What is one of the most important skills successful business leaders have in common? The ability to convey their thoughts and ideas effectively. Being understood is crucial in the workplace, not only on an everyday basis, but also to advance careers, to interview for and then land a dream job — in a nutshell, to get desired results.
If you find that you’re not moving forward with your professional goals, perhaps it’s time to examine and hone your interactions with colleagues by enrolling in the Professional Development program at Hofstra University Continuing Education, which offers courses such as Public Speaking with Confidence, Confident Communications and Become a Confident Business Writer.
Conquering Public Speaking
Most people are anxious about public speaking, according to business expert and Hofstra instructor Gerry Laytin. “If you told me you weren’t nervous before having to give a talk, I’d say something is wrong,” he says. In his Public Speaking with Confidence course, he teaches students how to harness their negative, fearful energy and turn it into positive communications. “The main thing I teach is — when in doubt, focus out. The key is, it’s not about you, it’s about the audience — connecting with them.”
Improving General Interactions
Connecting with others is also covered in Laytin’s Confident Communications course . There, he describes the four basic communications styles (promoter, supporter, analyzer, and controller), assesses each student’s style and explains how to improve interpersonal skills with co-workers. “How do I take a person who is just like me or different from me and be able to enroll them in my way of thinking so we can reach mutually agreeable goals? We also do effective listening exercises, because part of being a good communicator is listening with the intent to understand the other person,” Laytin says. He also covers topics such as leading successful meetings, conducting convincing presentations and negotiating techniques.
Composing Excellent Exchanges
Of course, communicating does not only involve oral skills. “So much of the business world is conducted through written communications — emailing, social media posting, memos, letters, reports, white papers, proposals, etc. — that you need to be comfortable with words and language,” says author Dina Santorelli, who points out that most people can write; they just need to learn how to write better.
In her Become a Confident Business Writer course, Santorelli teaches basic rules of grammar, spelling and punctuation, as well as how to make a point, how to persuade, how to analyze, how to be concise and how to be clear, guiding students through writing assignments. “I think there are many myths out there about writing, and one of them is that we’re supposed to just sit down and write something and it’s supposed to be perfect the first time. Not so! Writing is a process.”