Month: September 2017

10 Hacks For Writing An Impressive Job Application

Writing a job application is probably one of the most critical letters that we write. The skills for writing job applications generally are taught in classrooms and for many the knowledge stays there. However, writing effective job applications is a skill that will be required throughout your career, whenever you seek a new opportunity! So let’s brush up and learn a few tricks that can help in writing impactful applications.

Remember that job applications are critical, since the decide whether your resume is even opened or not. So creating the right impression with it is critical. 10 hacks for effective job applications:

  • Let us begin by talking about the length of a job application. Like any formal letter, a job application should be short and to the point. Giving unnecessary information should be avoided since it will drive the focus away from your resume to the job application. A job application is only a covering letter for the primary document which is the resume.
  • Arouse interest in your profile with the covering letter, so that the reader is encouraged to go through your resume. If you write too little or too much about yourself, the resume loses its value.
  • Ensure that the covering letter is free from spelling and grammatical errors. Mistakes on a covering letter reflect poorly on your skills, eye for detail and professionalism.
  • Use effective and simple language. Writing a flowery job application will get you nowhere, especially if that is not your natural writing style.
  • Most job applications are covering e-mails with the resume attached to the mail. Check the format of the letter in terms of the font and color.
  • Make sure your resume is attached in a ready to read format, not requiring the receiver to download any additional software.
  • Address the letter to the right person with the correct designation. If you don’t know the name of the person, then just mention the designation.
  • Give appropriate details about how you came to know about the job.
  • Mention your contact details like mail id, phone number and address (if required)
  • Do not appear desperate for the job. A professional and dispassionate tone should be maintained in the job application.

For more on letter writing skills and other aspects of Business Communication look up the BizComm Program of Strengthscapre.

Filed under: Soft Skills

10 Ways To Improve Your Resume – Simple Tips to Ensure Your Resume Gets Noticed in a Crowd

Recruitment Professionals sift through thousands of Resume´s every day.  In the crowd of over a thousand where do you stand? Is it possible to stand out in such a crowd and how?
Writing an impressive Resume´ is the key to standing out in a crowd.

There are some simple tips to ensure your resume gets noticed in a crowd.

  • First, write a clear and simply formatted resume´. The font and colors should be easy to read. Writing in bulleted form lends a clear structure to the resume´ that is easy to follow.
  • Second, mention all details according to significance, with the most significant things first and less significant later. This goes for all information like experience, achievements and educational qualifications.
  • Third, attach a smart picture of yourself to the Resume´, unless specifically not asked to do so. Putting a face to a person creates a high recall value of the person.
  • Also ensure that your resume´ is free from errors in grammar and spelling. These little mistakes are enough to put off someone.
  • Fifth, keep your resume’ to the point. Giving any irrelevant information will digress the reader from critical points.
  • Sixth, avoid giving any details that are not directly linked to the job at hand. Details like date of birth and marital status should be mentioned only if asked for or if they are critical to the job.
  • Make your resume achievement centric rather than duty centric. Highlight your achievements while mentioning your duties. Since duties are mandatory they do not add value to the resume´, how well you performed the duties are what make you stand apart.
  • Summarize key points of your resume´. Since the reader spends only a few minutes going through each resume´, it is important to give all information in brief in one section.
  • Use acronyms and jargon with care. Everyone may not understand them, especially if they are related to a particular company or industry.
  • Use powerful verbs to describe your job. Never use the word “I”.

These simple strategies can make your resume´ from mediocre to noticeable!

For more on Business Communication look up the BizComm Model of Strengthscape.

Filed under: Soft Skills

Effective Questioning Techniques For Gathering Infromation

Communication process is an exchange of information and ideas. The word exchange should be emphasized here, since communication is always a two-way process. The sender sends the information and the receiver provides feedback. Both for providing information effectively and giving valuable feedback, we sometimes need to ask pertinent questions. Hence, to make communication effective, questioning techniques play a significant role.

Most information on questioning techniques categorizes questions but does not provide guidance on how to use the various questioning techniques and which one is more effective. Through this article we will try to answer these questions.

