Communicating Effectively

Communicating Effectively

This is the first in a series of posts about some vitally important “Generic Skills”.

Job seekers must communicate effectively when speaking with others on the phone or in person and when writing and corresponding.  Today, this includes a large number of electronic/digital choices such as texting.

Here are some prescriptions to help us communicate more effectively:

  • Try limiting distractions during your conversations; Try closing your email, silencing your telephone ringer, or closing the door; and, Try minimizing multiple things going on in your mind.
  • Try preparing and having a few key questions to ask as well as key objectives to be achieved
  • Try slowing down and remember that communication is a two-way street and about dialogue.
  • Consider using these two beneficial acronyms, FCB and LPR.

Reflecting upon verbal and written communications over the years, I have come to believe that Focus and Clarity as well as Brevity (FCB)are the keys to better understanding and connection with others. These are the criteria that I use to evaluate the verbal and written skills we all use in conversation and writing.   I dare say that all of us should be improving upon these keys with the assist of one or two of these specific tips:

  • Prioritize your ideas, issues, questions and concentrate on the most important (and urgent).
  • Ask simple, straightforward questions; and also respond directly to the question asked.
  • Use descriptive phrases, examples, and comparisons to illustrate and clarify.

e.g., Tell the time … don’t build a clock.

  • Avoid ambiguity, subtlety, and confusing and/or complex words and phrases.
  • Limit your responses; 30-60 seconds is generally an effective time span.
  • Practice/rehearse asking relevant questions and listening more attentively.

Many authors and experts have said, “Listening is the key to effective communication.” Yes, we must use our ears as well as our eyes, and mouth. We must also use our minds and manage our thoughts, emotions, reactions, and body language. These are the facets of so-called, non-verbal communication which is so critical to effectiveness.

Listen, Pause, and Reflect/Respond (LPR). Practice and use this helpful acronym.  Consider that one to three second pauses, which may seem very uncomfortable, are effective for both the listener and speaker.

Job seekers – your effective communication and first impressions are critically important. Remember that Yoda said to Luke, “Try not. Do or do not! There is no try.” Do you agree?

What are some of your thoughts about, tips for, and examples of communicating effectively?



Going Confidently II

Make the Call

I’m gonna [going to] … Do you hear this frequently, or catch yourself thinking and saying it?

Recently, I attended a meeting and heard a presenter ask for help, specifically some leads and contacts in a particular type of industry to help attain one of his strategic goals.  I commented to one of my colleagues that he had a number of these types of contacts which he might share with him.  His reaction was stunning.  He said he’d already provided the presenter with his well-researched and developed list of contacts in this industry.  He added that the presenter was someone who hesitated to `make the call’.

We can imagine any number of reasons, but let’s start with … this is yet another example of procrastination which has costly consequences:  missed opportunities, redundant efforts, wasted energy, and loss of trust.

Job seekers need to start with awareness of and confidence in their qualifications to contribute. Also, they need to believe (and say to prospective employers) that they will meet and exceed the requirements of the position.  When you have something to offer, `make the call’ and take action – to inquire, seek, and offer your talents.  You can start by asking for an informational or exploratory interview.

If you’re expanding your network, you can start by asking for time and information and assistance; and don’t forget to offer and bring something to the conversation from questions to interest and enthusiasm.  It’s often a long wait for someone else to `make the call’.

Are you waiting for someone else?  Hesitating?  Make the Call.