It can be scary figuring out how to talk to your boss. When is the timing right? How should you begin the conversation? What are the correct questions to ask? Unfortunately, the only way to get better at this is to practice and become aware of the situation and the risks. Situational awareness, or paying attention to your surroundings, can help you succeed in all aspects of your life, including your business relationships and performance. The best way to practice learning situational awareness is to ask yourself, or others, questions; you need to learn and observe before you can try it yourself. By asking questions, you are opening yourself up to the idea that you do not have all the answers, but all the answers can be found in time. While situational awareness may not begin as second nature, once you start to observe your surroundings and listen to the people you interact with, you will discover that it becomes easier. By simply looking for it, situational awareness presents itself to you. You may be wondering, “What’s the point? Why practice situational awareness at all? What will I get out of it?” Being aware of the situation makes you a leader – you become observant and know how to respond quickly to tasks, planned or unexpected. In a work environment, your boss will see you as reliable, confident, and trustworthy. If you are able to act quickly and calmly under pressure, you will be the one getting a raise. There are a few things to note when practicing situational awareness. Trust your gut – your instincts will begin to practice situational awareness before your mind catches up, so listening to your initial gut feeling on a particular matter is, in fact, the beginning of situational awareness. Listen to your co-workers – learn what they do, how they work well, what their project priorities are, and ask for advice when you need help. By communicating with other members of your professional team, you are able to gain more information and be more aware of the situation as a whole, not just your part in the plan. Share your knowledge – providing information to team members and sharing your experiences helps strengthen your leadership skills, creates better communications practices, and makes you look good in front of your boss. Ways to check your situational awareness are easy to look for, as well. Make sure you aren’t confused about tasks, your information matches with others’, you are able to solve conflicts when they arise, and you know your expectations and limitations. Pushing too hard to get something done undoes the work situational awareness starts. Listen to conflicts and find the solution, communicate all useful information, and makes sure you are aware of the entire process without being fixated solely on the end goal. Additionally, you have to be healthy, both physically and mentally, or situational awareness will not help. You need to be open to suggestions, flexible with plans, able to think on your feet, and resist impulsiveness. When you experience stress, make sure you know how your body will react and how you can combat it. Do you freeze up or panic? Do you run from a situation or blame someone else? Do you make mistakes or ignore problems? Remember being aware of the situation will help you combat these stress symptoms: relax, stay calm, fix the problem promptly, focus on solutions rather than the error itself, get help when you need it, and always have a back-up plan. Situational awareness will prepare you for the times you need to act quickly and want to take risks in a project. It will calm you when problems arise and train you to be observant in all aspects of life. Ultimately, you will succeed at a greater rate by being aware of your situations and knowing how to deal when the unexpected arrives. JustJobs.com is a job search engine that finds job listings from company career pages, other job boards, newspapers and associations. With one search, they help you find the job with your name on it.Read more » articles by this approved business partner | Click here » if you’re a businessImage from Gina Sanders/Shutterstock
Communication skills have become more essential than ever. Many job postings and job descriptions have a requirement for strong communication skills. The key to communicating is being able to communicate effectively. All communication is not created equal—there is good communication and better communication. How do you rate yourself?
Communication can be verbal or written. When verbal, you can see facial expressions and body language to make sure you’re sharing and exchanging information effectively. If the other person gives you a confused look, you know to stop talking and maybe repeat/explain your statements to minimize any misunderstandings. You don’t have the luxury of a “do-over” with written communication—you need to get it right the first time. So, take the time to make sure your document’s message is clear.
3 Things To Consider For Effective Written Communications
Here are three things to consider for effective written communications:
1. The first thing you want to do is know your audience. Are you soliciting feedback from your customers, developing training materials for the employees, or writing an audit report to the board of directors? Or is the CEO/president posting a blog on social media? You want to tailor the information to the audience.
2. Level of formality (such as formal, business, conversational, or casual) which may coincide with who your audience is. The level of formality may depend on your relationship with the individual. Is the person your boss? Colleague? External customer? Personal friend?
3. Different document types lend themselves to different writing styles (such as expository, narrative, persuasive, or technical):
- User Manual – step-by-step procedures with screen prints
- Process Workflow – utilizing a Visio graphic because sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words
- Excel Pivot Table – a report summarizing large amounts of data that can be analyzed
- PowerPoint slideshow rotating on a flat-screen TV (e.g. in the HQ lobby welcoming guests) – short, bulleted info, and graphics so that the message can be viewed quickly
There are some best practices that typically apply regardless of the writing style:
- Spell out acronyms the first time; some acronyms have more than one definition.
- Be careful using technical jargon and slang.
- Use white space, which gives your eyes a break especially when there is a lot of dense text.
- Don’t write in all caps unless you’re emphasizing to make a point or “yelling.”
- Check for typos, punctuation, and grammar.
Resources & Tools
Invest in your personal development. Some resources/tools to help you with your written communication skills:
1. Microsoft Word has several built-in features such as:
- File 🡪 Options 🡪 Proofing lets you configure how you want Word to automate proofing your documents.
- Review 🡪 Editor to not only check items such as spelling, grammar, clarity, and conciseness, but also check the level of formality—formal, professional, or casual.
- Review 🡪 Check Accessibility to check how accessible your document is so that it’s inclusive.
2. There are multiple books you can purchase to improve your writing. I like The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White. I think it’s such a great resource that for years I’ve even given copies of the book to my teams.
3. Take a writing class either in-person or online. Even if you consider yourself to be a fairly good writer, classes can provide good reminders, and maybe you’ll pick up a couple of new points. For example, did you know that there are email etiquette best practices?
- Check with your organization’s training team to see what writing-related courses they offer.
- There are many online courses to develop your writing skills such as those on LinkedIn Learning.
When you’re done writing your document, re-read it to make sure it reads well. Depending on the importance of the message, maybe have someone else read it too. Being able to share and exchange written information effectively is fundamental for both your work and personal life.
For more information on the importance of written communications, follow me on LinkedIn!
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Changing careers is not for the faint of heart. But there are certain things you can do to make that change a lot easier. Unfortunately, I see a lot of job seekers make this one mistake when trying to change careers.
Here's why you're struggling to change careers...
You're Not Conducting Informational Interviews
@j.t.odonnell Here's why you're STRUGGLING to change careers @uopx #UniversityofPhoenix#adsponsored#sponsoredad#jobtok#careertok#edutok#careerchange#careers#jobs#careeradvice#careermode#worklife#joblife#jobsearch#careertips#jobsearchtips♬ original sound - J.T. O'Donnell
If you are struggling to make a career change, then you need to be doing something called informational interviewing. An informational interview is not a job interview. It's an interview with people who you respect and trust, who work at the companies on your interview bucket list. It's an interview where these people help you connect the dots and figure out how you're going to take yourself from where you are right now to that new career.
Conducting informational interviews is really important because most people think they can't make a career change, and they feel trapped. The truth is, in order to successfully change careers, you need to have a game plan, and informational interviewing is at the center of it.
The University of Phoenix actually has a free resource that walks you through all six steps of the informational interview process. First, they walk you through how to figure out who to interview. Then, they tell you what questions to ask so that you can get the correct information. And lastly, they even tell you how to follow up so that you can look professional and build your network.
So, if you're struggling to change careers, try conducting informational interviews in your job search. I promise it'll make your career change a million times easier.
Need more help with your job search?
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