When it comes to business communication, straight-laced business men in suits and corner offices come to mind. However, communication is everywhere. Including in Floridian Trina George’s small business, Centsible Senior Services, LLC. This business is all about people, specifically elderly people that need assistance with every day tasks such as grocery shopping, cooking, driving, and many other errands. Communication and people go hand in hand, especially when it comes to the relationships with these people that this communication will lead to. Based on this statement, George recently answered a few questions about how communication skills in her workplace help her business to thrive.
What is your professional history (include your timeline and roles)?
George: “From the very beginning, it would be cashier, that would be high school. Out of high school would be a CSR, which is a customer service representative at an insurance company. I did get my insurance license and was briefly a personalized office manager at an insurance office when I was in my early twenties. But because there was no benefits in that, I started banking. I was banking for thirteen years, and in the banking world, I did loans, a little bit of teller work, mostly personal banking, and also business banking. That was all up until 2015 when I started the business.”
What writing advice do you have for professional communicators?
George: “Always include your website if you have one. And always respond immediately. Always have an immediate response or as soon as you can. (You should) also have a personal touch on it.
I think so many people are too business-y and they lose that personal feel.
What is your one pet peeve when it comes to professional writing?
George: “The lack of personal touch. I just think that so many people these days want that personal touch because we’ve lost that. You know, everything’s behind a desk or behind a computer now or behind a phone and people have lost it.”
What kind of business reports do you read and/or compose regularly?
George: “I don’t really read business reports. I constantly listen to business podcasts. I’m keeping up with local stuff in my hometown as far as how many aging seniors we have. We have a local thing called the Caregiver Chronicles in our town that produces something once every other month that a lot of us small business owners are keeping track of. But I wouldn’t say I’m reading a certain report like a financial advisor would be doing. We have PNO, profit ‘n losses, that we do, I have to do payroll, and I do reports that track my referrals.”
What are your writing suggestions to make that type of report successful?
George: “Keep up with them, not slacking off, for the most part. I think, to me, that’s the most important thing, it’s staying on top of everything. That’s the key to everything. (Also) setting goals and making sure that you’re maintaining them.”
What speaking advice do you have for professional communicators?
Speak from your heart. Be passionate about what you do, and it will show through your work.
Name one thing you wish you had known about business communication prior to your professional career?
George: “I wish I would’ve known a little bit more about public speaking. And also how to talk about my business a little bit more to others, one-on-one. (Since then) I’ve learned how to do that really well in some of my networking groups and I’ve made really good connections with a lot of other businesses and they’ve been super helpful.” In regards to whether to get out and network as a young professional: “Absolutely. And I would suggest not just being involved in just any networking groups. I would say not to be nonchalant (like you) are just going out to have a drink. You should go to the ones that are out there to actually do business.”
After assessing the Burning Glass list of Baseline Skills (2016), which skills not in the top 5 would you move into the top 5…and why?
George: “Multi-tasking, time management, teamwork, listener, and positive disposition. Multi-tasking I think is important not just in business but in life too. Being able to work, answer an email, take a call, etc, and not lose focus. Time management…super important and not a lot of people or business owners are good at. For example I schedule all my Newberry clients in one day so I can help everyone in the same day. Team work and team communication is important. When a team doesn’t get a long, it not only affects the team as a whole but the clients can fee it too. Depending on the business … being a listener is necessary. For instance.. our team needs to listen for things our clients says that we may need to relay to their doctor or children. Positive disposition should be at the top because people should just always be positive. They should just see the glass as half full… always! In life, in business!”
My team is positive and I won’t bring a team member on that’s not.
What team skills do you feel young professionals need the most?
George: “Oh, they need communication, for sure. Like face-to-face. What I’ve ran across is that a lot of younger people in their younger to mid-twenties, don’t know how to talk to people. They just don’t know how to communicate, they get lost because they’re so used to communicating by email or by phone and behind their phones so they don’t know how to actually have a conversation with you in person. They get lost for words or if they stand up in front of the room and talk, they just get lost. They stumble for words because they just don’t know how to do it and I think that they just need to be able to communicate in person.
Key Take Aways
Throughout her life, and throughout many different careers, George has worked with people. Communicating is a big part of this, and no matter which career path she has gone down, communicating in the right way is key. George’s main message to professional communicators, young or old, revolves around one piece of advice: be personable. It is easy to get used to the formality that comes with communicating behind a screen, but once those screens are gone, will there still be a barrier between the professionals using them?
George also stands by her advice to get involved in networking. Find the right people to network with and remember that the point is business, not pleasure. Along with that, George advises to always be prompt when responding. Strive for an immediate response, but overall respond as soon as possible. George also included five skills from the Burning Glass list of Baseline Skills that are crucial when it comes to communicating in the business world. Multi-tasking, time management, teamwork, being a good listener, and having a positive disposition are among those that did not make the top five, but are considered valuable, nonetheless. Only one of those mentioned, being time management, were listed in the Skills Gap for Baseline Skills chart, with the rest not making the cut. Based on the answers that George provided to these questions, it is very clear that whether you’re a college student, or an entrepreneur, communication is key in every environment you encounter.
Trina George’s Biography
Trina George grew up in Inglis, Florida and attended high school in both Dunnellon and Crystal River, Florida. She started college at Central Florida Community College where she decided to instead earn her insurance license at Tower Hill Insurance in Gainesville, Indiana. From there she took banking classes at AIB International where she gained six degrees in banking. During this time, her grandfather passed away, and she moved in with her grandmother. After seeing how much she was able to help her with everyday tasks, she got the idea to start her business. Centsible Senior Services, LLC. is a small business that has clients in four counties in Florida. George is the founder and president of this business, as well as a wife, and a mother to three children. She says that her biggest accomplishment is being a mom.
Katie Lovell is a first semester freshman at the University of Southern Indiana. She is currently pursuing a degree in Business Administration, however, during the Spring 2020 semester, she will be working towards a Public Relations major and a minor in Marketing. She plans to work as a public relations manager after she graduates in 2021.