Questions can be broadly classified into open-ended questions and close-ended questions.

Open – ended Questions are those that require the respondent to provide detailed information. They are useful for building rapport, getting detailed information, understanding the views and ideas of the other person and for developing a conversation.

Close – ended Questions elicit a single word or a short factual response. These are used for testing understanding, reconfirming conclusions and setting a context or framework for the conversation. If a close-ended question is not asked effectively or at the right time, it can kill the conversation sooner than one would want.

Generally, in any conversation, a combination of these questioning techniques is used. The funnel technique of questioning is quite effective in combining the two techniques effectively. In the funnel technique, we begin by asking open-ended questions to gather detailed information about the topic at hand and to build rapport. After that we move on to close-ended questions to check on the information we already have and to gather more factual information. In the end, we clarify and summarize the information to ensure that effective communication has taken place. Hence, using a combination of open and close ended questions, through the funnel technique can assist in making communication highly effective.

However, just knowing what type of questions to ask need not necessarily result in effective communication. There are some additional strategies can make questioning effective.

First thing to keep in mind is to be structured in your questioning. Plan ahead and think about what questions to ask and in which sequence. Following the funnel technique can go a long way in ensuring structure t your questions, however this may not always be effective. Analyze the situation and the person before deciding on your questioning technique.

Second, encourage the other person to talk by not only asking the right questions but also actively listening to the response. Showing that you are interested in what the other person has to say will encourage the him to talk. Also be empathetic, especially while discussing a sensitive issue.

Third, give the other person the opportunity to talk freely and without interruption. Use silence effectively, not only to hear what is being said but also to analyze it.

Using these strategies can yield effective results through questioning.

Look up the BizComm Model of Strengthscape for all aspects of Business Communication Training.

Filed under: Soft Skills

5 Power Point Tools You Must Know And Use

Filed under: Soft Skills

Writing Effective Business Reports

Filed under: Business Etiquette

The Art Of Persuasion – Let us look at some strategies for effective persuasion

We persuade people around us all the time. Whether it is asking for help in a particular project or getting information from someone or marketing an idea or project, persuasion happens all the time.

But how many times are we able to get the desired result? If the answer is – not too many times, then we need to analyze our persuasion tactics. Persuading someone is not an easy feat to achieve. However, there are some simple strategies that can assist in effective persuasion and this goes a long way in getting the desired results.

Communication and persuasion are inseparable. When you persuade you are essentially communication with the person. Therefore, effective communication will eventually result in effective persuasion.

Let us look at some strategies for effective persuasion:

Be Genuine – For any communication to be effective it is important that the sender comes across as a genuine person. This becomes even more critical in persuasion, since trust is critical for persuasion. Do not provide any misleading or false information.

Be Direct – It is always a good idea to spell out exactly what you want the other person to do instead of beating around the bush. Being direct saves time and results in prompt action. Also being to the point is critical. If you provide too much unnecessary information, the important points might get diluted or lost.

Use the Golden Words – Any communication becomes more effective, if it is courteous. Again persuasion requires one to be more courteous, since you are persuading someone to do something that they would not normally do. Words like “please”, “thank you” and “sorry” go a long way building rapport and creating a congenial environment. Even if the work is a part of someone’s job description, using polite words does no harm.

Be Empathetic – Understand your audience before trying to persuade the. Know what are the positive triggers for them, understand their value system and analyze whether a direct or indirect approach of communication will click with them. Be empathetic, if the job requires extra effort from them or will cause inconvenience to them, apologize for it and offer to help in any way you can. Designing your message keeping the audience in mind will yield better results.

Outline Benefits – If the action is going to result in benefits for the other person it is important to clearly state these benefits. Tell them what’s in it for them. This will prompt immediate action.

Provide Facts – Nothing convinces better and faster than factual data. Provide all required facts and data and ensure that all the data is accurate.

