Your communication skills will either help you or hinder you in your career. As regional vice president of one of America’s largest employers, I can attest to this. In fact, good communication is one of the leading skills we look for in the candidates we place. But, its power to propel you professionally reaches far beyond the hiring process into every crevice of your career.
Communicating effectively to coworkers
The workplace is full of many different types of people, each with a unique role to play. How well you collaborate with them can make or break your career, and communication plays a huge part. If you want to be a good communicator, you have to be a good listener. As you practice listening, you will pick up on small hints that will help you communicate more effectively with each person. For example, if in conversation you discover one coworker likes to see the big picture before they can dive into the details, take a more strategic approach when beginning a new project with him or her (rather than rushing into the deliverables). They will appreciate it and you will work better together as a result.
Communicating persuasively to groups
How you communicate to diverse groups will determine how well your ideas and input are received. Whether you are sharing your thoughts in a team setting or presenting at a formal meeting, consider your audience and tailor your points to their unique interests. Remember to speak slowly and clearly, articulating your thoughts in an organized manner that builds off of each point and works towards a conclusion. To increase impact and comprehension, choose words that paint a descriptive picture of what you are conveying rather than defaulting to industry jargon—especially when the group contains individuals unfamiliar with that language. As you conclude, ask if anyone has questions or needs clarification. This will eliminate confusion and enable you to end on a positive and persuasive note.
Communicating clearly in writing
Whether you are drafting an email or a formal business document, how you package your points will speak boldly about your communication skills. If writing is not your strong suit, get a basic grammar book and brush up a bit. If you are deficient in your vocabulary, take the initiative to learn more words so you are able to express yourself more explicitly. When you need to craft a communication, ask yourself the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, why) and how. This simple exercise will ensure you don’t leave out important information. Structurally speaking, stay organized in your delivery. Introduce the main idea, follow it with supporting details and wrap it up neatly with a closing that summarizes your points.
Effective communicators will always win in the workplace—make sure your words are working in your favor!