Is there something one is doing differently that we can learn from?
Twenty to thirty years ago, having a degree from university or college almost guaranteed you would be able to land a good job. In fact, not long ago, it was your educational credentials that gave you the edge over others applying for the same job. However, that is not the case for the millennial generation. Studies show that today, if two people who are highly educated and equipped with the same technical skills applied for a particular job position,the person with highly developed "soft skills" would most likely get the job.
What exactly are these soft skills and how do you develop them? Communication is ranked as one of the top soft skills most lacking in people seeking jobs or wanting to advance in their career. Yet, it is one of the first skills employers notice and look for in the hiring process. Some organizations classify oral and written communication as "hard skills' , some put them in the "soft skill" category. No matter what category you put them in, according to a Forbes online, and a recently released article by Caroline Ceniza-Levine, public speaking and writing proficiency are consistently reported as two of the top five skills most lacking in every industry. Yet it is these same skills that are said to be THE skills that boost average income by 20 % according to a recent report by Payscale, and are necessary skills to develop for those wanting to advance in their career and achieve higher levels of success.
Ironically, programs that offer training in these skills are not often viewed as not worth the investment for companies and individuals. Even though, studies show that possessing these skills move women leaders, in particular, into higher levels of success and increased income brackets faster. Soft skills are defined by Oxford Dictionaries as personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. Toastmasters rightly claims that, In addition to a few others, communication, is one of the skills most desired in nearly every occupation.
How can you attain these skills? You can do what most people do, and take a one-day course that gives you a certificate so you can then say "Been there, done that" , and give you a false sense of confidence that you are now equipped to be a more effective communicator. However, you and I both know that the real sharpening of speaking skills come through constant use AND constructive feedback from someone more highly trained in these skills, such as a speaking coach. Author and leadership expert, Ken Blanchard says that "Feedback is the breakfast of champions."
Practice alone can actually lead to developing bad communication habits. Having someone to give you feedback and train you in how to fine-tune these skills will give you the edge above your competition and lead to increased income. This is especially true for women leaders who are heads of associations, hold a C-suite position or who are entrepreneurs committed to growing their profits and expanding their impact on those around them. A few years ago, I was listening to an interview with a high profile event planner who confirmed that the biggest challenge for most event planners is finding women speakers who have highly-developed speaking skills. There is a huge vaccum for any woman willing to do what it takes to fill that gap.
To help you get started in developing these skills download my FREE Cheat Sheet, 8 Things you Need to Know to Prepare for the Platform . Take a moment to honestly assess your preparedness and level of proficiency in public speaking. Where do you need to grow in this highly sought-after skill set? I want to encourage you to make a plan in the next 30 days to find someone who can provide the high-level feedback you need to help you fine-tune your speaking skills. Through intentional movement forward, you will soon find yourself being viewed as one who truly stands out in your industry, and beginning to enjoy greater levels of success in your area of expertise.