In this episode, I’m digging into one of my favorite topics which is communication skills and building connections with others.
Communicating effectively with others, especially those that can be difficult to work with, is essential to being successful in your career.
Building relationships and networking can open the door to opportunities you wouldn’t have without them.
You can have all of the technical skills and the mindset skills in the world, but if you can’t communicate effectively, advocate for yourself, and build connections to make your goals a reality, it can fall flat.
So today, I’m sharing my own story of networking and how it changed my business, along with my top tips for clear and effective communication.
What You’ll Learn
The communication tool I use with clients that is simple and effective
My top tip for ensuring your message is well received by your audience
The power of networking and building relationships that drastically impacted my career
How to use my advice and tips to build your network, get your ideas heard, promoted, and even negotiate new responsibilities
Featured in This Episode
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Hello to you and welcome to this week’s episode. We are going dig into one of my favorite topics which is communication skills and building connections with others.
You can have all of the technical skills and the mindset skills I talked about last week, but if you can’t communicate effectively, advocate for yourself, and build connections to make your goals a reality, it can fall flat.
And fun fact: my undergrad degree is in communication and I am a Wiley partner which means I am an authorized partner to facilitate DiSC programs, which if you aren’t familiar, it is a powerfully simple tool to help you communication better with others. So I’m going to dig into that a bit in this episode too.
So, even with my undergrad and a lot of experience, I still have found myself, fumbling in communication from time to time but I have since mastered this skill. Not to say that I’m perfect, but my approach gets results I’d say 90% of the time and now I teach this to my clients.
Let’s dive in. To me the foundational principal is to communicate the way the person will receive the information best. So you do not apply the golden rule here. If you’ve heard the treat others the way you would want to be treated, that is not the communication rule. That will actually backfire really quick on you.
What you want to do is consider the preferences of the other person.
DiSC really helps you do this well. DiSC® is a personal development tool that measures an individual’s preferences and tendencies based on the DiSC® model. This is a simple yet powerful model that describes four basic styles: D, i, S, and C. Participants receive personalized insights that deepen their understanding of self and others, making workplace interactions more enjoyable and effective. The result is a more engaged and collaborative workforce that can spark meaningful culture improvement in your organization.
Everything DiSC® is an assessment-based learning experience that deepens self-awareness, inspires appreciation of others, and fosters effective collaboration in the workplace. Backed by over 40 years of research.
So that is the official description of DiSC. So when you know your DiSC style, you know your preferences and tendencies, which is different form Myers Briggs or a personality assessment.
As a foundation you can learn your style and learn to read the style of others so you can adapt your style to meet their needs.
Then you can add on to this foundation to include emotional intelligence, managing conflict, leading others, etc. I helped roll this program out at the company level, and now in my practice, I use this tool with my clients.
In the Career Passion Project, the group coaching program launching soon, actually applications pen next week! I have a custom program I created for the members of this group using this tool. If you’ve experienced DiSC with your company, this is different. It is using the tool, but I have created a program with resources I have as a partner that meet the specific needs and objectives of my career passion project program.
Ok, so DiSC is one tool you can use.
The key is knowing the preference of other people so you can tailor your communication to them.
For example, my DiSC style is an iD, which means I am people oriented, fast paced, like to build connections with others, and want to get things done! So if people know this about me, and they say are more detail oriented, want everything backed by a lot of data, slower paced, more quiet, then they can adapt a bit for me, and I can adapt a bit for them.
I reported to a boss who was a CD, which meant they shared the wanting to get things done but were more slow paced and data driven. So when communicating with him, I had to lighten the chit chat, and make my proposals include the data I used to make my decisions and keep the information relatively high level with the data available. So this helped me influence him more effectively then if I had gone in and just starting talking a million words a minute about how this was going to be the greatest program for our employees. That would not have resonated. So even though the program met both of our objectives, how it was presented made a difference.
You can do this even if you don’t know your DiSC style, by just paying attention to how the person behaves that you want to communicate better with.
For example – are they fast paced or cautious and reflective, are they questioning and skeptical or are they accepting and warm? Pay attention or even ask the person how they prefer to be communicated with.
You can’t underestimate the simple tool of just asking.
It will save a whole lot of headache and frustration to just get that out of the way.
