professional experience

3 Ways to Overcome the Communication Shortfall

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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.

Dardis Key to Success: Business Etiquette

By | The Dardis difference | No Comments

Sales training, communication skills and presentation techniques represent several of the critical career skills interns learn through the Dardis Classroom to Career program. These pieces, combined with real world experience, prepare students for a career post-college, but to kick-off a successful career, students also need to learn proper business etiquette.

Business etiquette is more than dressing the part and knowing what to say or do.  It’s knowing how to present yourself in the best light in any business situation from an informal meeting to a black-tie event. Understanding and using proper business etiquette will provide the framework for meaningful conversations and effective work days, which will pave the way for a respected (and successful!) career.

In the Dardis Academy training program, our interns learn key business etiquette elements, including:

The handshake
What appears to be a simple gesture actually signifies your confidence in the workplace. Avoid applying too much pressure, but still approach a new client or colleague with a strong handshake that shows your professionalism.

Business cards
In this digital world, young professionals may be tempted to disregard the importance of business cards, but you never know when or where your contact information may open the door to a new opportunity. Always carry a few cards on you, and make sure the layout is clean and crisp.

Dining etiquette
Business dinners can be intimidating for any professional, but for up and coming employees, they can prove even more daunting. Our interns learn the science behind dining etiquette before their first big client dinner to ensure they know exactly which fork to use.

The nuts and bolts
On day one of your first job out of college, you’re expected to understand how to use the basic functions of your phone, voicemail and email. Our interns have the opportunity to learn these skills ahead of time, so they can focus on learning the job and not their voicemail.

Proper business etiquette separates the rising stars from the rest, giving our Dardis interns yet another competitive advantage in the workplace.


Photo credit: Unique Hotels Group via Flickr

The 5 Keys to Intentional Networking

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“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

Networking continues to exist as a buzzword in the corporate world for good reason. The people you interact with both professionally and personally have the power to lead you to new opportunities, serve as references and provide meaningful career advice. In this digital age, LinkedIn connections and Twitter followers supplement traditional networking opportunities such as formal, in-person events.

It can be tempting for business professional, both experienced and in-experienced, to grab hold of every networking opportunity that becomes available, but smart professionals pick and choose which events and channels serve them the most in their specific field of work.

The most effective networking is intentional networking. Here’s how to get started:

Prepare your elevator speech
Some of the most important networking happens on the fly, so prepare a short, 2-minute professional overview that details your past work experience, current position and career goals.

Effectively manage your LinkedIn presence
Do you have a LinkedIn profile? If the answer is no, you’re missing a crucial opportunity to advertise yourself through a global network of more than 259,000,000 registered members. Take five minutes today and easily create your profile by importing your resume and adding a professional photo. If you already have a profile, commit to updating your profile to effectively showcase your experience. Connect with new and old colleagues, and don’t forget to join relevant industry groups.

Find a mentor in your field
A broad network will help you quickly expand your network, but you should also identify a professional that can meet with you in-person on a monthly or quarterly basis. These meetings can be formal or informal, but this set-aside time will give you the opportunity to ask important career questions and develop a strong mentor relationship.

Join the right professional organizations
If you’re a student, invest time in professional organizations both on and off-campus to build a network that will benefit you the most post-graduation. As a current professional, challenge yourself to use your time wisely by socializing at group meetings and industry events.

Engage in person and online
Intentional networking exists on and offline. Both channels work together to bolster your network, so don’t let your hundreds of LinkedIn connections replace valuable in-person networking opportunities.


Photo credit: GDC Europe

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