Career advice from Carol Vernon, certified executive coach, principal of Communication Matters
How important are communication skills? How we communicate has a direct impact on our career success and is the most visible sign of our leadership presence. Our use of fine-tuned formal and informal communication skills is noticed and rewarded. On the flip side, our inability to present like a seasoned professional and communicate effectively with multiple stakeholders greatly impacts our short- and long-term success.
How can a person begin boosting his or her executive-level communication skills? The reality is that if you want to succeed in influencing others, you need to be intentional about three things: observing the communication skills of successful leaders inside and outside of your organization, identifying the communication culture of your organization so you can sync up to it in an appropriate and authentic manner, and creating your own development plan for evolving your communication skills as your career evolves.
What’s the critical next step? Making time to practice, recording yourself, getting feedback—and then identifying one, two, or three skills to focus on is a good path forward. You might focus on message construction or word choices, the tone and quality of your voice, or your body language. All matter, and all show up in both your in-person and e-communications. You may never be perfect—that isn’t the goal—but ensuring that you keep growing your skills is key.