A survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees each cited an average loss per company of $62.4 million per year. Why? Simply because of inadequate communication between employees. (SHRM, 2013). Kendi Ephraums, a business professional, provided answers to several, pressing communication questions. Currently, Kendi is an IT Consultant at Oracle Hyperion. As an IT Consultant, she advises co-workers and clients how to use information technology to help meet certain business objectives. This makes her exceptionally qualified when it comes to educating others on how to communicate successfully in the work place.
What is your professional history (include your timeline and roles)?
“IT Consultant 2015-Present
Senior Technical Design Lead 2012-2015
Finance System Administrator 2008-2012
Finance System Analyst 2005-2008
What writing advice do you have for professional communicators?
“It is important to be clear and concise. Also, remove negative emotion from all communication.”
What is your one pet peeve when it comes to professional writing?
“Grammatical and spelling errors are incredibly annoying in published reports. It casts shadows of doubt over the report. If the grammar and spelling isn’t right, is it possible there are other inaccuracies in the report?”
What kind of business reports do you read and/or compose regularly?
“Reports that are financial in nature. Typically, high level detail of KPI’s and metrics that accurately measure performance.”
What are your writing suggestions to make those types of reports successful?
“See question #2. — It is important to be clear and concise. Also, remove negative emotion from all communication.”
What speaking advice do you have for professional communicators?
“My advice for all professionals in general is to be conscientious about your work. Care about what you are doing/saying/producing. Do it well. Also, if you are going to do something… DO IT!”
Name one thing you wish you had known about business communication prior to your professional career.
“The 10-minute rule, if you get an email that makes you angry, don’t respond straight away. Walk away and give yourself 10 minutes to respond. Tone means everything in the professional world.”
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?
- “Creativity – no matter the business subject matter, there will always be issues and road blocks. Being able to creatively devise ideas and solutions to overcome the problem, is a very important skill.
- Critical Thinking – being able to analyze and fundamentally understand an issue is a vitally important skill to any employer.
- Self-Starter – “the work won’t get done unless you do it.” Self-motivated professionals that care about their work are few and far between in the business world.
- Positive Disposition – regardless of negativity that churns in the business world, people are drawn to others that are positive in nature. An entire team (or person) that can-do, positive attitude will achieve far more than one that thinks a project is doomed from the start.
- Listener – for those that stop, and listen will be those that understand far more than those that think they already know everything.”
What team skills do you feel young professionals need the most?
“Kindness and respect are two important things that get overlooked as they aren’t just business focused. If a person can embody these two traits in their everyday working environment, they can profoundly change themselves and those around them.”
Professionals should take pride in what they do and do it right. Kendi believes that there are few people in the world that are self-starters. She believes that the people who self-motivate in life, are the ones that will go far and have better attitudes. Also, kindness and respect are characteristics that employees and employers value most in any workplace and can also transform everyday working environments. One way to practice kindness and respect is to implement the 10-Minute rule. The 10-Minute rule gives more insight about how to relieve stress and prevent saying something regrettable.
College students often misuse sizable words, because they believe that sounding smart is better than cutting right to the point. If used correctly, it can be an advantage; if not, people will see right through such words and not listen to what is said. In that case, it is better to use clear and concise wording. It is more effective and others are more likely to give you their full-attention. Use this tip not only in verbal communication, but as well in virtual conversations. The interview highlighted a crucial point for grammatical errors. For example, she talked about how if there are grammatical errors or misspellings in a report, most individuals would not find the report credible.
Kendi Ephraums has had many years of experience in a professional environment. While looking at her LinkedIn account, it became intriguing that after she received her degree at the University of Southern Indiana her professional career flourished significantly.
Her professional career started in 2000, while she was an accountant at IBM. In 2006, she worked at IBM as a Hyperion Essbase Consultant. In 2007, she moved to Sydney, Australia and began working for Commonwealth Bank of Australia as a Senior Business/ System Analyst. May 2013 – June 2014 she worked as a Business Intelligence Analyst at Theiss in Brisbane, Australia. 2014-2016 she worked for James & Monroe as a Senior EPM Consultant. 2016-Present she remains working for Oracle Hyperion as an EPM Specialist and then received a promotion as an Independent Consultant for the same company. Kendi also has Oracle certifications in Hyperion Planning 11x and Essbase & DRM (Data Relationship Management), training modules that help educate people on how to better utilize their software.
Hannah Hostettler is a sophomore at the University of Southern Indiana, currently interning at Atlas Van Lines. She is a Finance major with the focus on Wealth Management and Investments.