Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! In this episode, Jeff answers questions from Austin Armstrong, a December 2019 college graduate with a major in Finance, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship. If you are a young professional or are looking to make a better impression in your workplace, this episode will give you practical tips and expose areas that you can work on in your own professional life.
Q: What soft skills do people going into the workforce need to sharpen in college or early in their careers?
Communication - communicate with different people, in different situations
A great communicator fosters collaboration.
An important part of communicating is active listening and working to understand the person/people you are talking to, not just making your own point.
Public speaking is a great way to gain influence and stand out from your peers.
Learn how to communicate assertively and confidently without being arrogant. Q: Describe someone who is a strong communicator. What makes them stand out in your mind? How do you feel when you are communicating with someone who is arrogant? What do they do that makes you think they are arrogant?
How can I be professional while communicating with email?
Always review your email before you send it to correct spelling and grammar errors and make sure you are not speaking emotionally.
Be specific and tactful.
Remember that emails can be archived, so how you present yourself matters. When possible, it is best to speak in person or over the phone.
Do not passive-aggressively CC your boss or superior on a memo to other members of your team. You will lose their respect, which can have negative consequences throughout your time with the company. Q: Describe a time when you sent or received an email and it was misunderstood. What situations do you prefer to use email to resolve? How can you be sure your intent is clear when you must communicate by email?
Q: How can I create a strong personal brand?
Be careful about posting to your social media pages, especially if they are public.
Be humble. Don’t think that you have all the answers.
Win people over individually and build relationships.
Q: Who do you know that has a strong personal brand? What do they have on their social media page? Do you think it is okay to be controversial on your personal page? Why or why not? How do people will strong personal brand’s support their image when they are not on social media?
Do a social media audit. Do your social media pages reflect the personal brand you want? If not, consider deleting posts or making your profile private. Take a moment to write down your standards for your social media so that you can protect your brand.
If you are a young professional, which of the skills above do you need to work on improving? Consider purchasing one of the resources below or talking to your mentor. Create a SMART goal to support your growth in that area and tell your mentor so that they can help hold you accountable and give you honest feedback Better yet, allow your mentor to give you feedback on where you need to improve!
If you are a more experienced professional, consider the advice you would have given to your younger self. An important part of leadership is continuing to invest in other people. Set aside some time in the next two weeks to meet with a young professional at your workplace or even a local high school or college student. Your insight and advice will help them improve more quickly and will help you better understand the challenges your younger team members are facing.