Win or Lose, You Choose. The Critical Skill That Builds Your Messaging Power And Everyone’s Valuation Of Your Brand. | Personal Branding Blog - Dan Schawbel

We hire the operations exec that keeps her cool under pressure; we don’t hire the guy for the C-suite marketing job, because he holds his knife and fork like a savage. We like the powerful and persuasive talker, but we offer the job to the guy who’s persuasive and listens, because he’ll gather the insights to consistently solve problems. Two of these people get it, and as a result everything they do positively impacts their brand. The other two need to wake up and smell the coffee before it is too late to make a mark.

Critical communication

The success of your every interaction with the world is determined by your mastery of eight specific communication skills. We hire the cool-hand and she gets ahead, the social savage wonders what happened with plans for jobs at the better companies and breaking into management. Each day you emit a constant stream of communication messages that dictate the professional world’s perception of you. Learn to manage this perception of MeInc more effectively (see Branding Has To Be Part Of A Career Success Plan). One of your paybacks will be elimination of a large part of your professional competition, those who don’t think these things through.

What you say and how you say it

Landing a job, promotions and professional success are impossible without good communication skills. But ask 10 people to define communication skills and over 80% of them will identify verbal and listening skills. Modern communication skills embrace much more. They are built of eight interactive component skills; each exerts a subtle but significant impact on your every interaction and the overall perception of the brand you are building.  There are four primary and four supportive skills:

The primary communication skills are Verbal skills – What you say and how you say it.

Listening skills – You listen to understand, rather than just waiting your turn to talk.

Writing skills – Your written communication leaves a lasting impression whether you make any effort or not. What kind of impression is up to you.

Technology Skills – Technology has changed the way we communicate and your ability to navigate the new standards in communication media has significant impact your professional image.

The four supportive skills are more subtle, but nevertheless, impact every single interaction you have with others, they are

Grooming & Dress – Your appearance tells others who you are and how you feel about yourself, it’s an important communication tool in managing the message you want others to receive.

Social graces – The people who can impact your future always note how you behave, and how you behave towards others.  We live in a causal society but if your social graces are sketchy, you’ll never represent your organization in any significant way.

Body language – What your mouth says must be in harmony with what your body says. Your body subconsciously displays how you feel deep inside, it’s a language of communication mankind learned before speech. Whenever there’s a disconnect between what your mouth says and what your body says, the body language is believed.

Emotional IQ – Your emotional maturity in dealing with others in professional settings; especially at those times when you are under stress and most likely to retreat emotionally to childhood behaviors and act like a little brat. For a brand that carries you upwards, you must understand and manage your Emotional IQ.

These eight communication skills are the foundation of every resilient brand. Nurture them in every aspect of your life and you’ll gain much greater control over how you are perceived and what happens in your life.

I’ll introduce more critical skills that are foundational to a successful career next week.


Martin Yate (CPC) is the author of Knock em Dead The Ultimate Job Search Guide, a NY Times bestseller updated annually for 24 years.  He’s been in career management  for 34 years: Silicon Valley Headhunter and VP with the seminal and feared Executek, Director of HR for Bell Industries Computer Memory Division, Director of Training and Development for Dunhill . Martin believes that change is your future, branding is critical, but no one has ever taught you how to navigate this stuff.

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