Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Communication Truths You Must Embrace To Excel

 
 
 
 



It doesn't matter if you're an accountant, engineer or a public relations expert.



 
 
It also won't matter if your entrepreneurial endeavours are steeped in the oil sector or birthed in tech.
 
 
 
At some point in your professional journey, you'd be required to emerge from the field, corner office or that workstation, to articulate your ideas in an important presentation to a boss/potential client/investor, or to pen a convincing memo/report/proposal for a worthwhile venture.
 
 
 
This fate will soon befall you if you haven't yet experienced the sheer panic that will engulf you when you learn of some communication that you'd be required to deliver. 

 


You can of course reassure yourself that you're the expert in your field and are thus exempt from the extra hassle of communicating effectively.
 

 
But you'd do yourself a disservice. The reality we face is that information is no longer the sole preserve of the elite, and it can be accessed at lightening speed via the internet and by innovations in technology. Indeed, the ease with which we retrieve information, even personal data, as evidenced by  the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal is unprecedented.
 
 

Here’s the paradox of this information age:




The more data that circulate the waves, creating the overload we've come to dread, the more tuned off we've become. We're simply overwhelmed by too many choices competing for our time.



This means that unless you make concrete efforts to stand out and become memorable by communicating effectively in speech and in writing, you're contributing to the clutter online. Moreover, without above-average communication skills, you'd be considered irrelevant - the death knell in your professional advancement.



Interestingly, research-backed benefits of good communication skills include the following revelations:



1) They’re the most desirable quality in a new hire.



2) They aid in the development of leadership skills.



3) They make you more money as a highly skilled communicator at the workplace.


 

Therefore, elevating your communication skills is necessary for advancement. To help you on this journey, below are three truths about communication that you must embrace in your career and business:

 
 
1) Becoming a convincing speaker is achievable
 
Anyone can become a memorable speaker..

 
 
 
 
 
Don't let people convince you that your background, limitations or unimpressive education automatically disqualify you from that exclusive group of dynamic speakers.
 
 
But it takes time, effort and discipline to achieve mastery in communication.
 
 
You must become almost obsessive about self-education as a non-negotiable requirement. You should ideally also sign up for formal training.
 
 
The popular saying—a goal without a plan is just a wish—rings true.
 
 
I've addressed the issue of improving your oral communication skills in different articles on this blog, but a recap is pertinent here, so:
 
 
a) Volunteer for more speaking gigs
 
To hone your oral skills, put yourself out there. From pro bono programmes and work-related activities, to networking sessions and conferences -  seek opportunities to speak. You must be willing to work despite your fear of speaking in public.
 
 
b) Join your local chapter of Toastmasters Club
 
There, you'd be critiqued but supported. Many speakers have attested to the usefulness of being held accountable for their progress by participating in regular speaking activities.
 
 
c) Seek help online
 
Numerous resources abound online and on social media to help you improve your speaking and presentation skills. From blogs, webinars and seminars, to workshops, courses and books - there's no excuse for remaining complacent.
 
Many of those resources are free, so take advantage of this information age and arm yourself with knowledge that would sharpen your communication skills.
 
 
d) Get coached by experts with proven records (bonus tip)
 
Although this option might be expensive, consider formal training in public speaking and effective presentations as an investment that will continue to yield favourable returns in your business and your career long after the programmes.

 
One-on-one coaching sessions by experts who speak professionally would be particularly invaluable in terms of the feedback you’d receive, as well as advice on tools/resources they’d recommend for you to continue to hone your craft.
 
 
After the education in public speaking, painstakingly practise what you learn. With discipline in continuous learning and practice in proven methods, you'd yield consistent results that translate to quicker career progression and more business opportunities.
 
 
Remember that anyone is capable of becoming a memorable speaker. If you need more reassurance, this  post  explains how effective communication can be learned; it isn't an innate skill a select few are born with.
 

 
 
2) Speaking with purpose wins over more people
 
"Speak clearly if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall ".
 
- Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894).


