Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Communication skills & career planning

I.M. Soni

EFFECTIVE communication is as important to career planning and promotion as breathing to life. Action, speech and writing are the major forms of expression.

Without self-expression you feel frustrated. With it you feel satisfied and significant.

Everyone is not in a job or position which gives opportunity for self-expression. However, your job provides you with ample scope for active communication. This depends on your attitude to work.

If you delight in a job well and thoroughly done, pouring all your skill in it, you are expressing yourself. Your work mirrors your personality. You are making your work an avenue for self-expression. This brings fulfilment and opens new avenues for going up the slippery success pole.

Through speech you express thoughts as well as emotion. If your speech shows boredom, hostility and anger, you are sabotaging your own chances of promotion and advancement, others distance themselves from you at the workplace. You must express yourself effectively as well as attractively.

You need a good command on language. You are handicapped if you stumble along on a limited vocabulary. You also need acquaintance with classic structures and conventions of language.

A pathetic string of expressions like ‘you know’, ‘sort of, ‘I mean’, fabulous’, ‘fantastic’, and ‘super’ is no substitute for words that work, communicate to express, not to impress!

Efficient writing is a craft you acquire after serious effort. What a "writer" needs most is writing.

Writing is one way to make an impact on the people who matter in your career and life.

Aim at maximum clarity in writing whether it is a covering letter, application or CV. Leave nothing to chance or open to more than one confusing, conflicting interpretations.

Read the sentence given below and see if you can make anything out of it. "We need to achieve conceptual communication within permitted parameters to gain the maximum mileage from our policies. You are defeating the purpose of writing communication of ideas. You are sacrificing accuracy as well as readability. Padding produces "muddy" language.

Avoid generalisations like: Thanking in anticipation. Hoping to hear from you at the earliest. Always at your disposal. Assuring you my best effort in every direction.

Edit down, not up. Be a ‘miser’ in use of words. There should be no wasted words. Eliminate the unnecessary. This gives your style clarity and punch.

Look for specific spots where improvement is possible — conceptually as well as stylistically. A good word should be replaced with a better one.

Your career connected letters are carefully scanned. Be on guard. Don’t be ‘friendly’ or informal. Watch. Salutations and signatures should be in uniformity, based on accepted norms, not wayward and fanciful.