Archive | Job Search

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?



Time Out

Time Out

“Time out” is an expression used by coaches, players and parents to signal a break – a rest point to relax, catch some air, pause, reassess and plan, regroup, and/or change direction.  We all need to take them.  Recently, I’ve taken a medical break [and time out from `going for the job’ activities] to end the pain of arthritis and get used to a new hip.  Wow … it’s a great feeling to walk pain-free, once again.

Does your job search need a time out?  Does it need some reassessment; and/or a new plan of action?  Consider:

If the job-hunting journey you are on is not going well … if you’re exhausted, discouraged and distracted, perhaps a time-out is required.  Re-examine your plan, priorities and use of your time.  Refresh and recharge yourself.  Pause and remove the pain.

Are you broadening your network by asking others, “who else and what else”?  Are you considering some new approaches such as adding creativity to your search?

Can you volunteer your time and talents for a change-of-pace?

Can you add a new skill or two?  Have you been procrastinating about learning how to use your PC to more of its potential?  or, learning how to write 1-page proposals (issue:  pros and cons; recommendation) on topics and subjects that are near and dear to you?

Are you `stepping out of the box’?  Try brushing your teeth with the brush in the other hand, or experiment with another behavioral challenge.

Are you following-through and achieving your annual (or other timeframe) goals?

Have you reviewed and used your Success Profile?  Practice discussing your strengths with ease and with examples and stories.  Contact me if you don’t know what this is.

Yes, your job-search journey is challenging. Try some of these actions and keep in mind, you’ve overcome hurdles before and will again.