Communication = Success

Emily Allen's picture

Those working in administrative professions often hear how concrete skills are a must for success. You need your Certified Administrative Professional certification and your Microsoft Office Suite certification. These are necessary, but they are not enough.

Tangible skills are essential for getting hired and  keeping a job, but so are communication skills. Strong written, verbal and non-verbal communication skills will set you apart from others and help advance your career. Whether you’re writing for yourself or working to make your boss shine, below are a few tips to improve your communication skills.

Written communication
When you’re writing for someone else (such as your boss) take the extra time to understand what he wants communicated. Ask questions.  Take his assignment and drill down to understand not just the “what” but also the “how” and “why.” For example, to find how would you go about writing a staff memo about a change to the dress code, you’d need to truly understand why the dress code was changed from jeans to business casual. Uncovering the real story helps in writing more effective communications. Storytelling has become one of the best ways to communicate in business. The Harvard Business Review writes on how using story in business communications connects better with your stakeholders.

Verbal communication
How you speak makes a huge difference in how you’re perceived. Avoiding profanity in the office, speaking clearly without mumbling and looking directly at the person you’re addressing gives you credibility. When you’re communicating sensitive issues, it’s good practice to repeat what your boss or coworker said back to them to make sure you’re both saying the same things. According to Meryl Runion, author of several SpeakStrong books, “Mean what you say and say what you mean without being mean.” It’s a good axiom to live by in your professional, as well as your personal, life.

Non-verbal communication
Even when you’re not speaking, the way you stand, how you shake hands and hold your arms says volumes. Non verbal communication in business can make you more or less convincing, according to a recent MIT study. Become more aware of how you present yourself, even how you dress, stand and look at people when they are speaking. Watch those people at work that are respected and professional and begin to mirror them. Or better yet, ask them to mentor you.

Emily has worked as the Managing Editor of OfficePro magazine and Communications Manager at IAAP headquarters since March of 2008.