Newman University students know their professors and instructors are skilled educators. Now, thanks to the Newman University Speakers Bureau, members of the community get to share in the experience.
Director of Adult and Continuing Studies and Instructor of Communication Teresa Wilkerson is a favorite speaker of local organizations and groups.
She recently spoke to the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Wichita and Cox Communications.
“I love the opportunity to represent Newman University within our community. It provides me the chance to connect with local businesses and professionals and offer communication training opportunities they may not ordinarily have,” Wilkerson said. “And, in today’s highly competitive market, communication skills of all sorts, not just public speaking, are essential for success.”
Communications is a passion for Wilkerson. She has been a communication professor and business consultant in the communication field for more than 20 years.
“Most people assume when you mention ‘communication,’ you are talking about presenting a speech. That’s just a minute aspect of communication. Since 93 percent of all of our communication is nonverbal, interpersonal skills, improved listening ability and group leadership skills are critical to any successful organization. They are the foundational blocks that help build strong customer relations and service with clients, improve working relationships between company employees and strengthen messaging and image perception overall.”
Wilkerson has two goals when she speaks to an audience. She wants them to understand how important it is today to develop effective personal communication skills and how enjoyable communication training can be.
“I often explain that we take communication for granted. We’ve been communicating from the day we were born,” Wilkerson explained. “However, communication is a skill, and if not properly developed, will not result in the positive outcome necessary for day-to-day or business environment interactions.
“Someone once said, ‘Just because you have done something for a long period of time, it doesn’t mean you are good at it!’ While I know the basics of basketball, no one would want me on their team. Trust me! Same for communication. Learn the fundamentals. Practice. Continue training. Practice some more,” Wilkerson added.
“My goal is to leave the audience feeling that not only did they learn something insightful and practical that they can immediately begin to apply, but that they had a fun time learning. My philosophy in teaching and training has always been that people learn more when they are enjoying the experience.”
The feedback Wilkerson receives after her talks and workshops is usually very positive. She said her audiences specifically enjoy learning information she presents about nonverbal communication.
“These are aspects of communication that people simply have never really considered as being critical when, in fact, it is usually something nonverbal that causes us to miscommunicate. How we say things is as important, if not more important, than what we say,” Wilkerson said.
“Also, people love to share their funny stories of communication blunders they have encountered and express how the information they learned will benefit them in improving their communication in similar situations in the future. Plus, they are usually relieved I didn’t make them give a speech!”
Local organizations can request a Newman University expert like Wilkerson to speak at an event through the Newman Speakers Bureau. The service is provided free of charge to non-profit organizations. Speakers are available to for-profit organizations for a $100 donation to the Newman Fund, Newman’s largest scholarship fund for students.