The Number 1 Most Important Career Skill is…..
The number 1 most important career expertise is dynamic communication skills.
Whether you are talking 1-to-1 with your boss, engaged in a group meeting with peers, doing public speaking to an audience, or writing copy or a report, communication is the most important skill to achieve a high level of proficiency in. A study at the Stamford University business school shows that people who are successful in their career have a common trait and that is verbal fluency.
Business problems and opportunities are challenging to deal with regardless of how experienced you are. It’s essential to develop the appropriate perspective to deal with problems. The key is to manage situations from a positive, constructive, and solutions-oriented perspective. “What you focus on expands” and so it becomes paramount to identify the problem and then spend the majority of your time discovering solutions. This outlook happens through self-awareness.
Really good communicators are confident people. They project an optimistic and constructive energy that comes from preparedness, a true knowledge of the subject, and the capacity to think spontaneously, creatively, and innovatively. They tend to be vulnerable and yet they are risk-takers. This is why self-awareness and knowing your point of view clearly is so vital.
As you evaluate and polish your communication skills consider your personal qualities as a communicator. How confident are you? What is your level of integrity meaning how well your thoughts and feelings align with your spoken words and actions? How successfully do you project a positive energy that suggests you genuinely care about the people around you? How willing you are to work not for simply adequate results but truly incredible solutions? How well do you include and respect opinions of others? What is your level of credibility?
Also consider, “What are some beliefs that might keep you from communicating effectively?” Years ago I studied Virginia Satir’s, a ground-breaking family therapist, work on self-esteem and these are a few of the most common beliefs and counter-beliefs to neutralize these barriers to effective communication.
1. Fear of rejection for being who you are vs. everyone is not going to like me and that’s okay.
2. Inner critic saying, “You are not good enough.” vs. If I always have to be perfect I’m setting myself up for disappointment and I will be criticized and perhaps it will be constructive.
3. I might make a mistake vs. It’s okay to make mistakes and I’ll learn from them
4. I might impose vs. I do impose on others and hopefully it’s welcome
Communication experts tell us that the most powerful aspects of a message are conveyed through the physical attributes of the communicator – the voice and the body language. A leader creates and shares energy with the tone of voice and the movements/posture of their body. 93% of the message is expressed through physical elements such as voice, body language, and facial expression. The sound (38%) of the voice and the body language (55%) presentation communicate powerfully.
Amazingly words are only 7% of the impact on the audience. I’m not sure I believe that completely and yet that’s what the experts tell us. Anyway you get the idea. It impacts our message and our audience whether we are interacting in person, speaking over the phone, or recording a message.
What to do now?
• Record your voice while reading a favorite passage and play it back. Evaluate how it sounds.
• Better yet make a video and see for yourself.
• Ask someone you trust how you come across as a communicator and get feedback concerning non-verbal communication.
• Stand in front of mirror and check yourself out while speaking.
• Evaluate and decide on your ideal image as a communicator
• Prior to any occasion determine how you want to project yourself and be prepared to do it.
Every time before a workshop I ask myself, “What are the emotional states I want to communicate to the audience? “ Then I create them in myself and project them in my body language, voice, content, and words.
These steps are just the beginning so start right away. Remember Meryl Streep has nothing on you!
Would you answer this question for me? What is the most important communication skill? Send me your answer to CareerCoachNJ@gmail.com. Next week I’ll tell you. Return home
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Career Transition and Leadership
Graduate of iPEC Coaching in Shrewsbury NJ
Everyone is a leader—either by choice or by default.
Whenever you interact with anyone else (and yourself) you are leading.
So the question is not “Will you lead?” but rather “How well will you lead?”
(c) 2012 – 2014
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