If you asked me, “What is the single most important skill a job seeking candidate can have?,” I would initially probably respond along the lines of, “It depends on the job!” However, upon further thought, I might also reply, “Being a strong communicator is an underlying key skill for any job seeker.”
I’ve written about the importance of “soft skills” or “emotional intelligence.” Some business schools are incorporating classes to teach communication and leadership skills, as they are so important in the workplace. Let’s face it – if you have trouble communicating, you are likely to have trouble getting along with colleagues, persuading others to agree with you and succeeding in most workplaces.
So, when I received a review copy of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler, I was intrigued. Yes – we all have and (should) expect to encounter opportunities for “crucial” conversations. For some, those conversations will occur in an elevator in a chance encounter with an influential person. For others, it is a critical moment in their careers – a presentation, an interaction – that has the capacity to propel or stall progress.
As the authors note – “stakes are high.” They also assert what they call their “audacious claim:” Master your crucial conversations and you’ll kick-start your career, strengthen your relationships and improve your health. As you and others master high-stakes discussions, you’ll also vitalize your organization and your community” (p. 9). Wow…Certainly a tall order!
Are you ready for a crucial conversation? Can you easily communicate in a way that sells your idea? If not, the authors assure us that dialogue skills are “moderately easy to learn.”
The book continues with anecdotes and stories to describe ways to think about communication. Readers are encouraged to first look within – to understand their own motivations and biases and to examine their own styles in various circumstances. I love the fact that self-assessment is a key aspect of this book, as I believe it is an often overlooked piece of the pie.
Via dialogues, examples and mini personal assessments, the authors show you how to express your needs and wants in ways that attract agreement. I’d recommend this book to anyone who needs to communicate well…And, well – I guess that is just about anyone!
It takes more than being a great communicator to propel your job search (although it helps). Find out how I can help you get moving in the right direction.