 
 
 
It takes certain wisdom to speak only when you've got something meaningfully to say.
 
 
From team meetings, focus groups deliberations and committee hearings, to tense debates, negotiations and media engagements, practise active listening and weigh your words before you speak.
 
 
Speaking with purpose communicates two crucial things: i) that you've thoroughly considered the topic and will bring insights necessary for action; ii) that you're a thoughtful, credible professional who's the best person to lead/handle the issue.
 
 
Therefore, speak in a simple manner; speak in a succinct fashion; and speak in clear terms. The higher the stakes, the more readily you should adhere to simplicity, brevity and clarity - the three beacons of effective communication.
 
 
Note also that those who are deliberate in their utterances and whose words are seasoned by their credibility (ethos), by emotion (pathos), and  by logic (logos)—adhering to  Aristotle's suggestions for persuasion—are seen as trustworthy and would win over more people.
 
 
Strive to be one of them.
 
 
 

 
3) Writing concisely leads to quicker results
 
"That writer does the most, who gives his reader the most knowledge, and takes from him the least time".
 
- Caleb Charles Colton (1780-1832).
 
 
 
 

Brevity was relevant in Colton's time, but it's more pertinent now because of the fast-paced era of the 21st  century.

 

People have little time (and less patience) for confusing emails, ambiguous articles, long-winded reports or tedious white papers, even if the grammar is impeccable and the style is flawless.
 

If you master the art of conciseness in all your communications, especially in your business writing, you'd get quicker responses to requests and stronger actions from your recipients.

 

Then there's the bonus  of  being  considered the subject matter expert for the issue you're handling, and of being appointed the leader in an initiative because of your perceived mastery.



However, note the caveat - it's challenging to write in a concise, compelling manner, if you don't truly understand your topic, or if you haven't used certain methods to trim the clutter to emerge with crisp content.

 

That's why this post on achieving conciseness  in your business writing gives tips you could use to become a convincing writer who achieves goals. The expanded version is available on website of the  Case Center organisation.

 

Regularly practise those suggestions for optimal results.

 


 Conclusion
 
 
 
Good communication is no longer a desirable skill at the workplace. Now a pertinent ability, it is expected in all professional feats if you want to succeed.
 
 
New hires, mid-level managers, C-suite executives, and leadership pundits, should all realise that excellent communication skills distinguish one professional from the next.
 
 
You won’t always be the most experienced, talented or knowledgeable person at the workplace or in your business circle. Nonetheless, you can significantly differentiate your profile from others by displaying persuasive communication skills.
 
 
So dare to be different. Use the suggestions made in this article and advance boldly.
 

And now, over to you:
 
What other communication truths have you learned that bring results?

 
Kindly post your comments below.
 
If you enjoyed this post don't rush off just yet. Please remember to:

 
ØShare this article in your social networks by clicking on the icons below.
 
ØSign up for updates in the blog's right sidebar on the homepage so that you are immediately notified via email when a new blog post is published. Don’t miss any more articles!

 
 
Need help with improving your communication skills?

 
Hire me for:

v Communication training and  sessions for  your staff and executives;

v One-on-one coaching in speeches/presentations and in business writing;

v Speeches and keynote presentations at your corporate events;

v Writing assignments (content creation, executive speeches, etc.).


Let me help you get results.

 
Contact me:
A) Send an email to: Lucilleossai@gmail.com.
 
B) Call for a free consultation: 
 
Nigeria:           0704 631 0592
International: +234 704 631 0592  
 
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N.B:   First and fourth images are courtesy of Stuart Miles, via freedigitalphotos.net. Second and fifth images are courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net. Third image is courtesy of Iosphere, via freedigitalphotos.net.
 

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Six Years Of Blogging Via A Treasure Trove Of Insightful Articles

 




As I approached the sixth year of my blogging journey, several things happened in quick succession.



