Technical Communications in the Telecommunications Industry

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(Dr. Amy Heitzmann with her son Logan)


I was staring at my phone, because I knew right when the clock turned two, I was going to get an important phone call. Sure enough, like clockwork, I was getting a call from the great Dr. Amy Heitzmann. She is the reason many are able to read this blog, perhaps you too. She provides the service for her customers to utilize the internet and talk on the phone. I was very excited to get her thoughts and experience on technical communications in the telecommunications industry.

About Dr. Heitzmann


Dr. Amy Heitzmann is from Leo Indiana. She has three wonderful children Logan (20), Grace (13), and Olivia (9). She works full-time as a Senior Network Engineer for Frontier Communications (formerly Verison) in Fort Wayne Indiana. She has been employed with Frontier for nearly 18 years. She adjunct teach at one of the local colleges as needed. She likes having the opportunity to communicate and interact with the younger generation as they look to enter the work force.

The Path From Business to Engineering


She began her career with a Bachelor’s of Business from the University of Saint Francis and accepted a full-time internship with Frontier. They encouraged her to accept a position as an administrator in the engineer group, which opened the door for her to work her way up to now a Senior Network Engineer. Being able to speak face to face is an important part of her daily job.”I love being able to be in the field interacting with customers and fellow co-workers, while still balancing the office work required. This job offers me a variety of experiences each and every day,” stated Dr. Heitzmann.

 

The Importance of Written Communication


She writes a good amount on a daily basis ranging from emails, documents, and proposals required within her job. Being able to provide correct information to protect and secure the network from damages is very important to her work. She double checks her emails to make sure she has not included anything that customer/co-workers might misunderstand. “Being able to communication clearly and effectively can be the difference in a successful or struggling employee. There are some situations where it is critical that conversations are documented in writing,” explained Dr. Heitzmann.

Overcoming Challenges of Communication


The market place is extremely global, which can cause many different issues in communicating. Many different factors play a role in this challenge, ranging from time zone differences, language barriers, and differences in cultural. Whenever possible, she tries to meet with co-workers and customers face to face. If time zones are a problem, she adapt to their timeframe.

 

When she first started in her career, she was nervous to talk to people who had more authority than her or individuals of the opposite sex. “Someone is always going to have something to say about you, but if you are forthcoming and honest your best foot is usually ahead,” Dr. Heitzmann advised.

Dr. Heitzmann’s Communication Preference


“To this day, I believe being able to communicate face to face verbally is the best form because it relieves some of the challenges that can be associated with written communication, social media, and texting,” stated Dr. Heitzmann. She believes communicating face to face allows some of the misunderstandings that can occur with other means of communication to be eliminated. So much is lost in texting and emotions can be misunderstood completely.

Words of Wisdom


Dr. Heitzmann added at the end of the interview:

“I think all situations are different and you have to learn to adjust to a variety of settings in the work force.  It will not always be easy and sometimes you will be frustrated beyond means, but you have to learn to control your emotions and march forward.”

Arthessius Hampton, Guest Blogger

IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATION IN THE MARKETING FIELD

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Ashleigh Steelhammer, a 2014 Louisiana Tech graduate, is the Marketing Director for a large insurance and financial company called Horace Mann. One of Ashleigh’s favorite quotes is “Always dress for the job you want, not the job you have”. This new job is fairly new to her, but she has had previous marketing positions working with University of Texas Athletic Departments and McNeese State University. During the search of a new job, she pushed herself to new limits and did not stop until it was the “Director” position. This was a process that took communication between potential employers that eventually led her to .

Ashleigh Steelhammer

Communication in Marketing

Communication is very important in the Marketing field. It has several different forms with different levels of people, such as executives and even graphic designers. Communication is integrated into every aspect of marketing because marketers work is published into the community and whether the marketing job was effective or not is subjective among its viewers. Ashleigh said this about her current job, “Communication will make or break my role. I have to be in constant communication with my boss (who is the sales agent). If he plans meetings or workshops, it is up to us to relay that back and forth to each other. If I have new ideas or strategies we want to implement, I have to let him know the new direction we are going or what changes I have made to a presentation. Not only is communication key between Keith and myself, but also with our clients and target market.”

Freedom in Marketing

A job in Marketing has the freedom to let you have a voice and it allows you to see your ideas come into light. Personally, that is why I want to go into this field and why Ashleigh has been in it for five years. It is one where your communication must be excellent so your customer service is not altered by the decision of not following through with your task. Horrace Mann teaches its employees that customer service is above anything and that is including promptness with communication and successful return rates with potential customers. Since Ashleigh is new to this job and never worked in the insurance or financial field, she has been working overtime so she can fulfill the expectations of her bosses and customers.

