Oh, boy is communication a big leverage skill you need to get right! 80 to 90 percent of your day is spent communicating! It is the single most crucial skill you can develop for business success because it is the number one quality employers want.
At one time, success in the business world was far simpler than today because communication has so much more complex. Now, executives are compelled to excel in a much broader scope of communication skills which entails much higher levels of competence than ever before. It includes everything from being proficient at face-to-face dialogue to writing to oral communication to online interactions to listening to emailing to social media.
Such a groundswell change necessitates religiously upgrading your communication abilities across the board.
If you think this statement is an exaggeration, just glance at some of the statistics that came out of a recent Gallup survey, The New Era of Communication Among Americans:
- 73 percent read or send a text message daily;
- 82 percent make or receive a call using a cell phone;
- 70 percent send or read an email message;
- 55 percent post or reach a message on a social media site.
That’s a pretty seismic shift from the old days, isn’t it?
All of these wide-ranging activities are where you’re either creating positive or negative consequences all of which have an immense impact on the outcome of your career. You can’t just shrug your shoulders and say: “Oh well” not if you’re committed to achieving the career of your dreams.
I’ve been producing leadership development courses for over thirty-years both for NFI’s Men or Women Only Leadership programs as well as mixed gender courses. The programs always start by grounding the session in what the participants perceive as leadership qualities by asking: “Think of a leader you admire and know then record the top three characteristic this executive demonstrates.” Without exception when the responses are assessed 80 to 90% of the qualities noted were communication such as:
- Encourages me,
- Shares their vision,
- Coaches me,
- Markets me to upper management,
- Focus on the big picture
Quite eye opening, isn’t it? Why don’t you do the exercise yourself and remember a leader who has made a difference in your career…. Aren’t the attributes you think about all soft skill communication behaviors?
Without questioning, mastering communication will make a difference to your career trajectory. And even though words reflect only a small portion of communication (7 percent of the meaning when speaking with someone), it starts with the words you use. Before you begin sharing with others, ask yourself, this “4-Step Test” . . .
- Is it TRUE? Is it an objective fact or observation, or your subjective perception?
- Is it APPROPRIATE? What is your reason for speaking? What purpose are you serving?
- Is it TIMELY? Is the person you’re conversing with ready to hear you?
- Is it DIRECTED? Have you put your message in the style the listener prefers?
There’s no question we’re all facing the most competitive and challenging business environment of any generation. As someone committed to generating a thriving career, communication is the most critical skill you can grow to carry you successfully into your future.