I work hard to make this the best career advice blog on the internet. I write most of the posts myself. Lately however, I’ve had requests from several people to write guests posts. I don’t accept all of them, and I believe that the ones I do accept provide exceptional life and career success advice.
This post is a little different. I am on Dee Dukehart’s email list. Last week she posted an article on communication skills and career success. I thought it was so good that I asked Dee if I could use it as a guest post. She graciously agreed.
Dee’s career advice is about communication and career success. It echoes the point I make in Tweet 101 in my latest career success book Success Tweets. “All dynamic communicators have mastered three basic communication skills: conversation, writing and presenting.”
Here is what Dee has to say about career success and effective communication…
Take a look at your coonversation, presentation and writing skills and what needs to be done to them. Are they exceptional? marginal? poor? These soft skills can make or break your relationships with not only your employees, co-workers, prospects, clients and friends, but also your career success.
Do you listen to what others say…really listen – actively? Are you thinking of your response before the person’s finished? If so, you’ve lost precious time because you have to go back to ask more questions, or you make a mistake and it’s costly.
How often do you speak in circles when you deliver your reports? Do you continually use fillers that break up the content of your presentation or use little or no body language?
I know of several companies that send out poorly written proposals, and their employees regularly write less-than-accepted e-mails. It’s time for a clean slate for some of these skills. Make these soft skills perfection three of your goals for success in 2011.
Listen, actively listen. Look at the person who’s talking to you and nod in agreement to let him or her know that you’re following. Repeat some of the information to make certain you’re both hearing the same information and detail. Stop looking at e-mails when he or she is in the room talking to you. Give people a polite amount of time for the conversation, not just minutes before you’re running out to an appointment.
Have you ever heard instructions only to get back to your desk and wonder exactly what they were? Repeat some of the instructions so they stick in your consciousness. Ask open-ended questions like, “What else do you need to complete the task?”
Closed-ended questions, “Do you understand?” almost always get a nod in agreement, and yet, the information isn’t clear. Open-ended questions allow other people to verify what you’ve said and get everything they need to proceed.
Never assume that the person with whom you are speaking have the same language, vocabulary or knowledge that you do. Explain acronyms and jargon. Speak at a rate that makes it easy for people to understand what you’re saying — 125 words per minute, not 155 or 100!
I notice typos and grammatical and punctuation mistakes in other peoples’ writing. If I notice them, then others do as well. Do your prospects, clients or management team cringe when they read your e-mails? Is the information written succinctly and correctly?
Many people tell me that Spell Check is a panacea for typos and grammar: Not so. How often do you confuse “your” and “you’re”? Both are correct in Spell Check. Do you use a singular verb and a plural subject or vice versa? I noticed an education company’s promotional material used a singular verb and plural subjects, and their main focus is education. Spell Check is a great tool, and it’s also fallible.
The rules of grammar, punctuation and syntax apply to e-mail — even if it’s just a note to a co-worker or friend. I know you’ve read e-mails that make no sense to you, are riddled with typos, or have multiple grammatical mistakes. I know you don’t do that; it’s always someone else. When you don’t know if you’re right, look it up or ask.
Do you understand all of the uses of the eight parts of speech? Do you know the eight parts of speech? They are vital to good writing.
Proof! I’m guilty of pressing the “send” button thinking I’ve written 100 percent-error-free documents and find out afterward, I’d written a “then” instead of a “than” or left out an important word or phrase. Do you ever do that? Read your document out loud, have one or two other people read it, or go over it two or three times before you send it.
What are your goals when you make a presentation? Do you have your speech well organized? Have you spent enough time practicing? How many “ums,” “ahs,” or “you knows” spilled out of your mouth during your last presentation?
How often have you heard someone give a boring speech? What made it boring? Monotone? Reading? Lack of pizazz? Disorganization? There are many reasons for a bad speech.
You can change the way your audiences — whether they are 10 people or a hundred –relate to your message: stories, humor, pertinent information, good organization and audience engagement all help. Does your sales team deliver outstanding pitches? Does your marketing team persuade the public that you’re the only company to use? Do you articulate goals, objectives, needs and wants in a memorable fashion?
Do you stand above your competition when delivering your sales, marketing and informational presentations? If not, why not?
Every year begins with a clean slate. Make a commitment that your clean slate in 2011 is ready to be written on with perfection in conversation, writing and presentations.
Dee has nailed it here. Good communication is fundamental to your career success. Follow the career advice in Tweet 101 in Success Tweets. Create the life and career success you want and deserve by mastering the three most basic and important communication skills: conversation, writing and presenting.
The common sense career success coach point here is simple. Successful people are dynamic communicators. If you want to become a dynamic communicator, master three basic communication skills: conversation, writing and presenting. You don’t have to be a career success coach to know that if you’re a great conversationalist, a good writer and an outstanding performer you will reach your career success goals. Successful people communicate well. The career advice here is simple. Develop your communication skills if you want to create the life and career success you want and deserve.
That’s my career advice on the importance of good communication. What do you think? Please take a minute to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us. As always thanks for reading my career advice.