With the technology revolution upon us, automation continues to seep into various industries and transform the global workforce. Many of us are being nudged out of our jobs, replaced by robots. We are being forced to rethink how we can communicate our value to stay relevant in the workplace. Soft skills such as strong communication, collaboration and leadership are attributed to the success of tomorrow.
The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2022, 42% of the core skills required for a job will change. Soft skills such as higher-level thinking will overtake traditional hard-skills and remain vital in a technology-dominated workforce
The buzz around broadening our skill sets can no longer be ignored. Job descriptions now stretch beyond our comfort zone of expertise and with fewer opportunities up for grabs, the need to stand out from your peers to advance your career is real.
With enough on your plate already, it’s understandable if investing time and energy to up-skill your communication is not at the top of the priority list. But demand is growing for us to be more engaging and efficient in meetings, in front of audiences and in one-on-one conversations.
It begs the question, is this something you should bring further up in your priority list?
If you have your doubts, here are the answers to the 4 most common excuses we hear from professionals who are unsure if they should invest in professional communications training:
1. “I did some communication skills training a few years ago”
How often do you update the clothes in your wardrobe or the style of your haircut? What about your car?
Recently I was driving through the city to meet with a client. As I was waiting at a set of lights, a 1990 Toyota Camry staggered to a halt beside me. It was red with silver and black trim, just like my first car. As I gazed at it with a touch of nostalgia, I noticed the paint had faded and chipped, the interior looked a little tired and so did the driver. I remember back when it first hit the market, the Camry was in such demand for it’s modern style for the time, yet today it just seemed so outdated!
This is a bit like some of the communication styles we see out there. Many professionals have developed their communication skills by emulating someone else’s erroneous style from the 90’s and they’re just repeating it without question. It could be that you attending training with an old methodology or possibly you’re modelling from an old boss or colleague who seemed up to scratch a few years ago. Today we live in a time of overcrowded content and jam-packed schedules, so now more than ever, we need superb communication skills to grab the attention of our listeners and inspire them enough to take action.
Our ability to communicate requires ongoing work and refinement as the challenge of engaging with distracted audiences and stimulating action continues to augment. Think of your communication skills a bit like your haircut, your wardrobe, or your car – every so often we need to bring it up to date so we don’t get left behind!
The world is growing and changing at a rapid pace, so if you want to speak to your clients, customers and colleagues in the right way, don’t get left behind, invest in your future and your ability to communicate.
2. “I’m too shy to attend a communication skills program”
Different forms of communication are required of us at every stage and every age of life. It might be during the weekly team meeting, a sales pitch to potential clients, a presentation in front of the class or just a conversation with your boss. Like it or not, you simply cannot avoid communicating!
More than 70% of the executives and business owners we work with, present through gritted teeth because even though it is part of their job, they do not enjoy it or feel confident no matter how many times they have to do it.
At any level, good communication is an expected skill, so if you’re forcing yourself to do it under duress, why not give yourself some easily learnable skills to give you the confidence to do it well? If you are experiencing feelings of stress and anxiety whenever you are required to communicate, you are wasting so much valuable energy on something you cannot avoid.
Mastering the art of communication can take the weight off your shoulders, providing you with the tools to feel calm, clear and eloquent whenever you speak.
3. “I can’t justify the time off work”
Look back at the last few weeks, how much time have you spent in meetings every single day? How many of those were a waste of your time? Sometimes the topic at hand is not clear or the same information is being repeated because people have failed to absorb. Maybe a key player didn’t show up, or you simply tuned out because you have so many other priorities in your mind already.
Recent research from Atlassian suggests on average we attend 60 meetings per week, with half being considered a complete waste of our time! With this in mind, it is easy to see how quickly taking 2 days off to strengthen your ability to communicate will make up for itself month after month. Investing in your communication skills is an important commitment because it will improve both you and your team’s productivity and business skills.
In today’s competitive workplace environments, we are no longer able to stand out and progress solely through the quality of our work. While larger skills sets are required of us, there are fewer opportunities to broaden them in the workplace. According to a survey by the Brandon Hall Group in 2017, employees are receiving less help from their workplaces to develop their communication skills as companies shift training dollars toward senior leaders at the expense of middle- and low-level employees.
You can’t afford to sit around and wait for someone to notice your great work and tap you on the shoulder with the next big opportunity for your professional life. You need to find ways to stand out from your peers and connect with audiences and senior leaders and your ability to communicate will do this.
4. “I have a lot of experience so I know I am good at it”
Your communication skills may already be well refined from years of experience and you feel at ease when speaking in front of a large group. We speak to very experienced and practised communicators all the time. The idea here though is that you never master communication, it is a continuous process of finding your edge and going next level. To best assess how strong your ability to communicate is, consider these questions:
- How much of what you say is being remembered, are your key messages being absorbed?
- When you communicate your ideas, do people readily act on what you are saying?
- How engaged are your audiences while you communicate?
If any of these elements need work, you may want to consider adding to your capabilities to get the most out of your team and your time.
Our world-class Mastering Communication Program is designed to equip professionals with the skills and techniques you need to master the art of communication in one to one meetings, small group sessions and larger forums. By doing the program you will build the confidence and ability to make any colleague, client or stakeholder sit up and listen to you. Find out all the details and secure your seat at an upcoming workshop here.
The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and Coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.