Critical Skills for Success – Communications Skills

Employers continue to tell us how critical communications skills are to success on the job.  Communications skills often differentiate employees for more responsibility and advancement in their careers.  To enhance your career success, what should you consider?

Oral Communications

  • You must be able to present your data and/or recommendations to your peers, managers and senior management in a professional manner. You need to be well prepared and very professional.  “Um”, “ah”, and “like” repeatedly in a presentation undermine your professional credibility.
  • Think about your casual communications. Be sure you are not using inappropriate language in the workplace.  Avoid the fillers even in your casual conversations.
  • If the company offers presentation skills training, take advantage of it. There is always room to improve.
  • Seek opportunities to practice and request feedback. Volunteer to present the results for the group.  Always ask for feedback on how to improve going forward.
  • Consider joining a local Toastmasters Club to increase your opportunities for feedback and practice.
  • Watch how the successful leaders of the company present and learn from them.

Written Communications

  • Your written communications leave a lasting record of your communications skills. Always proofread your written communications.  Grammar and spelling matter.
  • More is often not better. Hone your skills in crafting a concise executive summary with additional reference materials where needed.
  • Your professionalism will be evaluated based on your written communications we well.

Electronic Communications

  • Keep you emails short and to the point, if the reader must scroll through multiple screens they will likely lose interest.
  • Grammar and spelling still matter. You need to put your best foot forward in every communication.  Always proofread before sending.
  • Don’t copy more people than necessary and avoid reply all.
  • Always stop to think about what would happen if that email was shown to your boss or the local newspaper. Don’t put it in writing if you have concerns.  Never hit send when you are angry, cool off and consider your response.

Adapting to the Company Style

  • Pay attention to the preferred communication style within your company and your team and adapt to those norms. If the company does everything in a PowerPoint summary that’s what you need to do.

 

Honing your communications skills will enhance your performance at work and will increase your growth opportunities.

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