Outline Action Plan – Persuasion will not be very effective if a clear plan of action is not outlined. You need to state clearly as to what action needs to be taken as a result of the communication. Otherwise, even though the person may be convinced he will not know how to go about fulfilling your request.

Keeping these simple things in mind will result in effective communication.

The BizComm Program of Strengthscape addresses Persuasion and many other aspects of Business Communication.

Filed under: Communication Skills

Rapport Building Through Effective Communication

Communication is the basis for all human relationships. We are able to connect with other people, build camaraderie and relationships by exchanging our thoughts, feelings and ideas. Rapport means having a close and harmonious relationship with others. It is communication that helps us in building and maintaining relationships with people around us.

Building rapport in the workplace is particularly critical, since having good rapport means better working relationships and higher productivity.

Since communication is the basis for human relationships and rapport, it is important to understand how effective communication can assist in rapport building. Here are some communication tips that will help you in building rapport.

Be a conversation starter. Don’t wait for someone to approach you, take the lead and start the conversation. Learn the art of small talk.

Address people by their name. Everyone likes to be remembered. Addressing someone by their name immediately creates a positive vibe and generates interest in what you have to say.

Being friendly always helps. A cheerful and approachable person will always attract people. Be easy going and allow people to come up to you and talk. You may be a good person, but having an intimidating personality will deter others from talking to you.

Ask appropriate questions. Asking questions is the best way to know a person, open-ended questions are particularly helpful in this regard. However, asking too many questions especially in the first meeting may make the other person uncomfortable. Also being culturally sensitive while asking questions is critical.

Be positive. Having positive ideas and outlook go a long way in building rapport. It is difficult be around someone who is always critical or complaining. People with positive energy are good at building relationships.

Watch and learn. If you are new at being a good conversationalist or find it difficult to talk to people, watch and learn. See how other people talk, what phrases they use to put others at ease and what kind f body language do they have. However, adopting someone else’s personality is not the answer. Learn from other people but adapt the learning to your own style.

Understand the other person while communication. Look out for non-verbal and verbal cues that will give you insights into their values, likes and dislikes and manner of working. Modulate your conversation and manner of communication accordingly.

Using these tips will make rapport building easier.

The BizComm Model of Stregthscape addresses rapport building and other nuances of Business Communication.

Filed under: Communication Skills

Conflict Resolution Through Effective Communication

Conflict is a dreaded word in any workplace. Yet, there is no organization that exists without conflict. Though conflicts have negative connotation, but if handled well conflicts can result in personal growth and effective inter-personal relationships. Therefore, conflict resolution is considered by many as a key leadership skill. Still many managers are at a loss when faced with a conflict.

Communication skills play a key role in conflict resolution. Most conflicts arise out of miscommunication, poor articulation or misinterpretation of a message. However, communication is also the strongest tool at hand for conflict resolution.

Effective communication helps in avoiding conflict and also resolving them, once they have arisen.

So let us look at some ways of using communication as a tool for conflict resolution.

  • Be clear and concise in your message. Beating around the bush or talking about unrelated issues will sometimes escalate a conflict or not result in a resolution.  Be direct and to the point while resolving conflicts. Articulate your message clearly so that there is no scope for miscommunication.
  • Communicating courteously is imperative during conflict resolution. Conflicts may escalate if others perceive your communication as being rude or discourteous. Using words and phrases like “please”, “thank you” and “I apologize” can go a long way in ensuring a courteous conflict resolution. We realize that many times conflicts may arise due to discourteous communication to begin with.
  • Back your stance with solid logic and concrete data. If your point of view is based on logical argument, it will be easy for the other person to come around to your idea.
  • Be empathetic. Conflicts can be resolved if you are empathetic to the other person and understand their point of view. Remember that conflict resolution is not about getting your opinion heard, it is about giving way to the best idea. Using phrases like “I understand” show that you are empathetic to the other person.
  • Use positive body language. Maintain eye contact, maintain a friendly and non-threatening posture and voice. Your body language and verbal communication both should emanate positivity and convey the same message.

The BizComm Model of Strengthscape encompasses many strategies for effective communication in various scenarios.

