opportunity to enact the values he was campaigning for in the presidential election of 1912. While preparing to travel to an auditorium in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to make a campaign speech, Roosevelt was shot in the chest. He insisted on delivering the speech anyway, before receiving medical attention, and provided a compelling enactment of three virtues he had long advocated: courage, sincerity, and devotion to duty.
My Organizational Communication class at Mugshots for burgers, December 7, 2010 (I am back there in the shadow).
Students Solitah Brookshire, Lacey Myers, Jessica Nester, Heather Evans, Jessica Arender, Erin Gibson, Taylor Risk, Nicole Waaga, Ben Baker, and Zach Carr joined me.
I have taught the following courses in the Department of Communication Studies here at the University of Southern Mississippi:
Seminar on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
Seminar on Humor and Communication Research
Seminar on Organizational Communication Cultures
Problems in Organizational Communication
Seminar on Humor in Communication
Seminar on Communication and Organizational Culture
Communication and Conflict Resolution
Organizational Communication II
Organizational Communication I
Small Group Communication
Business and Professional Speaking
UNV 101 University Success Skills (First Year/Transfer Orientation)
Back at the University of Kansas, I taught the following as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Communication Studies:
COMS 331 Persuasive Speaking
COMS 310 Introduction to Organizational Communication
COMS 150 Personal Communication
COMS 130 Fundamentals of Speech
A PHILOSOPHY OF TEACHING
by John C. Meyer
Teaching should not involve simply the transfer of knowledge,
but a creation and stimulation of the ability to think. Thus,
teaching is far more than lecturing in a classroom.
Teaching should be a learning experience for the instructor as well as for the students. No one can know all there is to know about a subject, or have thought all there is to be thought about it. In describing new material to students, some aspects or implications of it are new to the instructor as well. If this is not happening, the teacher is not thinking about the material, and therefore can hardly expect to motivate students to do so.
For true interest in the material to be generated, interaction between teacher and student must form at least a part of the experience. Otherwise, a teacher may simply return time and again to say what needs to be said to each class, rather than trying to communicate with students. Students, in turn, may take notes on or read the material, yet gain nothing from it in their lives. To prevent this, a stimulation of interaction can also stimulate thought in both parties.
This is not to say that polished, organized, well-delivered lectures are not desirable. But all aspects of the communication loop, including speaker, message, receivers and their feedback, should be complete. Teaching is in itself effective communication.
When giving assignments and setting standards, one should be as clear and specific as possible about expectations. What ambiguity remains should be left to the creativity of students. It is not effective teaching to expect students to "mind-read" and produce a product exactly as the teacher desires, unless a teacher has specifically set forth the basic guidelines to follow. Generally, assignments with no ambiguity, allowing little chance for creativity and thought, are less effective in teaching.
Assignments turned in should be graded and returned as soon as possible. Just as anyone wants a response to messages sent out, students want a response to theirs. The feedback should be clear about the grade, reasons for it and suggestions for improvement. After all, a grade should not be desired in itself, but as an indicator to show what was done effectively and to show what can be done better.
Teaching and learning should both be fun. But both are also hard work. Neither should be absent from the experience. If there is no pain and all happiness, nothing new may be learned or taught. Concurrently, if there is no reward or exhilaration in learning, one may wonder "what is the purpose?" and give up entirely. A teacher's eternal challenge is to balance these two competing elements of learning to make students and teachers both better persons in the end.
Southern States Communication Association:
President, 2013 -
Vice President, 2012 - 2013
President-Elect, 2011 -
Chair, Publications Committee, 2010 - 2011
Editor, Southern Communication Journal, 2006 - 2008
Editor-Elect, Southern Communication Journal, 2004 - 2005
SSCA representative to the 2000 National Communication Association Nominating Committee.
Chair, Applied Comm. Division, April 1999 - April 2000; April 2005 - April 2006.
Vice-Chair, Applied Communication Division, April 1998 - April 1999; April 2004 - April 2005. Planned programs for the 1999 Annual Convention, St. Louis, MO; 2005 Annual Convention, Baton Rouge, LA.
Program Planner, Bostrom Young Scholars Competition, San Antonio, TX, April 4, 1998.
Secretary, Applied Communication Division, April 1995 - April 1997.
Bylaws Committee, Applied Communication Division, April 1992 - April 1993.
Editorial Board, Southern Communication Journal, 2001 – 2004; 2008 -
Human Relations, 2004 – 2008.
Humour: International Journal of Humor Research, 2004 - 2005.
Journal of Applied Communication Research, 2001 - 2004.
Management Communication Quarterly, 1999 - 2002.
Communication Studies, 1995 - 2000.
Communication Needs of Students at Risk Commission, National Communication Association, 2001, 2002.
Applied Communication Division, Southern States Communication Association, 1993, 1994; 1997, 2000.
Communication Theory Division, Southern States Communication Association, 1995, 1996; 2001, 2006.
Carolinas Communication Annual, 2001.
Kansas Speech Journal, 1991 - 1993.
Journal of the Oklahoma Speech Theatre Communication Association, 1993.
