This week a momentous occasion has occurred for the town of Greenville, IL and for the college. The Briner School of Business officially opened it’s doors with a bang and the ribbon has been cut. The campus has been flowing with business professionals and several events have been taking place. I personally have been in charge of filming all of the seminar talks and have taken away some very helpful tips for being successful in the business world, as well as in our everyday lives. Without further adieu, let’s get started!
The first seminar of the day was by Kirk Elmquist, part of the Legends of Golf Tournament. This was a little early in the morning for me, but I still managed to get some good nuggets from what he had to say. What really caught my attention was what he had to say about connecting with people. It doesn’t matter who you know in life, it’s who knows you. If you know someone in a high place but they don’t know who you are, then that connection is next to useless. Something else that was very interesting for me was that he pushed very hard for communication. Real communication, not texting and hiding behind a screen, is huge to being successful. If we don’t know how to physically talk to someone and make them feel warm and welcome – whether it be with eye contact or a smile/greeting – then we won’t go far. Lastly, find a connection with someone. The example Kirk Elmquist gave was that he noticed his interviewer had a marlin hanging on the wall. In response to this, he asked if his wife caught it. This created a connection because it gave them something to talk about that the interviewer was passionate about. If you have a commonality, use it!
Terry Mattingly, syndicated journalist and artist, spoke later that morning about art, commerce, and Christianity. I really enjoyed what Terry had to say regarding Christians working outside of Christian Media. We talked about the pitfalls of Christian Media in earlier blogs, but Terry really made that come to reality. Many people often immediately associate Christianity with mediocrity because the stuff we put out is filtered and watered down. A nice example of this is praise bands have gotten hassled for “shredding” because it wasn’t “Christian” enough. In another situation, Terry talked about when Christian’s try to make an overtly Christian song or film or anything, they fill it to the brim with Jesus and bash people in the face with it hoping they like it. Not only does this fail and repels non-Christians, but the team put all of their resources into this one piece of media and then leaves. There is no lasting impact and no sustainable business that comes out of it. In order to make impact, we have to be tactful and we have to tell a story. Not just one “brick” of Jesus, but hundreds of stories that can bring people in. We shouldn’t be afraid of being excellent and putting out our best work just because we are Christian. Engage people, bring them in, and let your work be your testament to your faith.
Later that afternoon, there was a Q and A with Ed McMillan, Dennis Spencer, Wendy Wilt, Brent Cowin. There was a lot of interesting questions and great answers that came out of this session, and I will try to quickly summarize what everyone had to say. Team work and team building is huge in becoming successful. Even if just one person in the group has a bad attitude or isn’t doing what they need to do, it affects the whole group and puts unnecessary strain on everyone. As we approach our career, we may come across feelings of either frustration or anxiety. Anxiety can come from having too much book smarts but not enough time in the field to apply what you learn. Likewise, frustration can come from having pushed yourself in the field to the limit and don’t know how to advance…it’s times like this where we have to take a step back and hit the books and find a mentor. Some of us may work in Christian-friendly environments, but for those of us who find us working in the secular world, our work ethic and how we treat people should be our testament to our faith, not leaving a Bible on our desk (but if you feel called to do that, then go ahead…just be prepared to deal with your boss later).
It was great being able to hear from people who have actually made successful careers out of this wisdom and knowledge. It is one thing to always be told by teachers and parents that in order to succeed we have to do “thing A,” but it definitely reaffirms those lessons when it comes from a multi millionaire who wants to see young adults succeed. I know I learned a few things from listening to all these people talk throughout the day, and hopefully you reading this blog can get something out of it as well.