We were honored to have Bob Layne come to WKU to share “How a Degree in Communication Makes You More Attractive…To Employers!” Bob Layne serves as President & CEO of The Visibility Company, a global marketing, communications and technology development company headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee. Among The Visibility Company’s proprietary products is an industry-leading health and wellness technology platform marketed under the brand name Propel®. Clients of The Visibility Company include Allstate, Cummins, Edmunds.com, Frito Lay, Imerys, Lipscomb University, Loyola Marymount University, Pepsi, Pfizer, Pitney Bowes, Tesla, Pinnacle Bank, Vanderbilt University, Western Union and many others.
Prior to working with The Visibility Company, Bob served for more than 10 years as an officer of Dollar General Corporation managing such functions as law, corporate communications, marketing, advertising, merchandise planning, public relations, human resources, training and development, risk management, and strategic planning.
Mr. Layne began his discussion by confessing that he does not have a Tinder profile, however, he understands that we want employers to “swipe right.”
“First things first. I want to be clear right up front that the reason a communication degree makes you attractive to employers, is because of what it represents. It represents that you are a professional communicator. It represents that you operate on a completely different level as it relates to a very valuable set of skills. A set of skills that every single organization requires—for profit or not-for-profit, domestic or global, small or large. When you are a professional communicator, you have a wealth of career options.”
He describes a process that college students can follow in order to be attractive to employers. It is divided into three categories: Process, Tools and Application – PTA.
“A professional communicator understands that effective communication is not random.
a. Research – You should not only learn the value of research, you should become passionate about it. The better researcher you are, the better communicator you will be. When you get a research project in one of your classes, you should be thrilled, because it is one more opportunity to learn how to do it well. (Research gives you confidence in your messaging) – This is why you take courses like Comm 300.
I spend a significant portion of every week researching. Even to this day, I research everything. From behavior science strategies to the corporate culture of a prospect before a sales meeting.
And I use every resource I have at my disposal, from peer-reviewed journals to social media, to personal interviews. Get used it and get really good at it.
b. Preparation – In addition to research, Process demands you learn how to prepare. I’ll say it again, good communication is not random. It happens because you prepare.
Whether you are preparing for a contract negotiation, a training meeting or a sales pitch, the professional prepares, understands the audience, the motivators, the goal outcome, etc. and doesn’t leave the opportunity to chance.
c. Presentation – After you research and prepare, it’s time for the presentation. And since this is what most people think of when they think of a communication major, you better be the best at.
This is why you take courses like voice & diction, speech courses like fundamentals, business and professional and persuasion. Take every opportunity to hone your presentation skills.”
In the following posts, we will discuss the subsequent steps that make us attractive to employers. Until then: research, prepare, and present!