The communication department’s annual week-long series COM Week ended today with alumni Darin Kent advising students to use their communication education to set themselves apart from other job candidates.
“The way you communicate with folks is what they remember — how you interact with them and talk to them. I learned those things right here (at Missouri State).”
Using his communication degree
Kent added that those skills translate across any industry. For instance, he didn’t have financial training when he first aspired to work in the banking industry, but that didn’t stop him from trying.
He went to a local Great Southern branch without an appointment and waited nearly three hours to see the bank manager — 2 hours and 47 minutes, to be exact, he said.
Although he wasn’t hired that day, he eventually worked his way to managing one of the bank’s Springfield branches. Now, he is Oklahoma City’s Regent Bank market president.
Active listening, salesmanship is key
Like many of this week’s COM Week guests, Kent underscored the need to be an active listener and be fully engaged in that conversation. “That’s what separates the good from the great.”
Kent also encouraged students to find the salesperson inside themselves. “We’re all salesmen. No matter what field you’re in, you’re selling something. At very least, you’re selling yourself.” He learned that skill in MKT 485, Marketing Yourself.
The communication department brought in six speakers for this year’s COM Week. The last speaker, Kara DeVita, director of community engagement for AT&T, was not able to attend. Each had advice they hoped students would take away from the sessions:
Dr. Daniel Mansson
Assistant communication professor at Pennsylvania State University-Hazelton
Build relationships while in college with people who will support you during times of struggle, mentor you in research and help you succeed.
Training and education manager for Springfield-Greene County 911 Emergency Communications
Don’t be afraid to do what you’re passionate about. Seek out training through internships and pay attention in class because you’ll use your communication education every day.
Vice president of Progressive Bike Ramps
Be open to new possibilities and learning. If you don’t like what you’re doing, find what will make you happy and work hard to make that dream happen.
Talent advisor for Leggett & Platt
Practice what you’re learning to hone your communication skills. It’s what will get you through the front door, help with finding your place in the company and be up for the challenging career ahead. Set yourself apart, be confident and actively listen.
Public affairs officer for the Springfield Police Department
Take advantage of every learning opportunity, even if it’s something you don’t think you’re interested in or want to do long term. The relationships built and skills gained will stay with you for a long time.
Market president of Regent Bank, Oklahoma City market
Pay attention to what you’re learning because you’ll use those skills in all aspects of your life. Make yourself stand out by being an active listener and know how to market yourself in any industry.