Effects of Poor Communication

Ashleigh talked about if there is poor communication within her office then it causes pressure and frustration between employees. For example, she was the project manager at Branded Company while working for her other employers. In this job, she oversaw all the graphic designers and one of the designers did not care to meet her deadline on time. Since she was first in the project line, it set everyone behind her starting later than they needed to meet their deadline. Even when asked several times, she never communicated informing them about her projected finish date. Eventually her bad communication and lack of punctuality, led her to be let go from the company.

Successful Communication

In her job, she both receives and gives tasks that either she needs to complete or her marketing team needs to get done. Her favorite boss thus far was the boss who was not a micro-manager, but one who communicated about the deadlines and trusted her to complete them. She said, “It is crazy how far good communication can go because it gives trust to my bosses and helps me put my trust in my team because I know they will get the job done because I communicated the task clearly.”

Final Advice

One thing Ashleigh wishes her mentors and professors would have communicated more evidently was the subject of internships and job experiences. She never knew how much they meant to potential employers that some form of experience is important to them. Her advice was to update your resume now and start the job hunt because a job will not just come to you.

Kelsey Wildes, guest blogger

 

Communication In Higher Education

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About Dean Martin, Ph.D.

chris_martinDr. Christopher Martin, Dean of the College of Business at Louisiana Tech University, is a CapitalOne Professor of Business. Dean Martin earned his Doctorate of Philosophy in Organizational Behavior and Human Resources Management from Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Martin has been published in the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal, among other major publications. Dr. Martin’s background in psychology and organizational behavior has shaped many of his beliefs on communication and prepared him for many of his leadership roles.

Communicative Relationships

Communication is more than just speaking, listening, and gesturing. Communication is one of the most powerful tools know to man. It is the responsibility of an organization’s leadership to set the standard for communication. Dr. Martin said, “I have an open door policy, and I try to encourage an open dialogue with everyone who works alongside me. I want our faculty, staff, and students to know that while we are an organized, professional institution, we are also a family.” Relationships are the foundation for effective and efficient communication.

Effective, Efficient Communication

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 7.13.36 PMThe time that Dean Martin has spent in classrooms and around conference tables with university presidents, board members, donors, and students has taught him how to adapt his communication style to an ever changing audience. He believes that communication has many key components, but he highlighted the two he believes to be most important – preparedness and listening. When Dr. Martin was a classroom instructor he expected his students to prepare for his lectures prior to class. “I always provided examples of situations, cases, and issues I was going to address, and I encouraged my students to think about those cases in the context of their own lives. I was not only an instructor, but I was a mentor, and an advisor. I took every opportunity I could to affect change in both the hearts and the minds of my students. It took time, but I learned how to communicate with my students in a personally professional way.” Dean Martin believes that one should always prepare his/her goal, determine his/her steps to convey the information, and then go after the outcome he/she desires. Your target can be either persuasive or informative, but the tactic is always the same: be prepared to listen to those who the decision affects, be prepared to make decisions, and be prepared to communicate the path that led to your decisions.

Though much of Martin’s communication now takes place through email correspondence, he still prefers oral communication. Dean Martin believes that there is less room for misconceptions when communicating orally. He loves to roam the halls of the College of Business so that he may communicate face-to-face.

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 7.13.52 PM“Everyone at this institution is pushed for time, so it is my job to give them key pieces of information as efficiently as possible. It is my duty to anticipate the needs of our faculty, staff, and students. I want to help in every way that I can so it is important that my information is clear and concise. If I am disseminating information that is difficult to understand, I take time to personally explain the information and often times I attach a memo to clarify what was difficult to say in the formal document.”

Communication through Experience

When asked what he believes is the most important form of communication Dean Martin answered, “Listening.” “I try not to have an answer before a question is ever asked, but I always want to be as prepared with as much information as I can possibly have. My job is help guide our team to a solution and to be prepared to make a decision at the necessary moment.”

Brett Hooks, Guest Blogger

 

Communication for Financial Advisors

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John Guilbeaux, Edward Jones Financial Advisor

 

John Guilbeaux is in his 18th year of being an Edward Jones financial advisor for the Sulphur, Louisiana community. John is a soft-spoken individual with the presence that is someone you can easily trust your grandmother to be served by without the worry of him getting the best of her. He attended McNeese State University where he studied history while also working at a local bank. In his time at the bank he began to fall in love with dealing with clients, meeting new people, and the many aspects of finance. He then changed his major to Business Management then eventually receiving his degree in such. John felt he would thrive as a financial advisor because he wanted to help people with their best intentions in mind. I have had the privilege to interview John about the communicating with clients and peers in the financial service industry.

