Is your communication style limiting your career success
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If you are struggling to advance your career or achieve your
specific career goals, your communication style may be to
blame. Many otherwise competent professionals with great
leadership potential lack the skills or self-awareness to effectively
communicate with others. Despite their strengths and
accomplishments, their careers begin to stagnate as they fail to
influence, persuade, and connect with key leaders.
Communication is a powerful skill that comes naturally to
some, but not all. Even the best communicators likely had
some help in the development of their communication skills.
Communication is intimately tied to other important career success
factors, such as the ability to effectively lead others, build a
powerful brand, and navigate organizational politics. If you
are committed to maximizing your career success, you must make the
effort to strengthen your communication skills.
Here are five important steps you can take to maximize your
communication with others:
1. Be clear and to the point
Whether you are speaking to your manager individually, or you
are presenting to an audience of executives, know your
message. This means avoiding the anxiety-induced tendency to
provide unnecessary details or stray off topic. Begin with a
clear and focused message. Save the backup data and
supporting details for questions.
2. Stay away from language that weakens your
Women, in particular, need to be mindful of this.
When delivering a message, do not dilute its power by making statements
such as, “This may not be important, but…,” or, “I’m sorry to
interrupt, but…” Another common message-weakening statement
is, “I think.” Make a statement; don’t offer an
opinion. The more powerful your language, the more likely you
are to be heard.
3. Know your audience
This is critical. It is human nature to consider
issues in terms of your own needs and wants, but this is ineffective if
you are looking to persuade or influence others. Before you
speak, know what interests and motivates the audience with whom you are
speaking. For example, if you are presenting to a team of
data-oriented professionals, stay away from the theoretical and focus
on the facts and numbers that support your case. Likewise, if
you are presenting to the CEO, be sure that you emphasize the impact on
the bottom line.
4. Speak the language of your organization
Every organization has its own unique culture and
language. The more closely you fit the culture, and the more
proficiently you speak the language, the more likely you are to be
perceived as an influential communicator. Pay attention to
how influential leaders communicate in your organization and adapt your
own style accordingly. Also, find a mentor that knows the ins
and outs of your organization and can help you understand its values.
5. Don’t try to fake it
One of the greatest ways to dig a hole and bury yourself is to
venture into unfamiliar territory without a strategy. Many
professionals are more afraid to admit that they don’t have the answer
than they are to risk losing credibility with their audience.
Particularly when speaking to an executive audience, don’t try to fake
it! If you are asked a question that you can’t answer, don’t
make something up. Let them know you will follow up with the
response and then follow through as soon as possible.
Your communication skills can make or break your
career. If you are struggling to get promoted, earn a higher
income, or otherwise advance your career, take a look at the way you
communicate with others. It can be helpful to seek candid
feedback from trusted colleagues and mentors. Once you
identify areas in need of improvement, prioritize them in your
professional development plan. Your career success depends on
About the Author
Kim Meninger works with professionals who are feeling stuck in their careers, struggling to reach higher levels, or navigating challenging career transitions. Kim helps professionals clarify their career vision, identify career options that best align with their skills and interests, and apply job search strategies to more quickly and effectively find new opportunities and achieve their unique career goals.
Prior to coaching, Kim had a highly successful corporate career managing strategic business partnerships at EMC Corporation and Monster Worldwide. She attributes much of her success to her strategic approach to career management. Kim is passionate about helping other professionals use similar strategies to reach their full potential and maximize their career success.
Kim is a certified career coach and founder of Great Heights Coaching. She has a BA in psychology and an MBA with a concentration in organizational leadership from
Boston College. She also holds certifications in career and life coaching from the Life Purpose Institute. Kim is a CCE Board Certified Coach and an authorized facilitator of Now What?®, a Life Blueprint program. For more information, visit www.GreatHeightsCoaching.com. Authors Google+
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-02-28 13:27:07 in Personal Articles