You’re fresh out of college and landed a new job. Nice work! But when the water cooler gossip starts, you find yourself wondering how to deal with a frenemy at work or you don’t like your boss as much as you *thought* you did, your communication skills will be critical. And if you want to communicate powerfully whenever there’s an issue at work — without coming across like a whiny baby — you’ll have to practice those skills. Enter Alexa Fischer, a communication coach and world-renowned Udemy instructor with courses on public speaking. If you wanna be a #girlboss, this is what it takes. Scroll on for her five tips to make you look super mature at work.
1. Listen. Listen. Listen. Alexa says it’s critical that you “never underestimate the power of closing your mouth and opening your ears. Why assume that you know better than the 50-year-old middle manager? While they may not have heard of Snapchat, I bet they have a handle on the org chart far better than you!”
This includes when you’re chatting with coworkers and lower-level interns. “When navigating conversations with your coworkers, really hear what they have to say with humility and openness,” says Alexa. “It gives you the chance to show respect for other people’s opinions, while learning a thing or two.”
2. Be direct. So many people don’t ask for what they want or need, and then they complain they don’t get it. Do you need more clear directions? Are you not sure how something works? If you’re new, now’s the time to speak up. Don’t let problems fester over time — build rapport by showing higher-ups that you trust them for information and mentorship. It also shows that you’re “coachable” and eager to do good work.
3. Drive the conversation with a sense of curiosity. In Alexa’s words: “People are fascinating if you give yourself a moment to notice. If you want to activate interesting conversations and build meaningful relationships, then get just a tiny bit curious about other people and their work/life. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like organic, hydroponic tomato growing. If your coworker does, ask them WHY?”
4. Work on your phone demeanor. Businesspeople spend hours on the phone each day. You need to sound approachable, clear and easy to speak to on the phone. Don’t transfer the phone call every time you don’t know the answer to something. Be quick to reply and ask questions so you can get and give specific information at all times. And be polite – never let an irate phone guest rattle you. Stay focused and calm. You’re representing the company, even if it’s only your voice.
5. Ditch the digital and speak face to face. Alexa says that this is critical for looking like a real adult. “In the age of texting mania, young people have become very SHY about speaking in person. The best way to connect is still the old fashioned way.” Our generation is sometimes a little afraid of this, but remember: “When you can look someone in the eye, speak to them easily and share a genuine moment — you are building relationships that have meaning and a potential impact in your life. Build those communication muscles NOW. They’ll pay off big time as you get older.”
Entering your first #BigGirlJob? Tweet us and let us know if these tips work for you @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)