Is communication important in all jobs, even when they are not business related? The answer is yes and U.S. Marine, Mr. James Peebles, shares his insights on business communication in the following interview to help demonstrate the importance of these skills in his job. After twenty years of service, Mr. Peebles plans to earn a Master’s degree in Business Administration and expects to graduate in April 2019. The interview is full of advice for those interested in pursuing a career in business.
Interview Questions and answers:
- What is your professional history (include your timeline and roles)?
“I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1999. I started off as a Combat Engineer. During this time, I deployed to locations around the globe, serving in billets such as Fire Team Leaders, Squad Leader, Platoon Sergeant, Training Chief, Operations Chief. In these various billets, I have planned and executed over 400 large scale construction projects and over 600 field training exercises. During this time, I have led over 5000 Marines in garrison and in combat operations. I have deployed four times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Leadership and developing junior Marines is the foundation to effectively executing the mission and I have greatly enjoyed my time in the Marine Corps.”
- What writing advice do you have for professional communicators?
“As a professional communicator, it is critical to practice your craft and refine your skill set. Be humble in your approach, and seek guidance from mentors in order to continue your professional development. Develop a communication style that is not only effective but best suits your personality.”
3. What is your one pet peeve when it comes to professional writing?
“People are not very clear in their message and they tend to ramble. Be direct, get to the point and support your arguments with evidence or facts.”
- What kind of business reports do you read or compose regularly?
“Reports that I have to provide on a regular basis are status update reports on the current progress of a project, evaluation of performance for the Marines under my charge. Future planning reports, fiscal reports for funds allocated to support daily functions, training, and operations.”
- What are your writing suggestions to make those types of reports successful?
“Be clear and concise. Ensure the reports are free of error, support the reports with factually based information, ensure the reports are objective and not subjective and ensure they are tailored towards the reader. Understanding your audience is critical. Ensure the information in the reports is understandable and relevant for those who will be reviewing the reports.”
- What speaking advice do you have for professional communications?
Similar to submitting reports, know your audience in order to get your message across.
“Use voice inflection, if you are monotone you will quickly lose the audience. Use an attention gainer that is relevant to your speaking points. Be well organized, rehearse your information and present it to a small group of people that you know so they can critique your presentation. Speak with clarity and confidence. Know your information in great detail and be prepared for questions.”
- Name one thing you wish you had known about business communication prior to your professional career?
“I do not have one highlighted thing that I wished I had known, as there was so much that I did not know, but looking back, I wish I had a mentor that was able to guide me through the process and that I could seek regularly for guidance. So, my advice to you is to develop a network of trust advisor and mentors that you know will have your best interest and will properly assist in your development.”
- What team skills do you feel young professionals need the most?
“Teamwork makes the dream work. Always lead by example, even if you are not the team leader, you always are a leader. Be humble, swallow our pride and ask questions, understand that your idea is not always the best idea. Understand everyone strengths and weakness in order to position all members in a role that they will succeed.”
Always strive for excellence study and learn your craft. Treat everyone with the utmost dignity and respect regardless of their position or level of knowledge. Never settle always work harder than the next person, get comfortable being uncomfortable.”
Knowing how to communicate to the audience is key to understanding how to get a clear and concise message across. Communicating is like an art or a sport. One must practice for hours to develop a skill. Mastering the power of skillful communication is how one strives not only in the business world but also in everyday situations. Being able to understand how to communicate to others is viable beyond belief.
Peebles says, “Develop a communication style that is not only effective but best suits your personality.” This is his most important takeaway from the interview. Finding something that makes one comfortable in a stressful situation can make all the difference in the world. Finding a way to speak using terms that best suits ones personality can be helpful in different circumstances.
James’ education started out at Northern Virginia Community College with an Associate’s degree, Liberal Arts and Science/Liberal studies from 2001-2004. Then, attended Colorado Technical University studying BSBA Project management from 2007-2018. He plans to pursue a Masters of Business Administration (MBA). He currently lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is still with the Marines. He earned the rank of First Sergeant. Mr. Peebles served 14 years as a Combat Engineer and then Promoted to First Sergeant and that is where he performed Administration duties. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamespeebles78/detail/background-image/
Nicholas Davidson is a business administration student in The Romain College of Business at The University of Southern Indiana.
Shared Byline: Brittney Grabert