Thursday, January 31, 2013

Flipping The Communication Switch

Communication can be defined as an exchange of information. That's nice, general and easy to understand. I don't like it, at least when it comes to job search. It's too blurry and non-specific. No need to flip any switches, just exchange information. Yuk.

A better definition for the job seeker is: an act or instance of transferring. An act. Doing. Perhaps even pro-active doing. Yes, this is much better.

Effective job seeker communication is more than changing clothes and being polite. Something internal needs to happen. A re-calibration of sorts must take place affecting the usual way of doing things.

What's this mean for you? That your typical way of communicating needs replacing by a method that is targeted and objective based.

Natural experts at communication know this stuff instinctively. These are people with really effective people skills. They are able to influence and motivate. People pay attention to what they say and do because of their ability to transfer information effortlessly.

Not everyone comes out of the blocks with these skills. Those without have to find other ways to shine, such as technical ability, organizational skills, reliability, etc. Once on the job they may do exceptionally well but getting there can be a challenge. Consider that the very skills that don't come naturally are in effect used against them by those that can breeze through introductions and interviews simply because they have always possessed a full communication toolbox.

Adding these tools doesn't come easy. Change is difficult and real change takes time. Given the hard-wired nature of our personalities, adaption or outright acting may be the most effective options. Okay, so how is it done?

It begins with realization. You need to know that communication, especially interpersonal communication, isn't your strong suit. Once there, look to your job search objective for guidance. Ask yourself if you look the part you wish to play? After all, a large part of communication is non-verbal. What about your speech? Is it consistent with the role you are auditioning for?  Seriously, wouldn't you expect this if you were approached by someone looking to work in your organization?

If acting the part isn't working, take a long hard look at your objective. Is it right for you? If not, head back to the drawing board. If it is, find ways to polish your delivery. Do this by practice. Seek professional help and coaching if available.

You don't need to be a people-skills dynamo to succeed but your communication (all-in) must align with your job search objective otherwise you will appear "off." Aligning doesn't come by magic, you need to work at it by learning to act the part.

Keep things simple, streamlined and to the point. Remind yourself frequently of what it is you are out to accomplish. Be methodical. Stay inside the lines with your delivery. Be patient and let it come about. Repeated doing leads to new behavior over-writing old behavior.

Somewhere deep a switch will turn on and change will occur. This could be a massive switch. But don't look for or expect it. Just get on with things and let it happen.

Travel well.
John Jeffrey Lundell

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