Important skills that are easily overlooked on the road to success.
Hopely Li 2016-11-11 13:48:00
You may have the greatest ideas in the company, but no one will know that if you can't communicate them.
It's important to be clear and professional in your communications, whether that's over email, in meetings, or one-on-one. Observe colleagues and superiors whom you admire to see if you can learn and adopt their most effective communications techniques. Take care in composing emails to your boss, colleagues and clients; don't get lazy simply because of the communications medium.
"The ability to effectively communicate really is the bedrock to developing critical relationships within the organization itself and sets the tone for development and movement," says Michael Steinerd, director of recruiting for Indeed.
To be an effective communicator, it's just as important to listen and ask questions as it is to put forth your own ideas. Listening carefully to your audience will help you determine whether your ideas are being understood, and gauge how well your goals jibe with the interests of the people you're addressing.
Prepare in advance, and practice what you're going to say. "When you get on the phone with a client, when you go into an internal meeting, when you are talking to your boss in a performance review, preparation is really key to getting your point across," says Peggy Klaus, an executive coach and author of The Hard Truth About Soft Skills. You want to develop "the ability to speak with both warmth and strength, using both parts of your personality to be dynamic and impactful."
Don't shy away from difficult conversations: They're an important part of effective communication and are better tackled directly rather than avoided.
Another much-neglected workplace skill is networking, both inside and outside of your organization. Many people assume they can stop developing their networks once they've landed a job. But continuous networking is key to success within your workplace -- and to finding another role if and when you're ready to change jobs.
"People think that if they show up on time and do a good job that they will be rewarded," Klaus says. "You've got to let people know what it is that you're doing, not only so that you can advance your career, but so that people can use your expertise and services."
With more organizations relying on cross-functional teams and projects that reach across divisions, you need to network internally. You also will open yourself, and your team, to more opportunities if you have a strong internal network.
Identify people you admire inside and outside your company, whether for their technical or soft skills, and make an effort to cultivate them. Continually look for ways you can help these individuals rather than focusing on what you can get out of it.
"The people that are more successful aren't thinking about networking, they're thinking about connecting: How do I connect this need with this resource?" says George Bradt, author of the forthcoming book First-Time Leader. "They fundamentally believe by helping everybody they're helping themselves."
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