Filed under: Communication Skills

Stages in The Communication Process Enhancing Effectiveness

Let’s go back to the basics and talk about the communication process. We know that communication is the exchange of ideas, thoughts and feelings and forms the basis of all human relationships. Communication becomes critical on business organizations since organizational goals can only be achieved through effective communication.

Since communication involves an exchange, it goes to show that communication is a two-way process and involves at least two people. It is important to understand the process of communication to better analyze the challenges in communication. So how does communication take place?

We will discuss the not only the process of communication but the challenges in each stage.

  • The first step in the communication process is encoding the message. This is the stage in which the sender thinks about what he wants to communicate and converts his ideas into words. Articulation is critical, since a poorly worded message can result in miscommunication. While encoding the sender should consider his audience and the medium of communication available.
  • After encoding the message is transmitted through the appropriate medium. Choosing the right medium is important, else the message may not get transmitted properly or there may be distortion in the message. For example, giving a set of complicated and important instructions verbally, may not be a good idea, since the audience may not be able to retain the message. At this stage the sender should also consider the availability of technology with the receiver and various other aspects about his like his educational background.
  • Once the message is transmitted through an appropriate medium, the receiver comes into the picture. The receiver decodes the message to try and understand the meaning of the message. This is again a vital stage, since mistakes here will mean breakdown of the communication process.  In verbal communication, both verbal and non-verbal cues will have to be decoded for complete comprehension. Educational background, cultural differences and the context of communication play a significant role in decoding the message. While decoding the receiver must let go his or her prejudices otherwise the message will be distorted.
  • Most people assume that the process of communication gets over with decoding. However, there is a last and again a very important step in communication, and that is providing feedback. The receiver, after decoding the message, must provide feedback to the sender. This ensure that the communication was successful. At this stage if the sender feels that the message was not decoded properly they can clarify the message or if the receiver feels the need for additional information, he can ask for it. Without feedback it may be difficult to gauge the success of the communication process.

The communication process will be incomplete even if one of these steps is missing and it is important to ensure clarity in each stage for the success of the communication process.

To learn more about enhancing effectiveness at each stage of the communication process look at the BizComm Program of Strengthscape.

Filed under: Communication Skills

Tips For Effective Business Meetings

Meetings are a significant method of communication in business organizations. They ensure two-way communication and since they happen in real-time getting feedback becomes much easier.  With technology virtual meetings with participants from varied geographical locations have become possible and make communication more effective.

However, if you have been part of many business meetings you may have realized that a large number of meetings fail to achieve their goal. If not managed properly meetings can become nothing more than a place to socialize and can at times result in frustration.

Some ways to ensure effective meetings are:

Set a goal – Every meeting should have a goal that should be clear and pre-decided. The goals should be shared with all who are going to be involved in the meeting. The goals should be specified at the beginning of the meeting and meetings should not be adjourned till answers are found.

Prepare and Share the Agenda – For most formal meetings involving a large number of people, an agenda should be prepared. The agenda should contain all the points that are to be discussed in the meeting and the order in which the discussion is to take place. It should also give a realistic time frame for each topic of discussion.

Prepare for the Meeting – It is imperative that all participants to a meeting prepare in advance for it. Without preparation getting a positive outcome is difficult. Preparation could include making a note of points to discuss, jotting down ideas and views and collecting data for the meeting.

Discuss Related Issues – The agenda should be designed in such a manner that only related topics are discussed in a meeting. A meeting with a jumbled agenda is bound to get nowhere. Another advantage of discussing related topics is that focused attention is given to the topic and therefore more ideas can be generated.

Opening and Closing – The opening and closing of any communication are critical and the same is true for meetings. Outlining the agenda during opening will keep everyone focused. Similarly summarizing the discussion and the decisions at the end will give people a clear sense of action to be taken after the meeting.

Keeping these simple strategies in mind will result in effective and fruitful meetings.

The BizComm Model of Strengthscape delves into various nuances of business communication.

Filed under: Business Etiquette