Posted in Career Advice for Young Professionals Communication Skills Generation Y/Millennials Managing Generation Y Managing Generational Differences Personal Branding Professionalism on February 25, 2014 at 8:57 am
In today’s multi-generational, global, constantly changing world, communication skills — both oral and written — are more important than anything else you can bring to a job. You can’t lead without good communication and no matter how technical or virtual the workplace becomes, your ability to speak and write well will differentiate you from your peers and determine the amount of success you’ll achieve.
Moreover, in every employer survey I read where they ask about Millennials, the employers say communication skills are what they want the most. They also say Millennials tend to lack those skills.
If you count yourself among the Millennials (aka Gen Y), and are a leader now or hope to move into a leadership role in the next few years, follow these tips to prepare yourself and show your employer what you’re capable of.
Watch out for speech patterns that make you sound too young
The top three problematic expressions I tend to hear when students and young employees come up to talk to me after I’ve given a speech are “um,” “like” and “you know.” I also hear a lot of upspeak, which occurs when you use a higher tone of voice at the end of a sentence as if you’re asking a question even when you aren’t.
These verbal quirks send the message that you’re young and inexperienced. Using them is a habit you’ll want to drop sooner rather than later, if you want to be taken seriously and advance at work.
A lot of people don’t realize they’re talking this way, so make an effort to listen to yourself or ask a friend to listen and let you know.
Communicate in your audience’s style
Communication is not about asserting yourself; it’s about getting your message across.
For the first time in history, we have a four-generation workplace, and each generation, generally, likes to communicate in different ways. The best leaders and most effective communicators find out how their colleagues like to communicate and use that preferred method as much as possible.
That may mean you have to call people who like to talk on the phone even though you’re most comfortable sending an e-mail. Or it could mean you have to use a more formal tone in your communications even though you prefer casual interactions.
Remember: Shorter is better
In the academic environments where you’ve spent most of your lives, you’ve learned to write long sentences using flowery, complicated language because that’s what your teachers rewarded and it helped you hit the mandatory word counts on assignments (or maybe that was just me …). Now that you’re in the business world, you need to learn to do the exact opposite.
I hear so many employers and workers from other generations complain about Millennials writing really long e-mails with too much detail. Whether you’re writing an e-mail, a report or some other business document, you should make every effort to be concise and use short sentences and bullet points to convey your message. My mantra: When in doubt, edit it out!
Don’t hide behind technology
Many Millennials use e-mail as their go-to method of communication, but in some situations it can take longer to achieve your goal that way. There are so many times when you can get things done more effectively by just picking up the phone or taking a short walk over to a colleague’s desk for a quick conversation. Choosing a more personal, direct communication style also builds your credibility and relationship with the other person.
Posted in Career Advice for Young Professionals Career Change Future of Careers Generation Y/Millennials Getting from College to Career Job Interview Advice Managing Generational Differences Now Trending Personal Branding Professionalism on February 14, 2014 at 8:45 am
In my “Now Trending” series, I curate five recently published articles that capture the future of work or embrace the Millennial mindset. Share your favorite articles of the week in a comment!
This Time article elaborates on MassMutual’s study called “The 2013 State of the American Family,” and cites statistics detailing what Millennials believe is the definition of success. The “American Dream” to this generation looks noticeably different than what is usually associated with that term. Millennials value the opportunity to travel, not settle, and the idea of becoming an entrepreneur excites them more than older generations.
There are a lot of great lists out there that help you find the best blogs to read regularly. I liked College Magazine‘s take on creating a “must read” list because the author, college sophomore, Anna Hecht, picked 10 blogs for specific purposes. She recommends her top picks for finding inspiration, making the most of your internship, figuring out how to fit in at the office and several more. Thank you, Anna, for naming my blog as the “Looking for jobs” choice!
Barry Salzberg, Global CEO of Deloitte, shared results from his firm’s global survey of Millennials in this post on LinkedIn. Chief among the findings are that Millennials expect employers to care about the world around them — something I hear often in my conversations with Millennials — and that a culture of innovation is a top priority for this generation
If you want to be “super awesome” in an interview, you’ll want to cut back on your use of phrases like “No worries” and “picking your brain.” Trudy Steinfeld, friend and leader of NYU’s Wasserman Center for Career Development, tells you all about what recruiters and career services experts say are their least favorite words to hear from a candidate. Make sure you read this piece for a tune-up to your professional vocabulary.
The key to creating a strong personal brand is to demonstrate your strengths and communicate, quite specifically, about the work you do or want to do. But, how do you do that when you’re in career transition? Entrepreneur and executive coach, Jess Giesea, wrote this post on LinkedIn to help you manage your move, both online and in person. I particularly like his advice to “Have a story, even if its unfolding.” When you can point to a few specific areas of interest and ask your network for help, the results will often surprise you.
What other content caught your eye this week? Please share in the comments!
Image credit: word cloud from wordle.net
Tags: advice for college grads, Career Advice for Young Professionals, communication, future of work, Generation Y/Millennials, generational differences, job searching, Millennials, Networking and Personal Branding, young professionals