Getting a job requires good communication. You have to be able to present yourself professionally in your resume and cover letter. And once you reach the interview, it’s critical to speak clearly, listen carefully, and use positive body language. But once you’re hired, the need for effective communication doesn’t stop. Here are five ways to maximize your communication skills to succeed on the job – and in your career.
Focus on the Message
Far too many people plan out to the letter what they want to say before an important conversation. And even once that conversation has begun, they spend most of it thinking up what to say next. Shift your focus to the message. Start by determining what you want people to hear, and how you want it to affect their behavior. Then, keep those goals in mind to have more productive conversations.
Pay Attention to What’s Not Being Said
This can take two forms. First, be aware of the nonverbal signals the person you’re talking with is sending out. Are they resisting your message? Folded arms, a lack of eye contact and leaning back can all be warning signs.
The other way to pick up on what’s not being said is reading between the lines. There may be more going on than a co-worker is saying. But don’t make assumptions – try to probe gently and respectfully to get to the heart of what’s left unsaid.
Polish Your Writing Skills
Communicating in person is often the right way to get a message across, but some occasions call for putting it in writing. Learning how to effectively express yourself in writing is a great way to improve your chances at success, whether it involves formal business letters or daily email exchanges. And many companies offer training opportunities for bettering your writing skills. Take advantage of them!
Learn to Love Networking
Have you heard the old saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know that counts”? It’s not completely true – job knowledge is vital to success. But if you want to keep learning, growing and moving up in your career, you should take advantage of opportunities to meet with other people in your field to make connections and share ideas. Networking isn’t just for people who want to work somewhere else; it’s also for people who want to be the best employee they can be right where they are.
Develop Public Speaking Skills
Effective one-on-one communication is a must on the job. But if you have ambitions of progressing to positions of greater responsibility in your career, you need to get comfortable with speaking to groups. With each promotion, you’ll be asked to make more presentations to inform and influence others. Toastmasters is a great resource for developing public speaking skills, and there’s probably a club near you.
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