The entire foundation of your career and life success ultimately comes down to one thing: your ability to influence yourself and other people.
In other words, your ability to direct your own thoughts, feelings and behaviour, and to influence those of your customers, superiors, associates, co-workers, and allies determine your level of success at work and in life. That's almost self-evident, once you really think about it.
What few people are aware of, however, is that their power to influence is directly related to how well they can communicate.
World-famous life coach, Anthony Robbins, calls communication the 'difference that makes the difference' in who succeeds and who fails. It's no mystery then why at least 50 per cent of all the ads in The Sunday Gleaner Careers section, typically require job candidates with 'excellent oral and written communication skills'.
To give you an edge in this crucial area, here are seven important keys:
1. Grow your vocabulary and master the language
Knowing lots of words doesn't necessarily make you into a great communicator. But it does give you a wider choice of ways to express your ideas.
Develop the simple, but life-changing habit of reviewing at least one new word every day. Use the Internet or invest in a vocabulary book.
Also, learn the basics of English grammar and style. If you can, get a copy of The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White. It's invaluable.
2. Think and communicate in terms of other people's interests
Good communicators are powerful influencers because they always connect with other people's interests, values, needs, problems, goals and concerns.
Develop the habit of listening more to your co-workers, customers and associates. Ask them more questions; don't be always telling them things.
3. Care about the people you communicate with
It's been said that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Take time to understand the problems of your staff, colleagues, clients and other people in both your professional and personal lives. That's the best preparation for helping them.
4. Develop your public speaking ability
Most people are petrified of standing before a group to speak. That's regrettable, because that's one of the best ways to build confidence in communicating.
Join up with Toastmasters International to learn the art of public speaking.
Also, you should embrace opportunities at work, church or school to make presentations to co-workers, congregants, and your class. As with everything, practice makes for improvement.
5. Always have a goal you want to achieve whenever you communicate
This is true, whether you're writing or speaking.
For instance, my goal in writing this article is to motivate you to want to be a better communicator. I also want for you to immediately act on one of these ideas, to start you off.
6. Share stories and your personal experiences
People love to hear interesting stories. They especially enjoy hearing about other people's lives and fascinating things that happened to them.
7. Listen, watch, and read the works of great communicators
Then practise modelling them.
Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and career and life success strategist. Check out his Smart Career Success Strategies newsletter at www.CareerBizAcademy.com.