Communication is the Key to a Great CareerEver notice that your behavior changes when you are around either children or adults?
With children, we take time to explain things. With adults, we have little patience or we rush people through their sentences. With children, we ask them their opinion. With adults, we are either uninterested or interrupt them when they speak.
But then we ask ourselves why some of our relationships at work aren't satisfying. We see the same people every day, yet communication is difficult or strained. Or, why at interviews, conversations with recruiters or with attendees at networking functions, we are not getting our points across effectively? Many I speak to wonder why people don't get them. They want to be understood, but they are not. They tell me they feel isolated and alone. And, their career is hurting because of it.
Communication is not as hard as we believe it to be. My clients tell me they are afraid to speak up or be straight forward because it won't end well. True communication is individuals listening to one another and exchanging ideas. Mix in acceptance and patience, and you have the recipe for a great conversation.
So, how can you communicate better in your Career? Follow these three steps:
1. Tell The Truth About How You Communicate
This is your opportunity to be honest. Are you a person who wonders why no one listens to you, but you rarely listen to what people say to you? Do you wonder why people don't get you, but you don't get them? Get interrupted a lot? Do you interrupt? Ever feel judged? Are you a judge? You give what you get in your career. Usually, we don't like in others, is what we haven't discovered yet or admitted openly about ourselves. You can alter your communication style once you understand how you are interacting with others. Then, you can decide to change your approach.
2. Get Ready To Be A Better Communicator
Make a list of people you have trouble communicating with. Next to their name, write down what the problem is. Ask yourself how you contribute to the difficulty. Next, write down what you will do differently going forward. For example, next to John's name, you could say "I will listen to him more." Or, "I won't interrupt him when he speaks." Usually when something is not working, we look outward. "What is someone doing to me, and why won't they change their behavior? " That's not how it works. Want to change the people around you? Change yourself first.
3. Start Communicating Better
This is when you get to try out a new behavior. Expect to feel uncomfortable at first. You haven't owned your new communication style yet, and you haven't created your new habit or routine. The hardest part is getting started and being a better communicator will get easier over time. Also, expect weird looks or surprised faces at first. The people you are communicating with may look at you strangely in the beginning because you are doing something different. Don't worry. Over time, they will get to know and like the new you. Your career will begin to get better because your relationships are getting better. And, that's because of your hard work and effort. Good for you.
So, what do you say? You only have one life to live, so it might as well be a life you love!
Check out this video on communications skills:
Deborah Brown-Volkman, PCC, is the president of Surpass Your Dreams, a career, life, and mentor coaching company, and author of "Coach Yourself To A New Career," "Don't Blow It! The Right Words For The Right Job" and "How To Feel Great At Work Everyday."