First, more consulting opportunities came along; I was approached by a reputable organisation for an interesting assignment. I was both excited and apprehensive but challenged myself to provide exceptional service, given the caliber of the client. The astounding feedback received after the session delighted, but also humbled me. I realised I would need to continue to strive for excellence to surpass expectations. That plan is still work in progress.



Second, two awards were given to this blog by two completely different, but important organisations. I was unaware that many readers across the globe appreciated my articles, given that only a few comments are regularly posted. Nevertheless, because the criteria used for selection of the awards were objective and based on the quality of posts, Google reputation and social media influence, I was elated.
 
 
Third, I made my first media appearance. I was contacted by a host of the official radio station of the Lagos State Government, and invited to give a 30-minute discussion on how effective business writing lead to more opportunities.
 
 
Then there were the seminars, pro bono programmes and other activities that I was invited to participate in, mostly because of my body of work as a communications blogger.
 
 
So blogging continues to stretch me professionally. It has not only made me a better communicator, but has also exposed me to opportunities whereby I could share my knowledge to make a real difference in society.
 
 

And that’s why I continue to cherish the journey.        



Therefore, in keeping with our tradition, as this blog clocks six this month, it’s my pleasure to share quotes from the articles that were posted during the period under review. You’d find that many posts are didactic. They would also provide value to inspire you to achieve your goals.

 

Without further ado, below are the quotes:

 

1) “People will thank us when our addresses are short but sweet; they will support us when our reports are brief but comprehensive; and they would act swiftly when our emails include one-liners that hit the spot".


Post: 
Conciseness - How Effective A Communicator Are You?


Date:  
April 2017.

URL:
 
Description:
Being concise in your communications gets quicker results. Learn how to master this skill for greater effectiveness in your career.
 
 
2) “There has to be some spark, some moment in your long (or short) professional life, whereby you felt truly fulfilled because your efforts lead to results that made everything you had endured up until that point worth it.

 
 
 
Post:
Discussion Forum  #5 - What Has Been Your Proudest Career Moment?

 
Date:
May 2017.

 
URL:

 
Description:
Despite the stress, disappointments and failures, there is one moment in your professional journey that made everything worth it.  In this discussion forum, you’re given full rein to share your proudest career moment and to highlight the lessons learned.

 

3) “The allure of value is undeniable in all communication, particularly in business writing. Therefore, explicitly state the benefit you would provide to your recipient for the response you seek.



Post:
How To Write The Most Compelling Content Of Your Career.


Date:
June 2017.


 
URL:
http://lucille-ossai.blogspot.com.ng/2017/06/how-to-write-most-compelling-content-of.html#axzz4lOWltScB.

 

Description:
At 2,200+ words, this article provides valuable advice on how to write compelling emails and formal letters. Whether you need to write an important email, report or formal letter, the tips given will eliminate the dread faced when you’re required to compose the most important content of your career. Share widely.

 


4) “We did not suddenly lose vital brain cells when we became mothers”.
 


 
 
Post:
An Open Letter To Management - From Working Mothers. 

 
Date:
July  2017.

 
URL:
 
 
Description:
Working mothers, hitherto silent about their career concerns, finally bare all in this candid letter to management. Members of the Big Boys’ Club, ignorant HR executives or other professionals - learn what makes these professional women tick for a more productive workplace.

 
 
5) “When considered alongside with passion, perseverance produces grit, and grit is a predictor of success”.

 
Post:
Perseverance - The Invaluable Tool For Successful Careers.

 

Date:
August  2017.

URL:

 
Description:
Perseverance forms character and leads to lasting results. For success in your career, find out why you should prioritise this admirable quality and develop grit, as advised by Angela Lee Duckworth, whose TED talk is included in this article.
 
Also, be inspired by the personal account of the author's eight-year journey to landing a dream job.
 
 
 
6) “…Being able to dispassionately address a volatile situation to try to find common ground is important when dealing with conflict”.

 
Post:
How To Deal With A Maddening Professional.

 
 


Date:

September  2017.


URL:
http://lucille-ossai.blogspot.com.ng/2017/09/how-to-deal-with-maddening-professional.html#axzz4tskhagss.


