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Imagine spending your life reading resumes. It’s hell and it is what a recruiter does all day everyday. Your eyes are red and stinging, and the computer screen swims before you.
You’ve promised yourself you’ll suffer through just one more resume, but it’s so badly written and ungrammatical that your head begins to ache when you read that this idiot has, “Superior communication skills.” With a groan, you throw the resume in the garbage and reach for just one more…
Communication Counts Big Time
Good communication skills are in demand in every job and everybody seems to think they have them, but they’re actually very rare, and if you want to get ahead in your profession, you need to work on them.
Without communication you live in silence and isolation; with communication you make things happen in your life. Good verbal communication skills enable you to accurately process incoming information and also to present outgoing information persuasively and appropriately to your audience and message, so that it is understood and accepted.
Communication – It’s More Than Listening, Talking & Writing
But communication embraces much more than listening and speaking. When the professional world talks about communication skills, it is referring to four primary skills and four supportive skills.
The primary communication skills are:
- Verbal skills – what you say and how you say it.
- Listening skills – listening to understand, rather than just waiting your turn to talk.
- Writing skills – clear written communication, essential for any professional career. It creates a lasting impression of who you are.
- Technology communication skills – the way you communicate and your ability to navigate the new communication media.
The four supportive communication skills are subtler, but nevertheless they impact every interaction you have with others.
- Grooming and dress – they tell others who you are and how you feel about yourself.
- Social graces – these are demonstrated by how you behave around others. If your table manners are sketchy, odds are you’ll never sit at the chairman’s table or represent your organization at the higher levels.
- Body language – this displays how you’re feeling deep inside, a form of communication that predates speech. For truly effective communication, what your mouth says must be in harmony with what your body says.
- Emotional IQ – your emotional maturity in dealing with other adults in professional settings.
Persuasive Communication Guides The Trajectory Of Your Life
Develop effective communication skills in all these areas and you’ll gain enormous control over what you can achieve, how you are perceived, and what happens in your life.
As George Bernard Shaw said, “The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” Every professional job today requires communication skills; promotions and professional success are impossible without them, let alone getting hired in the first place.
Remember that even if you aren’t in sales, the ability to successfully pitch your experience, skills and achievements is crucial for achieving your professional goals.
For more advice on professional communication for emerging professionals, check out Knock Em Dead – Secrets & Strategies For First-Time Job Seekers.