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Monday, June 14, 2010

Soft Skill - How Effective is your Communication

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION - Earlier in the customer service section we spoke about listening skills, being polite, diction, tone and all of the physical characteristics of communication. To be effective on the job there are several other components.

Work related terminology – specific jobs require specific skills, and typically specific language. If you are a carpenter you would know what the term jack rafter means, but might not know what a mother board is. The terminology you learn in a skilled career path normally doesn’t change unless there is new technology developed or processes implemented in a particular company.

Barriers to communication – would include things like:

• Noise – this could mean physical noise like machinery or wind, but it actually means any distraction that keeps you from effectively relaying your message to the intended receiver. It could be an open file on your desk, a picture on the wall, a ringing phone or any number of things.

• Mental – the recipient or the sender does not have the right frame of mind to send or receive the message as intended.

• Word Selection – using the proper words when giving the message, simple, concrete terms instead of complex, abstract phrases help convey your message appropriately. English especially has a challenge as one word can sound the same as another but have totally different meanings i.e. Rode or Road: witch or which: there or their: bear or bare; or, stare or stair.

• Media Selection – what sort of media are you using to convey the communication? Is social media going to do the job? Do you use a telephone? Is video an option? Is the communication being sent by email or in a letter/envelope? Will the media be able to explain the thought you are trying to convey as well as a face-to-face encounter?

• Time & Space - both periods of time and physical locations can be a barrier. Being able to discuss at the moment that a discussion needs to take place isn’t always an option. What method do you use to effectively overcome this barrier? Is it memos, voicemail, or what?

• Empathy – This is an important barrier. Empathy defined is “understanding so intimate that the feelings, thoughts, and motives of one are readily comprehended by another. “ Many messages are effectively communicated because the sender “feels” the same feelings as the receiver. Without empathy, many messages are “pushed aside” upon receipt because the receiver feels unappreciated or something similar.

Ability to Communicate in English – with the population in most major metropolitan areas becoming more ethnically diverse, the job ads are stating “Bilingual” within the ad more frequently. While this is a plus on the job seeker side, it does not mean that you would communicate solely in a primary language other than English. If English is not your primary language, finding resources to help you learn how to read, write and speak in English would be recommended to make you the most marketable in today’s workplace.

Follow oral and written directions – Being able to do your job completely requires you to follow directions. Unless you own the company and charting the direction of the business, you will need to be able to complete tasks at the direction of others. You may receive instructions by speaking directly to a supervisor, or you may receive a memo or email giving you directions for a task or project. If you don’t understand the directions, you will need to be able to ask the appropriate questions to be able to finish the task on time and correctly.

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