There are many skills which students do not learn in colleges , but these skills like empathy , listening and communication are important for success writes Geetika Mishra , an H R exert.
Developing one’s CV is arguably one of the most important steps to enter and navigate in the professional world. A good CV casts a good first impression, but what happens once you are past this first step?
As a recruiter, we always seek qualities in a candidate that are more than what is documented in the CV which makes them stand apart, regardless the candidate being a fresh graduate or an experienced player.
So, what are those skills? Let’s see – to name some is: Communication, Attitude, Leadership.
Here We are going to start with one and most important is Communication Skill:
We are calling it a Skill – Because it can be learnt, at any point of your life. You are not born with it.
Communication is not only important to convey your message – it is extremely important to make sure the message understood as intended.
When we talk about Communication – we talk about 6 pillars of communication –
Assertiveness 2- Authenticity 3- Open-mindedness 4- Empathy 5- Clarity 6- Listening.
While the names are self-describing, an appropriate understanding of the skill of communication would need a deeper Insight to these pillars.
Assertiveness: When you have something that you want to convey – convey it with confidence – frame your sentences properly before you speak
“Think before you speak” applies here.
Avoid any kind of fillers; fillers are the sounds, words we use to fill in the gaps while we are collecting our thoughts.
Some people use, Hmm, umm, what to say, you know, what I mean is, and many more.
Now imagine a sentence –
“I wanted to pursue MBA because – I wanted to gain a professional degree and have an edge before entering the business world. “
Now imagine this sentence with the Fillers.
“I wanted to pursue MBA because ummm, you know, what to say – I wanted to gain a professional degree, and you know – to have an edge, you know before I enter the business world. “
Now decide for your self- which one sounds better.
Long story short – if you want to say something – say it with confidence, Sound confident, and avoid the fillers.
Authenticity: Unless you are a very good Storyteller – do not copy somebody else’s story to paste it at the opportune moment. This will do more harm than good to your conversation, creating false impression and you are more likely to fall during follow -up questions. Unless necessary – depend on your genuine experiences, the story you can stand by.
In my experience in Employment market I have witnessed many people who think of something as a good story – and try to use it as theirs during interviews and/or small talks, and when the follow-up questions come, the story is shattered in pieces.
Open Mindedness: As they say, it is hard to fill a cup that is already full. It is for benefit of one’s own growth to keep the cup half filled. The major mistake that one can make is rigidity in approach i.e. – not acknowledging the Point of View (POV) of the other people. My recent experience is with this person – very talented, super confident but stuck with a rigid frame of mind that their experience was the only way things are possible and there is definitely just one side to a coin.
The best way forward to situations like this is Open Mindedness,
Being able acknowledge, accept the feedback, listening to the solutions.
How you react to opposite Views is very important and is seen as very important skill. Having a genuine respect for others and other POV is a starting step to be open minded and to also step forward towards the virtue of empathy, which is our next pillar.
Empathy: Once – I was standing with my Japanese counterparts – we were talking in English, suddenly the other Japanese asked a question in Japanese, and I Answered.
To let you know, I do not know how to speak Japanese – but the Skill I used, was – Empathy.
Empathy is Severely underplayed Skill, Empathy is something which makes us human, and which will keep us +1 over the AI, and ROBOTS.
We are gifted with an ability to read the emotions and how someone would feel, react to certain words/ actions under given situations. We can read gestures, differentiate a genuine smile form the fake, understand the mood so why not use it intelligently?
Our parents use to tell us- “put yourself is somebody else’s shoes”, who knew this would become a whole new skill in itself.
In-case you still wondering what is empathy, and how to use it – start with putting yourself in another person’s pace and see how will you react to certain situation, would you act any different? This analysis will give you an idea how to proceed from there, what decision to make, what to expect.
With empathy you can even understand the language you do not know.
Clarity: Have you ever been in a situation where you say something which is very clear in your head, but the person in front seems confused, as if you spoke Alien?
Whenever you are speaking always keep your Audience and surroundings in mind. The thing we are looking for here is, clarity. This clarity can come with the language you use, the volume you speak, the tone you use, and with the speed you talk.
Try to use appropriate words, with Right tone and right volume and avoid unnecessary jargons.
Try to break down your content in simple format, this will help you convey your thoughts in an easy manner, without confusing your audience.
Remember you are talking to achieve some result – even if the result is just delivering a message. If your message is not understood by the second party, your goal is unfulfilled.
Listening: Before we even Jump to what we need to do what not to do to be a better listener, one needs to understand the difference between Hearing and Listening.
Hearing – is a function, you have functional ears, you can hear. It is involuntary, no efforts needed. You hear the Sound on the traffic, you can hear the birds Chirping in the morning, and you can hear people talking.
On the other hand;
Listening – is a Skill – it needs your Voluntary effort to use your hearing plus your Understanding, and empathy to listen to anything or anyone.
Now, what can you do to be a good listener.
First and foremost – listen to understand, not to reply or ask question.
When we listen reply, we only hear – what we want to hear, we often miss the whole context and never grab the essence of the conversation.
Be patient – let the person finish the whole sentence. Half knowledge or half sentence both are equally dangerous!
Use the skills like Empathy and open-mindedness to be a better listener.
Listening is one of the most important Skills – the one you will always need to communicate better. You need to be as good of a listener, as you are a speaker.
While we discussed touched the 6 pillars one by one, you can always learn more. With mode of communication evolving with time, so are the skills and essentials needed with each mode. We moved from signs to languages, from Letter to phone calls, from in-person to Online meetings, one can only think, what the future beholds. the only option we are left with is to evolve with time, with the changes in scenario – we might have to evolve faster, learn quicker and adapt even quick.
“it’s not distance that keeps people apart, it’s the lack of Communication”: source Web.
Geetika Mishra is Human Resource Expert currently based in Jakarta , Indonesia.
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