According to this year’s annual job outlook survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the number one skill employers seek from 2013 grads is the “ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organization.”
Communication coach Marvin Brown, author of “How to Meet and Talk to Anyone, Anywhere … Anytime…,” agrees that communication is key to success at work. “Work is about relationships. With managers, co-workers, clients and customers,” he says. “To build a high-quality relationship, you need to establish trust, you need to be a great listener and you need to be friendly and easy to converse with.”
How to Communicate at Work
There are many ways to make a good first impression and raise your profile in the eyes of team members and bosses. Brown highlights these six key points to help you succeed on the job:
1. Communicate with intent. Don’t be lazy when you speak. While short-form communication, such as texting and tweeting, is commonplace, it’s important in the workplace to take extra time and effort to communicate specifically and to make sure what we say isn’t full of clichÃ©s, nonspecific words like “thing” or fillers that we repeat so often that we don’t hear ourselves saying them, for example, “you know” or “like.”
2. Don’t pass up an opening to engage. You never know what conversation at work will trigger an opportunity. Don’t miss any chance to engage with people on the job. “If you’re in the elevator with your boss and she says something about the weather, that’s an opening, an opportunity to engage,” Brown says.
3. Be yourself. You’ve heard this advice before: “Just be yourself.” But perhaps you never believed it would help. Trying to be someone you’re not can be draining, so the best advice is to showcase your best self on the job.
4. Use nonverbal cues to your advantage. Body language is as important as verbal language when it comes to making first impressions, giving your message impact and winning people’s trust, according to Brown. “When greeting a work associate, look up from what you’re doing, make eye contact and smile,” he suggests.
5. Focus on names. Brown suggests: “When meeting someone for the first time, say your name while extending a firm handshake. Research shows they’re 75 percent more likely to remember you.”
6. Take criticism gracefully. Be open to constructive criticism. Brown says there’s nothing worse than an employee or co-worker who won’t hear feedback, gets defensive and impedes progress at work as a result.
Read the whole post onÂ U.S. News & World Report.