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Podcast: An Essential Business Skill

Updated: Oct 1, 2019

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In this episode, we sit down with Michael Golway, President and CEO of Advanced Solutions, Inc. We discuss the impact public speaking has had in his entrepreneurial career and how it plays a role in his daily life.

Tyler: Today we're here with Michael Golway, President and CEO of Advanced Solutions, Incorporated. Hi Michael, thank you for being with us.

Michael: Hi Tyler, it's good to be here.

Tyler: I'll start out just by asking you to tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, experience in entrepreneurship and business.

Michael: Okay, well I'm an engineer by training; I graduated from the University of Louisville with a Master’s in Engineering with specialization in Industrial Engineering. I worked in the industry for a few years. In 2000, at the age of 31, I bought my first technology company called IDS Engineering, we still own that company today. We had two employees initially, and ten months after I bought that company 9/11 happened and the US economy went into a recession. And I found myself as a young entrepreneur going the next three years without a paycheck.

And so it was an early lesson in terms of fortunately during that time period we at least running a break-even business, so our employees got paid on time, our vendors got paid on time but it was an early lesson that as an entrepreneur you're the last one to get paid.

Fortunately we survived that time period, and in the last 18 years we've done 10 acquisitions, six startups, just recently sold a couple companies that I acquired in 2004. And so today we are a company that is focused on high-end technology, bringing solutions to healthcare manufacturing, workflow optimization in general and in education environment.

Tyler: Well, being an engineer like me, you don't always hear that engineers have the best speaking ability, public speaking skills, and yet it can be so important. Do you agree that public speaking and how so if you do agree, is it important in the engineering field?

Michael: I would rank it as one of the top five skillsets for not only engineers, but it's a broad range of professions that require engineering in particular to your question, engineering in particular requires folks to be able to communicate ideas and do that in a way that you can get people to invest or change or adopt your ideas. And so right at the heart of that is being able to effectively communicate.

Tyler: Totally agree. So engineering hat and you've also got your business hat or business side, would you agree that it's equally important of a skill in business?

Michael: Absolutely, I think back in our 18 years of my entrepreneurial career and all the critical points that involved either a downturn in the company or a high-growth, there were different levels of communication that were required.

Not only with our internal team but with our customers, and so with all aspects of the business effective communication is a critical skill set and that holds true with our engineers, certainly our sales reps but even internal support with our accounting and marketing and HR and legal teams as well.

Tyler: Right. In fact an article in Forbes recently ranked public speaking one of the highest skills needed in business, and talked about how in past it's been referred to as a soft skill, but anymore it's a hard skill you need that skill.

How would you say that your public speaking skills or would you say they have contributed and led to improvement in your communication skills in general?

Michael: Well I would certainly say the time and experience have really contributed, unfortunately when I was going through college I did not have any formal public speaking, and in hindsight I wish I would have taken at least one public speaking class. Now there were a number of classes or courses that required team projects and team presentations, and so you had opportunities to get exposed to public speaking in that way.

But certainly experience has been, and from a personal perspective it has been the best approach for me and my career in terms of gaining skillsets and becoming, I find that it's a continuous improvement process. And whenever I think I've reached a good plateau, I see somebody else communicate that just blows me away and it motivates me to say okay let's get this oh, there's more that I can do to improve.

Tyler: Right. Even things such as even interviewing someone for a hiring process, would you say contributes to maybe being able to better communicate yourself in that situation, but also to sort of recognize than others what might make a good team member based on their communication skills?

Michael: Well it's really a great example, I mean think about that situation. You're bringing in a candidate to become part of your team, and so there is certainly a powerful communication moment in terms of the company being able to articulate what does the company do, what role would this person serve on the team, what is the opportunity ahead.

But in that situation it's also very mutual, and that the candidate has an opportunity to showcase their communication skills. Why are they a qualified candidate for this role? Why would they be a great team member in our organization? And so that's a great example actually of where effective communication skills in a job interview can be incredibly effective, or it can be very detrimental if it's not done properly.

Tyler: Right. Well so another thing that the Forbes article goes into is how crucial communication skills can be to the success of a product, not just a business. Have you found this to be true in your businesses?

Michael: Absolutely. So advanced solutions is an innovation company, so we are innovating new products, new services for our customers and the innovation process, the invention process is challenging in and of itself, because you're venturing invention by its very nature is you're doing something new.

And so there's a lot of risk with that both financially, both time constraints and so it's incredibly important that teams that are involved in innovation have effective communication skills. And that can be at every level from being very candid and very honest about what the situation is, communicating actual results and development, timelines in terms of being able to take inventions from design through implementation and commercialization.

So there's a number of aspects that communication is very critical, and certainly in my experience at advanced solutions effective communication allows our invention process to not only to be more efficient, but it allows us to deliver a higher work product.

Tyler: All right. Well so we've established that public speaking skills are important, and that leads to better communication skills in general, so really to illustrate the power of public speaking, could you go into a specific example of a product that your company has produced that is powerful, is profound?

Michael: Well so one of those products is a project that is now in its ninth year, it's a product called BioAssemblyBot. BioAssemblyBot is the world's first 3D human tissue printer that uses a six axis robot, and so with the six axis robot that moves like a human arm, we not only have the ability to 3D print in traditional additive that is layer by layer way, we also can print on contours.

And when you'