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Experts to discuss communication in workplace in 'Playing Hardball in a Soft Skills Game'

Contributing Reporter

Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2012 00:11

The third and final part in Terri Jaggers’s “Playing Hardball in a Soft Skills Game” panel discussion series, where industry experts will discuss communication skills in the workplace, starts today at 12:30 p.m.

The panel will include Judge Eric Andell, former deputy undersecretary with the U.S. Secretary of Education; Laura Buntin Livingston, assistant director of the Clinical Learning Resource Center at Texas A&M Health Science Center; Philip Dupuis, Conroe Police Department chief; Judge Robert Eckels, attorney and former Harris County judge; Leshia Fisher, program director for Child Protective Services for six area counties, including Walker County; Andy Kahan, victims’ rights advocate; Ann McAlpin, executive director of CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County; William “Bill” McGraph, with Memorial Hermann health communications; and Montgomery County Judge Alan B. Sadler. These experts will discuss interpersonal and ‘soft’ communication skills, among career trends, barriers, and preparations.

Jaggers, an adjunct communication studies professor and director of the panel, said “the panels have been very successful with over 100 students in attendance for the first one and with the second panel discussion topping over 200.” She added that despite the different focuses due to the different areas of expertise, “all information has been universally helpful to those in attendance.”


 The first panel informed students that 80 percent of jobs today are not posted, but are filled through networking, and explored how and where to network. It also stressed that graduates to have an “elevator speech” that concisely conveys who they are and what they have to offer. The second panel focused more on skills that secure long-term employment, such as manners and leadership.

The three-part series was initially designed to be a part of Jaggers’s “Community Applied Communication” course, but it is now open to the public. The course is piloting this semester, and focuses on how smartphones and social networking have stunted emotional growth and the development of interpersonal skills. Students in the course also have the opportunity to work one-on-one with the professionals on their interviewing and soft communication skills, and receive networking guidance.

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