Importance of Verbal Communication

When I asked John about the importance of verbal communication he replied, “[Verbal] Communication is the most important trait a financial advisor needs to be successful. You have to be comfortable speaking to people.” The importance of communication for financial advisors is paramount to survival in the saturated markets of today. If you are not able to effectively communicate the difference in complex financial instruments to people, you will have trouble building a successful book of business. Being confident in yourself and being knowledgeable is something that many clients look for when choosing an advisor.

Importance of Written Communication

John also talks about the importance of written communication for financial advisors stating, “… mostly important when preparing to meet with a client to discuss where we believe their portfolio is heading.” Presenting your client with a clearly written report on the status of their portfolio is something he sees as an important part of customer service. Written communication is also important when receiving information about mutual funds, certain bonds, and other investment information from the company’s analysts. If the information is clear and gives reason as to why these have been selected, it allows the advisor to be able to relay this information to their clients without having to sell them on a blind investment.

Selecting a Medium of Communication

Knowing when to use formal or informal communication is something that “comes with experience”. When you are prospecting clients you want to be professional and show them that you are serious about your job. Making prospective clients trust you with their retirement is not easy by any means and showing them that you are credible takes time. Once that individual becomes your client, you can move to a more informal approach when in conversation. This takes out the advisor-client status and helps you to relate to the client on a more personal level so you can better serve their financial needs. When writing to peers, Edward Jones has a “family feel” to the collaboration of their advisors. The advisors are always in contact about various topics and this drives the medium of communication to a constantly informal approach. Edward Jones does not push for competition between their advisors and this allows for them to assist each other when helping their client.

Final Thoughts

With communication being a key determinate for financial advisors, especially those beginning their practice, John recommends “meeting as many people as you can.” The more times you can repeat your sales pitch to people, the more comfortable you will be approaching new prospects. Being told no is something that will happen nine times out of ten but when that one person says yes; you need to be prepared to assist them to the best of your ability with their best interest in mind.

 

Thomas Breaux, Guest Blogger

The Importance of Communication in a Changing World

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Logan Lewis is currently the Director of Sales for the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. He also is a Louisiana Tech graduate with a degree in Speech Communication. Before he transferred to Tech, he attended Anderson College in South Carolina to pursue a music major. He says he transferred after he realized opera and music teaching wasn’t for him. Once at Louisiana Tech, he says he chose Speech Communication because of his strengths in public speaking and speech writing.

Independence Bowl

Learning Communication Skills Early

Logan’s first job out of college was working for a family owned company called Pinch Flatbed, where he was an Account Executive. He landed the job two months after graduating from Tech and moved to Houston to start his professional career. He spent two years at the company, working in Houston and southern Louisiana. On the job, he said he managed three day drivers and three night drivers on a regular work day. He also said he spent a good amount of time cultivating business relationships in southern Louisiana in cities such as Lafayette, Morgan City, and Houma. Even at his first job, Logan learned some key business and communication skills that he could use for the rest of his career.

Communication on the Job

At Logan’s current job in Shreveport, there are many different communication methods that are used with various different people. When asked what was the most common type of communication on the job, he said “Email and face to face. I text a lot too.” He also has a lot of writing responsibilities on the job as well. Things such as sales plans, marketing plans, sponsor proposals, and foundation membership formal letters and correspondence. It is obvious that communication is an important part of his job and that he uses it in many different forms. He also has some unique ways of communicating on the job externally and internally. They use an app called WhatsApp to communicate to other members of the company and just started using snapchat to communicate to their customers and potential customers. These new methods of communicating have changed how he does his job day in and day out. He says they are spending much more on digital advertising, whether it is pushing out ads on Facebook and Instagram or posting on twitter of players and coaches that have recently played in their stadium. Social media is a huge piece of what he does now.

Communication Struggles on the Job

When asked what the hardest part about his job was, he said “Externally, that would be fighting criticism. Internally, it would be fighting for change.”. To Logan, Shreveport-Bossier city can be a negative place at times and the bowl not having its story told properly really makes his job more difficult. The main issue is that the people who are in charge of him, whom is the executive committee, board, and extended leaders, are all business leaders around the community who volunteer their time. Unfortunately for Logan, he is constantly trying to keep up with the times and says that the people he works with have been doing the same thing since they started working there and are not always keen on keeping up with the changing world around them.

 

Final Thoughts

After my interview, I really learned a lot of interesting career and life advice that could apply to just about anyone. The point he made that stood out to me the most was his viewpoint on how technology changed his job. He said, “It has certainly taken away off-time. No longer do we get the luxury of leaving work at your desk at 5 pm on Friday, not to be thought of until Monday morning.”. This is something we could all learn from.

Bailey Laborde

Financial Planning Success through Communication

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This blog details the thoughts of financial advisor Beau Williams on why communication is so important in helping him plan for clients’ future financial success. He has come a long way to get to where he is now, and he has many lessons to share from that journey.

