In today’s blog post I am answering a question that a reader asked. Here is the question:
“Hello Manasi! This is my first time writing to you but I have been reading your blogs for quite some time now. Thank you for sharing with us what you have learned. I love reading what you have to say.
After reading your last blog post on the 4 components of the Career Development Model, I felt that it totally makes sense. It also brought me a lot of clarity that I didn’t even know I needed to have before I read your post. You have presented the complex concepts such as finding your passion and selecting your subject of studying into an actionable model that I feel I can follow and will find more answers that I crave.
Will you share some examples of real life situations where you have used this skill or seen others doing so? I am sure this will be one of those clarity bringing posts as well. 😉 Thank you, and keep writing!” – RS
Thank you so much for writing to me! It’s always great to hear from readers like you. I don’t even know who all are reading my posts on the other end. But it makes me feel so privileged when a reader takes time to leave a comment or ask a question.
Are you ready to hear the answer to your question? Then let’s get started!
Here are the 5 career situations every enterprising professional should master. Why? Because here, how good you are at communicating YOU will dictate how good your outcome is and how fast you progress.
1. Interviews / Sales Calls
This one sounds obvious, doesn’t it? The problem is we just don’t have an easy way of confirming why we didn’t get the result we wanted. Candidates often attribute their failure to a more general, “There must be other better candidates.”
If you have your own business, sales calls or meetings pose can be treated just like an interview.Same principles apply.
I have seen so many people complaining that they cannot get job interviews, and when they do they don’t get any job offers. And when I ask them “What are you looking for?”, they start mumbling and trying to put some answer together.
Now if you cannot even tell me in an informal setting, how do you expect an interviewer to dig it out of you in a much more stressful setting?
When you communicate what you are looking for in a position, and what you bring to the table with clarity and confidence, you stand out among the bunch of others who are not saying that.
The same way if you can succinctly tell what your product or service can do for your ideal clients, they will be happy you shared it with them the solution they had been looking for. But if you cannot tell that, you wouldn’t get as many clients as you had hoped for.
This is another example where people complain or feel inadequate without asking themselves, “How can I make the situation better?”
I have seen people quitting community / volunteer projects that meant a lot to them just because they feel nobody listens to their ideas in planning meetings. So why should they waste their time?
At work, I have had people express their frustration to me, “I tried to present the solution but nobody cared.”
What people don’t realize is that being heard depends on how well you speak. And by well, I don’t mean that you have to be able to give a speech, “I have a dream”, it just means that you should learn some basic skills of how to get to a point quickly, how to present your innovative ideas with clarity, what your body language says about how much you believe in this idea.
When you learn these skills, and format your conversation points accordingly, you get heard. When you get heard at meetings, you start making an impact on projects at hand. You colleagues start noticing that you DO have something to contribute. So rather than dismissing you, they start taking notes. This helps you in building a glowing career at work.
Rocking the presentations is a surefire way of getting some visibility at work. Whether you present what your team is working to the CEO or about that new socially responsible initiative your company is taking on to your coworkers or hosting a company webinar for your clients, you will be a star if you can deliver a killer presentation.
Public speaking is the number one fear in the USA. A good aspect of this reality is that when people see you being even decently good at it, they will admire you (maybe even secretly wishing that they want to be just like you 😉 ). Just imagine how much impression you can make if you intentionally hone your presentation skills.
When you get noticed you start forming connection and a network of allies in a company. And such a network is important at a workplace (especially if your company has politics going on which many companies have to some degree). Presentation skill can serve as your ticket to stardom within your company.
4. Salary negotiations
Your success at negotiating a higher salary at your new job or a promotion or a pay raise that you deserve at your current job, totally depends on how persuasively you can articulate your value to the company’s stakeholders.
Yes, it starts with understanding and not underestimating your own value. When you do, you do not hesitate asking that to somebody else.
But no matter what number you have in mind, know that the other side is going to try to get you lower than that. I have seen this happen even in the situations where a candidate asked lower than the lowest limit of the salary range.
But this is a skill that can be learned. Quantifying your accomplishments and putting them in the context of your boss’ or the company’s goals (or a client’s goals if you run a business) is the key when negotiating a salary that is worth your value.
And even though, I am a big proponent of working not for money, but for the love of the job, I still strongly believe in negotiating your price. That gets you respect and builds up your own confidence. The experience is worth much more than the money you receive as a result.
5. LinkedIn (Or any online network)
The reason I especially mentioned LinkedIn is because it is a professional networking website. But the same concepts hold true to anywhere you have an online presence. After all, googling you is what everybody does when they want to find out more about you. 😉
There is no professional person who should NOT be on LinkedIn these days. Why? This is the largest recognized network of professionals. If you work for a company, you have to be on LinkedIn and if you have a business where your ideal clients are on LinkedIn, then you, too, will benefit from having a compelling presence on LinkedIn.
But just having a profile wouldn’t get you much. What you need is a way of showcasing your accomplishments, your professional expertise, and your values as a professional.
It also cannot be boring or robotic. You need to learn what content to share with your network, how to position it, etiquette of interacting with others in groups or via comments, and how to confidently present your skills or services to those who may benefit from it without being salesy.
When you know how to communicate YOU and your ideas in online interactions, you open up more opportunities and build a stronger network of supporters. You will attract the opportunities that are such a good fit, you will wonder if they are tailored just for you.
Wouldn’t you want that?
RS, these are some situations where you see the direct impact of “communicating YOU”. There are many more situations where this skills affects you in not such obvious manner.
For example, establishing a great relationship with your boss becomes easier when your boss knows how you are helping them achieve their goals.
You can diplomatically tackle a workplace bully by forming allies among your colleagues. Forming allies happens easily when they get to know you as a person.
You can get promotions faster when you continue to tactfully demonstrate what you are getting done at work.
In short, the skill of sharing your expertise, strengths and ideas with clarity and confidence comes in handy in so many ways – obvious and subtle – that learning it, is crucial for any professional who wants to fast track their career or business growth.
What do you think?
Which of the above 5 situations would like to get better at? Or is there another one that comes to your mind where you will benefit from effectively “communicating YOU”?
I personally feel like as good as we are we can get even better. 🙂 But lately, I have been more focused on becoming more productive in running the meetings by balancing enthusiastic ideas coming from all the members but also setting clear next action steps to get things done.