His Question :
I’ve been to a career coach, several years ago, and I’ve been involved assisting others in career coaching The clients will go through a series of routines such as answering, and perhaps asking, interview questions; role playing, etc. Most all these routines will include speaking and communicating. However, I haven’t really seen an emphasis strickly on communication skills, e.g. reducing filler words like ahs and ums, using voice variety to emphasize key phrases, how to switch from being soft spoken to being more deliberate and vocal in answering interview questions, thinking before speaking so that interview answers are concise and to the point of answering the actual question, listening skills, body language including how to sit (or stand) to show confidence and enthusiasm.
Two things come to mind from my experience. There was a electrician apprentice who had been recently employed at an electric utilities company. He attended my two classes on public speaking where he learned how to use the techniques used above. During the time he was in my classes, he applied for a position as an electrician. Out of 20 to 30 candidates, he was chosen for the position. He went back to the interviewer to ask how and why he was chosen. The interviewer said he was the only one who really answered his questions concisely and with conviction.
Secondly, many of the answers found here in this Answers section emphasize people skills, e.g., ” My feeling is that personality, presentation, and professionalism play at least as much in a decision as qualifications.”
It may be relatively easy to pick up “a job,” without people skills; however, IMHO, to advance and to find an ideal position, people skills (particularly communication skills) is necessary in today’s society.
I’ve seen much emphasis on “soft skills” in India during the past couple of years. I would also like to hear from those outside the U.S. to know their perspective on this topic.
My Answer :
“Hi Frank, That`s an awesome question and thanks for directing it to specially people outside of the US to know their perspective.
Here`s mine : Communication is an important part of any job and one that is often taken for granted. When you think about it, almost everything you do calls for good communications.
When you hire a new employee or when the department is going through changes or a reorganization, you’ll need special communication skills to get feedback and ideas from your staff and to give them news that’s sometimes not pleasant, while keeping them motivated. Honest communication is one of the key ingredients in managing change as well as managing people.
Similarly ,when you’re training or coaching , you need to be clear about your expectations and be sensitive in dealing with problem areas. When conflicts arise, you’ll need your communication skills to resolve the issues without creating more. When you coach someone, either formally or informally, then you know that the way you communicate with your “coachees” is of paramount importance. Communication will make or break the relationship and stimulate success as much as any other factor.
Trust is the lifeblood of any coaching relationship. Your coachee must believe that you intend to look out for their best interests. Such trust means the coachee does not feel vulnerable to you in any way. It means that he or she can be open and unguarded so that whatever wisdom and direction you have to impart can get through, take hold, and start to work.
Trust matures over time and coaches must earn it. Charismatic communication is one tool coaches can use to facilitate this process.
(Charisma is a quality–a magnetic-like attraction ). In the coachee, charisma provokes a feeling of wanting to be with his or her coach. Unlike trust, charisma is not the lifeblood of any coaching relationship, but it’s nice to have.
Firstly Listening : Charismatic listening is like offering a welcoming empty space for someone to jump into without obstacles.It also involves several physical attributes. For example, making and keeping eye contact, or, when it is appropriate, smiling. A relaxed posture also invites confidence–unlike folded arms and crossed legs which can signal boredom. And, of course, tone of voice is crucial to conveying empathy and interest. A coach who speaks slowly, with a monotonous tone, can appear distracted. Curiosity and vocal acknowledgement are also attributes of charismatic listeners. Charismatic coaching takes empathy. The coach must think about the coachee’s thoughts, needs, and feelings as they are occurring. They must make an effort to say just the right thing to energize the coachee to move forward and be heartened by their progress.Quicker speech, signals enthusiasm for what is happening right now,makes them feel invitedin, and in the process, they’ll find you easy to talk to. And acknowledge that you’ve heard what your coachee has said. This doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with them, it just means comforting the speaker with a gesture or a sound that confirms your interest.”