The newest entrants to the business world, the millennial generation, are most comfortable communicating through texts and social media channels. But in the business world, all professionals need to effectively communicate in person, beginning with interviewing and landing the job and on to managing the day-to-day grind.
Eighty-nine percent of employers say they want colleges to place more emphasis on oral and written communication to help address this gap, according to a study by the Association of American Colleges & Universities.
You can take steps now as a college student to use the opportunities available to you to ramp up your communication skills in preparation for your career. To overcome the communication shortfall, start by:
Learning proper etiquette
Communication isn’t only verbal. Employers look for candidates that actively listen and maintain eye contact through a conversation. Use your classes as a practice field for honing these important skills, and learn how to ask smart questions.
In our digital world, it’s crucial to craft professional emails and respond succinctly. You also need exposure to proper meeting etiquette. Shadow a business member in your local community and sit in on a group meeting. Watch how the participants engage with each other and respond to any issues that may arise.
Learning how to present
Proper presentation techniques can mean the difference between a worthwhile opportunity and a period of time that each member of the audience wishes they could get back. Intentionally prepare for each class presentation – know the material, speak slowly and focus on the audience – to set the foundation for future business presentations.
Take an intro class on how to develop PowerPoint or Prezi presentations for a corporate audience and also read up on tips for hosting online webinars and conference calls. New grads lack this type of business prowess, so you will differentiate yourself in the interviewing process and impress your new boss on day one.
Learning how to sell
One of the key ways to overcome the communication shortfall is to learn how to sell an idea, a project and most importantly, yourself. You bring skills and expertise to everything you do, and beginning with your interview, you need to learn how to showcase what you have to offer in order to succeed.
Engaging, dynamic professionals stand out in one-to-one conversations, as well as large industry events. Rehearse your elevator speech, learn something new every day and look to each interaction as an opportunity to clearly articulate the impact you can make. Selling takes confidence and beginning with your college experience, you can develop the selling skills that employers will notice.