Description:
Sooner or later, you'd be required to handle opposition from a galling individual. Arm yourself with these two practical tips to preserve your credibility.

 

 
7) “Once you know the rules, there’s no one on this planet you wouldn't be able to write to. 
 
Post: 
Your Business Writing Skills - Where Do You Stand?

 
Date:  
October 2017.
 
URL:
 
 
Description:
A declaration is necessary here: This is the only article that you’d need to read this year about improving your business writing.  It covers all the bases.

In this post, the author gives away useful nuggets that are often only revealed in paid seminars or training sessions. This post thus provides undisputed value.


 
 
8) “Aim to boost clarity in your business communications, and you would soon be known as a professional who consistently delivers results”.
 


 
Post:
The Case For Clarity In Business Communication.

 
Date:  
November  2017.

 
URL:
 
Description: 
Clarity is sometimes the unappreciated sibling to simplicity and brevity. This post thus makes a compelling case for the importance of clarity in both oral and written communication. Learn how to strive for clarity in your business communication and get concrete results.

 
 
9) “I bided my time and believed that my discipline in posting high quality posts would pay off”.

 
Post:
Adieu 2017…
 
Date:
December 2017.

 
URL:
 



Description:

The editor of the Rethinking Business Communications Blog highlighted the blog's award for being one of the top 30 communication blogs on the web in 2017. She also recommended three articles that every professional should read for success. 
  

 

 

10) “Simple doesn't mean simplistic.


Post:
Mastering Simplicity In Business Communication For Speedier Results.

 
 
Date:
January 2018.


 
URL:

 
Description:
Simplicity in your business communications paves the way for speedier results. Learn why you must simplify your messaging, and use the practical tips provided to fulfill your communication goals.
 


 
 
11) “What will get you through those hallowed corridors of reputable organisations is one indisputable fact: The value you bring”.
Post:
Dear Nigerian Jobseeker: It's A Jungle Out There But...

 
Date:
February 2018.
 
URL:
 

Description:
 
As a (fresh) Nigerian graduate, you could increase your chances of landing a good job. Learn practical tips on how to make you desirable to reputable organisations. And it's not always about your qualifications. Not just for Nigerian graduates, the timeless advice given in this article will resonate with all.




Conclusion
 
 
 
 
 

 
And that concludes the review of this blog in its sixth year of existence.
 

 
Which is your favourite article in the list and why?
 

 
I would love to hear any accounts of how advice provided in the posts above lead to results, so kindly give feedback.

 
As I continue to expand my knowledge and grow as a blogger, I hope you’d join me in exploring the interesting ways that communication influences management, careers and professional feats.
 
 
Thank you all for reading this blog, for sharing articles and for the display of support. I believe in great things for this blog so continue to watch this space!
 

 
See you soon!
 


 
If you enjoyed this post, don't rush off just yet. Please remember to:
 
Ø  Share this article in your social networks by clicking on the icons below.
 
Ø  Sign up for updates in the blog's right sidebar so that you are immediately notified via email when a new blog post is published. Don’t miss any more articles!
 
Need help with improving your communication skills?
 
Hire me for:
 
v  Communications training sessions for your executives;
 
v   Writing assignments (content creation, executive speeches, etc.);
v   Speeches and keynote presentations at your corporate events.
 
Let me help you get results.
 
 
Contact me:
 
A) Send an email to: Lucilleossai@gmail.com .
 
B) Call for a free consultation: 
 
Nigeria:             0704 631 0592
 
International:   +234 704 631 0592  
 
 
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N.B -  First image is courtesy of Stuart Miles, at freedigitalphotos.net. Second image is courtesy of Ddpavumba, at freedigitalphotos.net. Third and fourth images are courtesy of Iosphere, at freedigitalphotos.net. Fifth image is courtesy of KROMKRATHOG, at freedigitalphotos.net. Last image is courtesy of Naypong, at freedigitalphotos.net.