Professional Practice: 3 Tips for Stellar Communications Skills
By high school, you’ve experienced hundreds of English lessons; from writing and reading to grammar and syntax— whether remembered or not— it’s all been covered. By the time college roles around, and especially by the time you’ve finished college, however, so much of what we’ve learned is lost.
Most, if not all, colleges require Freshman 101 English and Communications courses, but these ultra-important classes can easily be overlooked as ’not as meaningful’ as major studies— which means that you may not have learned or remembered all that you should.
Professionally, as a post-grad communications strategist, and personally, as a true ‘word nerd,’ I greatly value the importance of being a stellar speaker and writer. To help you get started, I’ve highlighted three quick tips below that will prepare you for any situation where your communications skills need to shine.
1. Speak thoughtfully. This may seem like a given, but think about it, many of us are ready to open our mouthes to answer a question before the speaker is even finished. Give yourself a few seconds, up to 5, to formulate your answer in your mind— especially if you’re on an interview. Just those few more seconds to soak up your ideas may help you deliver a more concise, clear response. It also shows that you’re listening, another essential skill, and not just trying to talk.
2. Reread Digital Communications. And then read them again— always. Often, even with a professional writing degree, I find typos in my communications, especially emails, not just after one read through, but sometimes even on the third or fourth. Try quietly reading the words to yourself aloud, if possible. Case and point? Once, after a small email typo was viewed by a former boss, the VP of Marketing for a top publication, she gently reminded me that what you say is always remembered and to never allow the urge to answer quickly outshine your ability to always show your best self.
3. Brush up by reading. A lot. One of the easiest and most effective ways of enhancing your communications skills is by consistently reading and consuming words. Most of the new vocabulary words I pick up are from articles I’ve read on my favorite websites. Make good choices, however. As sad as it is, reading a half-a-day’s worth of US Weekly or People won’t make you a wordsmith. Make some higher-brow choices that interest you— love culture and society news? Try Vanity Fair. Really into fashion? W is for you. This helps learning feel less like a chore and more like a leisure activity— and just think how much more you’ll know in the process!
I hope that these tips help you easily practice these essential skills. In a world so over-saturated with soundbites and slang; being a well-spoken woman, confident in your communications, will undoubtedly help you to stand above the pack at any stage of life.
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