Volunteer, Pine Belt Family Y Youth Programs, Hattiesburg, MS (after-school
program for children), January 2008 - .
Volunteer, Peer Group Facilitator, Family Network Partnership, Hattiesburg, MS
(after-school program for teenagers and children), August, 2004 – May
2006; August 2007 – December 2007.
Facilitator for Campus/Community Discussion on Teenagers, Campus
Link/Americorps Study Circles, Hattiesburg Public Library, March 22,
2004 and April 5, 2004.
Forensic Judge, Mississippi Health Occupations Students of America, state convention, April 3, 1992.
Classroom Volunteer, Lawrence Community Children's Center (Head Start Program), September 1988 - May 1991.
Graduate School Service:
Director of Graduate Studies, Communication Studies Department, July 2008 -
Ph.D. Committees Directed: M. A. Committees Directed:
Paul Stafford (2013) Patty Malone (2000)
Leslie Rodriguez (2012)
Jennifer L. McLaughlin (2012)
Rebecca Woodrick (2009)
Jane Ann Mattina (2008)
George Pacheco, Jr. (2008)
Raymond Kyle Jones (2008)
Matthew Ramsey (2007)
Heather Grace Stark (2006)
Misty Knight (2005)
William Cole Franklin (2004)
Noi Thitirat Phukanchana (2004)
Sylvia Goldman (2003)
Doran O’Donnell (2003)
Stephanie Thomson (2003)
Ph.D. Committees Directing:
Chair, Graduate Studies Committee, Department of Speech Communication, August 2007 -
Chair, Graduate Studies Committee, USM School of Communication, May 1992 - May 1996.
Chair, Master's Examination Committee, USM Department of Speech Communication, 1992 - 1993.
Classroom Volunteer, USM Center for Child Development, August 1992 -
University of Southern Mississippi Textbook Coordinator, 2010 - 2012.
Faculty Excellence in Service Award, College of Arts and Letters, 2007.
Elected College of Liberal Arts/College of Arts and Letters Representative to USM Faculty Senate, June 2000 – June 2004; October 2004 – June 2010.
Secretary, June 2009 – June 2010.
Secretary-Elect, June 2008 – June 2009.
Chair, Faculty Welfare Committee, August 2001 - June 2004.
Policies and Procedures Committee Member, Department of Communication Studies/Speech
Communication, August 2006 - May 2007; August 2008 - .
General Studies Advisor, USM College of Arts and Letters/Liberal Arts, June
1995 – June 2009.
Summer Reading Program Facilitator, August 2002 – August 2006.
Chair, Theater and Dance Department Chair Search Committee, 2005 – 2006.
University Mediation Advisory Board member, Fall 2002 - Spring 2006.
Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Service to Students with Disabilities, July, 2005
College Governance Document Committee, USM College of Arts and Letters,
Dean's Search Committee, USM College of Arts and Letters, Spring 2003.
“Professor of the Year,” 2000, USM Student Communication Association.
Chair, University Research Council, 2000 - 2001.
Liberal Arts College Representative to the University Research Council, 1998 –
Chaired Liberal Arts College and University Summer Research Grant Selection Committees, 1998, 1999.
Elected alternate representative to the College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Advisory Council, 1999-2001.
Member, College Council, USM College of Liberal Arts, September, 1994 - September, 1996.
Ph. D., 1991, University of Kansas,
Dissertation: Values and Narratives in Organizational Messages.
M. A., 1988, University of Kansas,
Thesis: Ronald Reagan and Humor: Three Theoretical Approaches to a Politician and
His Velvet Weapon.
B. S., 1986, Phillips University,
(Major: Mass Communication)
Coursework included writing for newspaper publication and radio broadcast and assisting in
the filming of an educational documentary.
High School: Bear Creek High School, Lakewood, Colorado, 1978-1982.
PROFESSOR, Communication Studies Department, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, 8/2002 -
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, Speech Communication Department, University of Southern
Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS
8/1996 - 8/2002
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, Speech Communication Department, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS
8/1991 - 8/1996
GRADUATE TEACHING ASSISTANT, Communication Studies Department, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
8/1986 - 5/1991
GRADUATE ASSISTANT TO THE DIRECTOR OF GRADUATE STUDIES, Communication Studies Department, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
9/1988 - 5/1990
CASHIER, Golden Foods, Lakewood, CO
5/1983 - 8/1983; 5/1986 - 8/1986
BROADCAST PRODUCTION INTERN, KGWA-AM/KUAL-FM, Enid, OK
10/1985 - 3/1986
OFFICE ASSISTANT, Gary-Williams Oil Producer, Denver, CO
5/1985 - 8/1985; 12/1985
ASSISTANT EDITOR, Phillips University Haymaker, Enid, OK
1/1984 - 5/1984; 8/1984 - 12/1984
BROADCAST NEWS INTERN, KDEN News Radio, Denver, CO
5/1984 - 8/1984
RECEIVING WORKER, Montgomery Ward, Lakewood, CO
5/1984 - 8/1984
OFFICE TRAINEE, Amoco Production Company, Denver, CO
6/1982 - 8/1982