I always suggest when you are building a relationship with someone new at work, to ask them rules of engagement, how do they prefer to communicate, how often, do they like pre-reads or are they ok making decisions or having conversations on the fly?
Then you can tailor your communication to them to make sure your message is well received and you don’t let something like poor communication stop you from getting your ideas heard or implemented.
When it comes to building connections, networking is really important.
Honestly, I was told earlier in my career, much earlier than I gave it credibility, that I needed to build my network outside of my site and immediate connections.
I thought yah, but I’m not looking for a global role, I don’t need that.
I was so wrong.
My career really took off once I started building my network outside of my site and looked broader at my company and industry.
I started reaching out to people in other departments, other sites, going to networking events that I wasn’t really excited about spending my evening on, but went anyway.
The result is I built some great relationships that helped with other leaders advocating for me, me having more influence, me creating the role that I did at my last company. When I lead talent & development with AstraZeneca, that role did not exist.
I had to build a business case to have my role transitioned from what it was to talent & development. In the history of the site I worked at they never had a role focused on talent and development. They had training and HR roles but not a role focused on leadership development, employee engagement, inclusion, and overall employee career development.
When I made that business case, yes it was based on my work, things I had done to prove it was needed, but it was also because I had built connections strategically with other leaders and had been talking about the need for this.
I built connections with our global talent team so I was a liason and providing value to my site by solving a problem they had – they had been given information on program launches and above-site needs without as much notice to prepare or sometimes wasn’t able to participate in the programs at all and certainly didn’t have a voice as a stakeholder when it came to how these larger programs were created.
I changed that. By building that network by building relationships with that global team and seeking mentorship with the VP, I got myself on an above site team that received inside information. I was able to bring more programs to our site, help our leaders better prepare, and get our voice heard above site.
I did this before moving into this role, this was part of my business case, to show how things were better and different because of my focus on this.
But I was able to do this because of my network.
So when the head of HR who was my boss reached out – she was also able to get feedback and see my influence and contribution at a higher level.
Had I just had my work to show for itself and my masters in organizational psychology, I may not have gotten the same result.
I also created solutions to problems outside of my group. When I created a process for management to have more effective 1-1s and improve our employee engagement scores, I didn’t pilot that with my group or a group I was super friendly with. I pitched it to a senior leader who wasn’t an advocate of mine yet. I pitched it to the new site head and changed my pitch for each of them to accommodate what they would want to hear and know.
For example: the senior leader – it was about how their department would improve, their attrition would go down, and they could be the leader in solving a problem impacting other groups giving more visibility to their group.
For the site head it was about the data and research behind how my pitch would work, how it would effect our bottom line, and how we could use the data from the pilot to launch sitewide and be a leader in our part of the business.
I may have been told there wasn’t a business case for it and the development work I was doing could just be stretch projects but not a priority.
Because of my diligence in building a network, advocating for myself, and communicating the way my target audience needed, I was able to be successful.
It didn’t just work for adding this role, it works for promotions, for implementing new ideas, even for making changes at home.
I help my clients learn how to do this for themselves, in a way that feels good to them and gets them the results they are after.
In the Career Passion Project the section on communication and connections covers tangible communication skills and you also learn your DiSC style, how to communicate well with anyone, even the most difficult of people, how to advocate for yourself and how to build a network that will not only make your work experience more pleasant but will help you get the results you want in your career, whether it be a change in role, a promotion or implementing a new idea.
You practice what you learn too with weekly coaching, an experiential workshop, and a networking event because the people in this cohort with you are in similar roles and industry. You will be building relationships in a safe space so you can practice. It’s win-win.
I teach you my proven, simple process that has helped me achieve my own goals, that I still use today, that works for my 1-1 clients, and you can learn it and apply it too.
Are you ready to really dig deep on this?
To learn to communicate effectively and navigate relationships at work to your advantage?
If so, I invite you to apply for the program. Applications open on Monday. March 29th the link on my website will be live! You’ll want to jump in right away. Applications will be open for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks I will reach out and invite those that are accepted to join. We get to work the week of May 24th.
You are not going to want to miss this. It’s the best program out there for navigating your career and achieving your goals now and for the future.
You can learn more at www.careerpassionproject.com
and through my main website. I will put the links in the shownotes.
Alright, I can’t wait to invite you in to the program. Mark your calendars for Monday March 29th.
Have an amazing week!