I looked at him and marvelled, saying to myself, “In this era?”
“You are not,” I said. “You are just afraid. Afraid to rise, make mistakes and have your mates laugh at you. True or false?”
“Err, that’s true. But…”
“There are no buts. Chamberlain, ditch the excuses. Go, do that presentation, make mistakes and learn from it.”
That was an excerpt from a conversation with a new friend of mine from the hub. He just rounded off his three-month professional training, and as was the rule, they were required to make a presentation on the skill acquired. And here he was with the “I am shy” bulls**t.
Often, we limit our own growth and success. Just like people who have made those words their slogan, I knew he wasn’t. No, he wasn’t. Watching him speak during the presentation confirmed this. He only lacked good communication and presentation skills, thus the reason for his fears, low self esteem, and poor performance.
Thinking about this brought to my mind how so many people have failed to take the bull by the horn in their lives, career, business and finance. The challenges individuals, job-seekers and career persons face in rising to the spotlight, all as a result of the lack of this pertinent, highly sought after skill.
Effective communication is perhaps the most important of all life skills, yet the most difficult to master.
So many people like you have lost amazing opportunities as a result of being unable to improve this skill. It might take a lifetime to master, but still you can make progress if you decide to start learning today.
Just the other day, I visited a former boss of mine at his office, and I found out that his secretary had been laid off. When I asked why:
“He can’t talk,” he replied.
I was confused. I knew this fellow, at least from my numerous visits to the office. I had shared a word or two with him; how come he couldn’t talk, I wondered.
“He couldn’t effectively interact with my visitors, clients and prospects, especially on mere things like appointment scheduling and bookings,” my former boss added on seeing the confusion on my face.
And that was it. He was back to the fierce struggle of getting a job. This goes to prove that a lot of people lack this all-important skill. And that every day people lose jobs, clients, customers and amazing and promising opportunities. While others have burnt bridges, broke relationships, lost clients and prospects. All thanks to this lack.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. This thing can be learnt. If you lack confidence, do something about it. You are shy? It can be overcome. You have a bad attitude? Change it. You can’t speak out for yourself? Improve.
You can’t talk, present, communicate your beliefs, values or even sell your ideas to a client, yet you want that opportunity to manage others, finances, sectors, departments, firms, etc.
What will you do there? How will you tell us what is happening, how the sector is faring, the progress made? How will you relate with the team? How will you communicate clearly the goals of the department? How will you communicate those bestselling ideas of yours to get yourself in the spotlight and help yourself and the firm make progress?
Listen! You have got to undo yourself now to experience the kind of growth and success you desire. Please, apply “ctrl z.”
Good communication and presentation skills are needed to speak, share and appropriately convey thoughts, ideas, beliefs, knowledge and ideologies to a wide variety of people while maintaining good eye contact, demonstrating a varied vocabulary, and tailoring your language to your audience. You need to listen effectively, write clearly and concisely, and work well in a group.
Its importance can’t be overrated, therefore, why you should acquire it. There is no time to feign shyness or a lack of confidence. Not in this time and era. And yes, not today. Not even tomorrow. Not when people are talking, presenting, communicating, singing and writing themselves into deals, endorsement, business, contract and scholarships.
Whether you are applying or searching for jobs, seeking promotion, want to land a deal or endorsement, build relationships, run or start a business, your success solely relies on this, among other skills.
As a career person or job-seeker in a corporate world, every job requires that you have and exhibit good communication, presentation and interpersonal skill, because it is the ingredient for not just corporate success, but success in its entirety.
Basically, good communication boils down to the following characteristics, most of which come naturally among so many others that can be learned and applied in any walk of life one wishes to apply it
• Being able to listen, communicate and comprehend what is been said during the communication process.
• Having empathy. Being humane. Seeing things from the other person’s point of view.
• Not being biased.
• Cohesion and clarity of thought, ideas and goals.
• Confidence in oneself.
• Respect for others and their opinion.
• Open mindedness.
• Clear tone of voice.
• Asking and answering questions.
So check yourself. Do you have any of the above? You are on your way turn around.
How then can one improve these skills for career, life and business success?
These are few helpful ways you can get started.
Be outspoken yourself and your work
You have got to be bold enough to talk about your work, business, and career. Share your ideas, skills and knowledge. If you don’t, nobody will do it for you. Stop being shy and talk yourself into greatness. You are doing amazing work in your business and career, yet you don’t want to be seen as a show off, so you hide while others doing little are taking all the credit, awards and endorsements, just because they are vocal about their own stuff.
Stop hiding and rise to the spotlight.
Learn to speak in a group
Don’t be like my friend Chamberlain, afraid to network, speak publicly, or maybe to a crowd sharing ideas, skills and opinions. Speaking to a group, no matter how small, will do the magic. Start with that your small circle of friends and family, Sunday school class, colleagues, classmates, etc. To master this, a lot of practice is needed.
Learn to write
Writing better comes with speaking effectively, and vice versa. Both are major components of communication and presentation. Write your words in full. Avoid using social media abbreviations. Write better emails, presentation, text messages, etc., effectively utilising punctuation and other necessary ‘’ingredients’’ that make writing and reading delicious.
Learn to disagree without appearing disagreeable
You should be able to disagree without being disagreeable. Don’t be savage. Unless you can effectively handle the controversy that may arise. Don’t fight and blackmail people when they don’t agree with your ideas, proposals, etc. Rather, listen to what they have to say, and clarify where possible. If you see that they are focused on frustrating you, you focus on the validity of your ideas. Operate a culture in your firm that encourages people to healthily challenge ideas, suggestions and plans. When you are the one disagreeing, be constructive.
Learn to ask/give feedback
Whether positive or negative, feedback should be moderate. I did advise you to learn to give positive feedback, and often enough that your negative feedback won’t be so bad, and at the end give a wrong impression. Give positive feedback to that hardworking staff. Commend your partner. Don’t be a kill joy.
Effective listening is a vehicle to clear, precise and better communication. You are so invested in talking and sharing your ideas that you forget to listen, right? That’s a wrong way to go. It’s frustrating. It makes others feel they don’t matter. Communication is a two way traffic. Give others a chance to contribute. Listen before you talk. Listen to customers’ needs and complaints.