In February, I asked readers to recommend topics for this blog, and several readers suggested that I address the topic of business communication and I agree that this is a great topic for today’s blog.
Throughout my professional career as a resume writer, career transition coach, recruiter, and business owner it has become readily apparent to me that too many job seekers fail to comprehend the distinction between talking and communicating with others.
Since it is impossible today to expand your business network, wow decision makers on an interview, or negotiate salary without having well-honed communication skills, I asked some HR and business decision makers I know for two pieces of advice they feel would help my readers become more effective communicators.
From these responses I culled ten of them which I feel can help you improve your ability in networking, interviewing, managing others, and in your non-business relationships. I hope some, if not all of them are helpful to you.
TEN HINTS ON IMPROVING VERBAL COMMUNICATION
1) Carefully contemplate what you want to say and how you will say it and consider if it is useful or useless information before you open your mouth. Then be as succinct as possible in getting your point across.
2) Make an all out effort to know as much as possible about the background, feelings, and knowledge base of the people you speak to because the responses you get are greatly influenced by these factors.
3) As best you can, avoid speaking in generalizations and speak directly to the question, topic or idea at hand. This will earn you more respect than trying to be evasive.
4) Be genuine. People want to know your opinions so make sure they understand what you have to say [without overkill] before yielding the floor or moving on to a new question or topic.
5) Speak clearly, pleasantly, and with confidence, and throw in a smile or two every so often to make the listener feel he or she is a part of the conversation.
6) If you’re a natural with humor don’t be afraid to use it. People are comfortable with someone who can make them chuckle. Tactful humor in the right situation is Ok.
7) Listening is the key element of communication. You can’t respond appropriately if you fail to hear what the other person has to say; especially when it comes to reading the tone, nuances and body language between the lines. When someone else is speaking listen closely with the intention of grasping what they have to say without focusing your mind on formulating an immediate reply.
8 ) Show that you are interested in what’s being said by others. You can do this in two ways, by asking the right questions at the right time and by making regular eye contact.
9) Conversely pay attention to what you shouldn’t do. Don’t rush, interrupt, or finish the other person’s sentences, or come across as always in the right.
10) Watch your body language. Too much fidgeting, tapping your pen or fingers, eye rolling, or making exasperated faces show that you don’t care what someone is saying.
Now that youi have finished reading this blog, I suggest you review it point by point with your spouse and/or close friends who know you well and will give you an honest assessment of how you fare on each of these points. Then they can work with you to help strengthen your weaker points.
Perry Newman, CPC is a nationally recognized executive resume writer, career coach and social media strategist known for his ability to produce marketing documents and job search strategies that get results. He has a standing offer of a free critique, and you can view his sample resumes both at http://www.perrynewman.com.
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