Who is Beau Williams?

Beau Williams is a financial advisor in Shreveport at JPJ Investments. He graduated from Northwestern State University with a degree in Business Administration and the inspiration from a finance professor to one day enter into the financial planning industry..

Why Financial Advising?

Beau got into financial advising because he always wanted to do something that was “less transactional and more relationship oriented.” He had always read that it was one of the most rewarding careers, even though he said it could be stressful when clients were upset about losing money and the performance of the economy. He states, “Overall, you are helping people build wealth, and hopefully plan for a successful, happy retirement.”

Retirement

How Vital is Communication?

When asked this, there was no doubt in Beau’s mind. He says, “It is the most important thing there is. You can be Stephen Hawking, but if you can’t relay your message to clients, it does you no good.” Performance was important in his mind, but it could not compare with the importance of being able to engage with the client.

How does Communication Vary?

Communication varies from client to client, according to Beau. Some clients do not care much at all to communicate, but they simply trust him. “Ethically and professionally, you have to say thank you for your trust, but let me go over these compliance issues and the fees.” He doesn’t feel like he is doing his job, if he doesn’t try to explain things to clients.

Which Type of Communication is Most Important?

There are four main types of communication. They are listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Beau believes that listening is the most important type of communication in financial advising by far because you need to be able to understand the person in order to give advice and recommendations. He says that speaking is the second most important type of communication because you have to be able to give the recommendations in a way the client can understand. However, it is the client’s money at the end of the day. Beau says, “If they want to take all of it and buy a penny stock, then you better document the fire out of it. You have to do what the client wants though.”

What Role does Writing Play?

Writing does not play a major role for Beau in his day to day activities of financial advising. He makes sure to note that one should not completely disregard writing skills because you do not want to look bad on things like a mail out. For writing in emails, it is also important to know the basics of writing and to make sure to double check before sending them out.

What Role does Reading Play?

Reading plays an important part in the financial advising industry. Beau reads daily to find out information about the industry or compliance measures. He is required to continuously study and read in order to keep up to date on continuing education courses for his different licenses.

How does the Future Look?

The industry is constantly changing with new investment strategies and regulations. A financial advisor must be able stay up to date through communication with other professionals as well as communicating important information to clients. Communication is key to future success in financial planning.

Written by: Hunter Greene

Communication in the Poultry Industry

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John Holloway: Complex Manager

John Holloway is the current Complex Manager at a Tyson complex located in Carthage, TX. He was raised on a broiler/breeder operation. This, along with years of participating in 4H, led him to Texas A&M University where he majored in Poultry Science. John was immediately drawn to the major because of his background, and soon realized the various opportunities the field had to offer. In May of 1997, he took his first job in the poultry industry managing a pullet vaccination crew. For the next two decades, John worked all over the industry as he moved up.

How well does college prepare new employees?

John says, “I had a strong technical knowledge entering the industry, but I had to learn to deal and communicate with people as well as learning specifics of the company’s human resources”.  Since being in the industry, he has noticed that some newly hired employees struggle do to the fact that they do not listen. New hires often feel like they don’t have to work as hard after graduating. There is a certain amount of entitlement that comes with a degree; because of this employees do not build working relationships.

What skills do you believe are most important in this industry?

John placed an emphasis on the ability to work with people and work in teams. In an industry where time is money, not being able to communicate effectively can literally be costly. There is no room for confusion when dealing with a high volume processing plant. Anytime you are working with a supply chain, communication is crucial. Each segment of the complex is a critical piece in a greater puzzle. John says that one way each department is held accountable for its communication is by the utilization of SAP. SAP is an enterprise resource planning software that allows instantaneous commutation from any department within an industry. Employees are provided with on the job training, as well as side courses to further develop employees.

What role does oral and written communication play in your position?

Oral communication is key in John’s position, and he feels that it is his strong suit. As a complex manager, you have to communicate with various aspects of the workforce. This involves everything from working sales orders to communicating with hourly employees about job function. As a previous Tyson employee, I can attest to seeing management walking through locker rooms speaking with employees. This helps understand the daily obstacles presented on the job, as well as lifting morale. Written communication is also important, but is used less often. John stated the written is primarily only used in email, and when USDA formal letters are written.

Is cross culture communication ever an issue?

Cross culture communication can be very difficult. Tyson presents a very diverse workforce. John says that he has worked in locations where there are up to twenty different languages in use. This is a huge obstacle for a company to overcome, but it can be done with effective translating as well as hands on teaching and demonstrations. He also spoke about the slang used in the industry. This can often result in confusion because slang differs within the company, but also from location to location. In order to avoid confusion, an employee needs to have a complete understanding of what is expected, and what is going on.

 

Lane Pearce, Guest Blogger