I recently took a Human Resources class where we talked a lot about the job market, labor pool, and candidate-to-employee process. I also recently attended a national conference and spoke with job seekers about various career opportunities. As a career development specialist and staffing industry recruiter, I’ve become aware of an area of opportunity among all of us in our professional lives – communication. It seems like the simplest of skills, but is it? I will be sharing five underrated aspects of communication that should be considered to ensure we’re communicating effectively.
Consider the implications of delayed responses. Timely communication has a greater impact – especially when giving feedback – and shows the recipient that you care enough to make them a priority and respect their time.
This means no secrets. Lay all relevant information out on the table so that everyone involved can see and understand the full picture of a situation and act accordingly. For example, if you are applying for a new position, be sure to inform the employer if you have other applications out. This will establish a greater sense of urgency on the employer’s part and build trust in you as a potential employee.
Be honest – not just with others, but with yourself.
Arguably this is very relatable to the transparency piece, but deserves its own category. With this aspect of communication, I ask you to evaluate your priorities and what is really important. Take careful time to pursue those things that are important to you. Don’t waste your own or others’ time on those things that aren’t. It might seem hard to do, but there is no harm in politely sharing that you aren’t interested in hearing more about a particular opportunity because you’re focused on another goal. In the end, you’ll save everyone involved from a meaningless conversation!
Considering both transparency and honesty, keep in mind that if you’re seeking out information, career opportunities, professional growth, or some other goal. How can anyone devote the adequate time and energy needed to effectively help if they don’t know the whole picture?
- Find a balance between confidence and arrogance. The exciting part about life is continuous opportunity to learn! Bringing back honesty: be honest with yourself understanding that you don’t know everything there is to know about any subject. Be confident in the knowledge and skills that you possess, but also remain humbled by the eagerness to continuously learn, grow, and develop.
- Listen. Engage in active listening and seek to understand, rather than listening to reply. It’s easy to get caught up in formulating a response before even hearing the whole message. Allow yourself the opportunity to gather all of the information before formulating a response. By doing so, you’ll show respect to those speaking and will be able to respond with more effectiveness and credibility.
Communication is a very simple, yet complex topic. Keeping these things top of mind will help ensure you’re being genuine, possessing good character, and engaging in meaningful, truly effective conversations.