In my short time with UAT, I have been fortunate enough to interact with talented students, incredible professors and some top-notch industry professionals. The knowledge they have in STEM is awe-inspiring, but at the end of the day, to be successful in any industry, you must possess more than just technical skills.
As a communications scholar, I know first-hand the communication skills you need to master to be successful. These are the things you won't put on your skills list on your resume, but they are the things you need to show others you have.
As a former instructor of public speaking, I can tell you that this is the most important professional skill you can develop. You may be the smartest person in the company, but if you cannot properly express yourself in a room full of your peers, it’s going to be tough for you to be successful. More than 70% of the American population has a fear of public speaking (Glossophobia). The best way to overcome your fears? Get organized. Practice. Record yourself. Practice some more. Focus on the material, not the audience. Practice.
Similar to public speaking, verbal communication is a skill you must have because if you cannot interact with your boss, peers, customers or anybody else you come across in a professional setting, you will be labeled as “difficult” to work with. While you may be a quiet type, try actively engaging others with small talk. Although a typical workday is 8 hours long, it’s impossible to work the entire time. When there is a lull, go talk with a colleague or your boss. On the flip side, make sure you are open with your communication regarding your work. If you are struggling or if you made a mistake, let somebody know. Don’t try to do it yourself. The more open you are, the more respect you will get.
I could write an entire essay on the importance of writing. However, I will save you the time and just tell you this: Make sure you proofread everything. If you need help with this, give Grammarly a try. Master the art of the cold email. Also, make sure you understand the “email loop." If you email somebody, and they provide you with a response, make sure you close the loop by responding and thanking them for their time or their response.
Have you ever heard the term, “Fake it until you make it”? While you may be a little quiet, or you may be lacking in self-esteem, you must appear confident. Your non-verbal cues are the biggest indicator of your confidence. So, stop slouching, have a firm handshake, look people in the eyes and walk around like you own the place.
Oh, this isn’t a mistake. Public speaking is so important it’s on the list twice. Like the famous Patches O'Houlihan said, "Remember the 5 D's of dodgeball: Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge."
Remember the five soft skills you need. Public Speaking. Verbal Communication. Written Communication. Non-Verbal Communication. And, Public Speaking.
Need help mastering these soft skills? Send me an email!