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Great Communication = Increased Opportunities

By: Ann Kelleher, Integrity President & Founder,

& Michelle Metzger, Staffing Specialist

 

We have all likely found ourselves in a position where we can see the merit of developing or gaining a new skill.  Whether your interest is for professional advancement, or personal interests, it can be challenging to find the right avenue to obtain or enhance the desired skill set.  Let’s zero in on two highly valuable communication skill sets and where you can find help.

Speaking Skills

Are you like many other people who find the thought of speaking in front of a group to be nothing short of terrifying?  The ability to speak in front of groups, or to communicate your ideas effectively in a meeting, is a critical skill—one that is useful far beyond the walls of your company.  From salespersons, to politicians, to non-profit fundraisers, to club officers, effective speaking is an undeniable must.

Speaking skills are so important, many companies are willing to pay for development opportunities or to allow an employee arranged time off in pursuit of the skill.  Here are some helpful resources to explore:

  • The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNOmaha) emphasizes the importance of public speaking by requiring students to complete a 3-credit-hour course; you, however, can take it as a non-credit course then add it to your resume.  Other colleges and universities in the area also offer credit courses you can audit for non-credit.
  • Toastmasters International is affordable and fun.  Our metropolitan area boasts a wealth of Toastmasters clubs that meet at various times, days and frequencies.  Toastmasters offers a safe environment to “fail forward” as you develop your speaking skills.  To locate a Club that fits your schedule go to http://www.toastmasters.org/Find-a-Club
  • Dale Carnegie is an icon of public speaking and is notable for teaching public speaking skills through a condensed method.  Reach out to the Dale Carnegie representative in this area to find out when the next course is scheduled.
  • Hire a tutor (www.wyzant.com).

Professional Writing Skills

Another crucial communication skill you may desire to strengthen is your professional writing skill. The ability to express yourself with credibility and clarity in writing will help you to accomplish your required job duties with much greater ease and effectiveness.  It will also enhance how you are perceived by your colleagues and others.

It is important to be aware that different writing styles apply to different industries.  For example, there is a difference in writing styles used in educational settings vs. business settings. Businesses generally have a more concise way of expressing the written word.  The world of technology and the nonprofit sector also have their own styles of conveying information in writing.

Since writing styles vary, care is needed to identify the best resources to help you develop writing skills that match your career goals or specific interests.  Here are some helpful resources to check out:

  • Studying what appears in text books is an easy and cost effective approach to build career-related writing skills in specific disciplines.  You can also examine publications put out by organizations in your line of work.  Most books and publications are available through libraries and/or available at your fingertips online.
  • Metropolitan Community College and UNOmaha, as well as other area colleges and universities, offer a variety of writing classes.  You can take a class for credit or you can take it non-credit by auditing.  When auditing, exams and papers are optional.  Someone I know who had academic work experience audited a journalism class to prepare herself to write more concisely in business settings.
  • Coursera offers free online courses through various colleges and universities.  Research Coursera https://www.coursera.org/ to check out if there are courses that teach the writing skills you are seeking.
  • Hire a private tutor to work with you on an individualized basis.

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Check out these web sites for FREE options to help you build a new skill:

Omaha Public Library – Adult Programs

The Muse – 6 Free Online Courses That’ll Teach You the Same Skills You’d Learn in Business School