When entering the professional world, it’s important to understand how to communicate powerfully in different situations. Here are some tips to get started.
Meeting with your boss. In a one-on-one conversation with your boss, you need to demonstrate that you are proactive and goal-oriented. If you are discussing a challenge that needs to be resolved, suggest a measurable step you can take to address the issue. Phrases like, “This is what I recommend moving forward,” will make a good impression.
At a conference. Don’t be afraid to speak up! Know that your contributions are needed. Group meetings often focus on creating plans with tactics, so be sure to explain concisely how your suggestions will move the project forward.
Writing an email. When it comes to email, being overly formal can give the impression that you’re trying too hard to sound “professional.” Still, don’t use abbreviations you’d use in a text. Read it out loud before you send it to make sure it conveys what you are intending.
Job interview. Be authentic. Explain why you want to work for the company and what you have to offer. If the interviewer asks about areas where you could improve, be honest—and assure her that you will work to refine your skills. Your goal is to appear genuine, confident and engaged.
Brainstorming with a co-worker. When working on a project with a colleague, demonstrate open-mindedness and a desire to collaborate. If you disagree with her suggestions, don’t simply reject them. Instead, use phrases like, “I understand your point and I have some thoughts.” This will assure her that your main concern is the success of the project, not overpowering her.
Getting feedback. Constructive input isn’t meant to be taken personally. Your first reaction might be to defend your work, but this could be seen as making excuses. Instead, respond courteously. Thank them for their suggestions, then reflect on what they’ve said. Learn from what resonates with you and let the rest go.
Letting fear take the wheel.
If you’re afraid your boss doesn’t think you’re doing a good job, you’ll likely react defensively to constructive feedback. Acknowledge your fear, but don’t let it determine how you interact with her.
Having a rigid agenda.
If you approach a meeting with the intention of convincing everyone to agree to your ideas, you likely won’t be open to suggestions from colleagues. Effective communication requires a give and take, so don’t be closed-minded.
Being all business.
When you have a long to-do list, you probably want to get through it as quickly as possible. But it’s important to take a few minutes to check in with your co-workers and find out how they’re doing.