Communication in Personal and Professional Life
There is a very important key to a person’s success that is often overlooked. It’s not a special way they comb their hair or a special scent of perfume, but rather something that they have been working on since birth. It is their ability to communicate clearly and effectively. Strong language skills are absolutely required to survive and succeed in today’s business world. This skill is even more necessary for somebody who works in a position that requires them to interact with the public or large amounts of their coworkers. When they deal with customers or business partners they are representing their employer.
If they communicate effectively, they build a positive image for the company and themselves, which can often lead to promotions or raises. Even before someone starts a job, their communication skills are important. In a typical interview the applicants are given a brief amount of time to show their ability to speak, listen, and respond in a clear and concise manner. If they use the correct words in the correct context they are much more likely to receive the job. The idea behind the interview process is actually quite simple.
The prospective employer has already seen their resumes, checked their work history and references, and has often seen their college transcripts. They already know what has been achieved by the applicant and what they should be capable of. The whole purpose of the interview process is to speak with them directly, and see how polished the applicant’s verbal skills are. Strong communication skills are also important on the job. This applies to both written and verbal communication. In a retail sales position, the salesperson needs to be aware of not only how to convey certain bits of information, but also how to word their dialog positively.
Having a strong command of the English language allows one to better understand the connotations associated with different words. “Cheap” is a commonly used word, but in a sales environment “inexpensive” would convey the same meaning without the negative aspects associated with “cheap” items. Correct word selection is also important when dealing with coworkers, superiors, and subordinates. If someone were to tell their boss that their business plan was “wrong” due to lacking in certain areas, it would likely be taken as more of a personal attack than a piece of constructive criticism.
If the word “unpolished” were used, it would imply that the whole of the plan was still good, but it contains minor imperfections that can be smoothed out. A person’s command of words can also have a positive or negative impact on their personal lives. When two people in a relationship are both effective communicators there is a much higher likelihood of problems being resolved. Knowing the correct words and their usage also allows one to more fully explain their feelings and opinions. The human emotion system is vastly complex.
The more words a person has command of, the more likely they are to be able to convey the emotions they are feeling and the cause of those emotions. Strong communication skills are also important when raising children. Children have an especially hard time expressing their emotions in positive ways. When they grow up learning ways to express themselves verbally by observing their parents, it often makes the parent-child relationship much less stressed. The fact that a strong vocabulary is important to success is actually no secret at all.
In fact, several popular magazines have features in every issue that list “power words” and their definitions, along with suggested usages. People even pay large amounts of money to receive audio tapes and computer programs to help them enhance their vocabulary. An effective vocabulary is much easier and less expensive to acquire than the marketers of those audio tapes would like people to think. The means lies in a book common to almost every household. That book is, of course, the Dictionary. Its companion, the Thesaurus, is equally important. They both hold the key to developing word power.
Knowledge of words is only the first part of becoming a successful communicator. The next step requires observation. Observe the uses of different words and their connotations in different situations. Observe the positive and negative reactions to certain words. The last part is probably the most complex. It is the ability to listen effectively. When someone is speaking consider not only the specific words that they use, but also the meanings and intentions behind each of the words. This can help you to not only better understand what is being said, but also to perceive underlying motives.
Many times you may notice that someone is expressing displeasure, but doing so in a way that less observant people with an inferior understanding of word usage may never pick up on. This can lead to people seeing you as intuitive, and can have innumerable positive effects on your personal and professional life. Another part of effective communication is knowing the correct words to use in certain settings. Certain words may not match certain social settings, and may result in the user being considered “rude” or “snooty. ” By observing the conversational norms you can better adapt your language to those around you.
This can be a great skill in a workplace that requires you to have contact with a diverse customer base. Cultural differences also require observation. Some cultures appreciate displeasure being voiced in an indirect, polite manner, while others view this type of behavior as a sign that someone is dishonest and insincere. On the other end of the spectrum, stately words would be quite appropriate in some occasions. When in the company of scholars, diplomats, or other well-educated people, one may be viewed as a simpleton for using casual language. The ability to communicate is a great skill that is often undeveloped.
Having command of a large vocabulary is usually the most noticeable aspect of communication skills, but it is only one of the required skills. The words you use, along with their usage, connotations, and implications, often form others’ opinions of you and your character. In the workplace these communication skills are especially important. In order to achieve a managerial position, you must be able to not only effectively communicate to your superiors why you deserve the position, but also be able to communicate effectively with your subordinates in a manner that encourages teamwork and inspires respect.