Communication Skills

A Ranting Hub for Improving Communication Skills

How to discuss a topic in a group

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ive English teachers come together to show you how to discuss a topic in a group. You’ll learn how to give your opinion, interrupt, contradict, and more. We’ll teach you how to use expressions like “in a nutshell”, “please let me finish”, and “don’t get me wrong”. You can use these expressions confidently in personal, social, and professional situations. Make sure to test your understanding of the lesson at http://www.engvid.com/how-to-discuss-…

To improve your English, subscribe to each of the teachers who appear in this lesson:
Ronnie – http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c…
James – http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c…
Alex – http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c…
Adam – http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c…
Rebecca – http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c…

TRANSCRIPT:
Hi! My name is Rebecca, and in today’s lesson you’ll learn how to participate effectively in a discussion in English, something you may need to do in your personal, professional, or academic life, okay? Now, the topic we’ll use as our sample is this one: Is it better to study online or in a regular classroom? Okay? You’ll have a chance to hear a discussion by native English speakers on this topic. What I’d like you to do is listen for any special expressions and phrases that they use during the discussion. Afterwards, I’ll review the expressions and phrases with you, okay? Now, today I have some special friends who have agreed to help me with this lesson, and they’re waiting in the classroom next door, so let’s go and say hello to them.
— Hello!
— Hello!
— Hi!
— Hi!
— Well, look who’s here. It’s —
— Ronnie.
— Alex.
— James.
— Adam.
— Thank you for joining me, and thanks for helping with this lesson, guys.
— No problem.
— No problem.
— So you know we’re talking about discussions, and the topic is: Is it better to study online or in a regular classroom? Okay, who wants to go first?
— Okay, so I’ll start, and I think that it’s actually very good to study online because it’s very convenient because you can study whenever you want and at your own pace. For example, someone like me, I like to study at nighttime. So for me, online works better because it’s quiet at night, no one disturbs me, and I can do what I need to do.
— Okay, that’s true, but if you’re going to study online —
— Sorry, but —
— Please let me finish. Let me finish. As I was saying, that’s true, but if you’re studying online you do need to motivate yourself, so I think it’s better to be in a classroom where you have other students and a teacher who can motivate you.
— That’s true, but some people can’t afford to go to a classroom and don’t have enough money or resources to actually go to a big school. So studying online, you can actually do it for free.
— Me? Well, I would like to add — May I say something?
— Sure.
— Soft skills. That’s not usually talked about in schools, but when we talk about “soft skills”, it’s actual interaction, utilizing your English when you’re with other people, and that’s hard to get online because you’re watching a screen and not actually interacting with other people.
— You make a very good point but I would also like to add that sometimes having classmates takes you away from your focus because you have to maybe review things many times for other people to catch up, or you have to do topics that are interesting to other people, not to yourself. So it’s a little distracting sometimes, too.
— However, focus is a good thing. I mean, it’s not a bad thing to repeat something because sometimes people don’t catch the material the first time. So that way, you go over the material, and they — you know, you get depth. So you get to learn more, and people who don’t understand get the opportunity to ask questions and learn from it again.
— Yeah, but sometimes the resources that you get in a classroom are boring, and online you can just look up whatever you need on the Internet, and you’ve got it right there. You don’t have to rely on a textbook. Sometimes it can be a bad textbook.

Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are

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Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

How to manage anxiety when public speaking so you speak with confidence

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Build confidence by learning this important anti-anxiety technique and overcome the fear of public speaking. Use it to reduce other types of anxiety too including social anxiety.


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The 10 Worst Communication Mistakes For Your Career

 

“How do you signal to the world you’re leadership material?” asks Sylvia Ann Hewlett, an economist and the founding president of the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) in New York. “You don’t get a shot at being a leader unless you signal right.”

According to a new year-long study of over 4,000 college-educated professionals and 268 senior executives, conducted by CTI and in partnership with Marie Claire magazine, you must be viewed as a leader in order to get promoted into top jobs. That takes “executive presence,” which is defined as having gravitas, excellent communication skills and a polished appearance.

These skills are required, but that doesn’t mean you rack up bonus points for having them. Instead, you get demerits for your mistakes, as superiors silently cross you off their good lists. So what are the pitfalls to avoid? The study uncovered the 10 worst communication mistakes that will instantly derail your promotion hopes.

No. 1: Racially Biased Comments

Of executives surveyed, 72% said racially biased comments are a major blunder for men and 70% said the same for women. This is the top offense for good reason. These remarks easily offend or insult, reflect poor judgment and reveal low emotional intelligence, according to the researchers.

No. 2: Off-Color Jokes

This second worst communication mistake is similar to the first. Telling inappropriate jokes makes people uncomfortable, revealing an inability to properly read the audience and environment. On the flip side, 61% of executives believe being able to sense the mood of others and effectively adjust your language, tone and content is one of the top skills required to advance.

See Also: Top 6 Communication Skills That Will Get You Promoted

No. 3: Crying

Rightly or wrongly, workplace tears do not communicate leadership potential—especially if you’re a man. While 59% of executives say crying makes a woman look bad, 63% believe it’s a top mistake for men. “You have to be able to control your emotions,” a male banking executive told researchers.

No. 4: Sounding Uneducated

Executives say it’s important for leaders to portray gravitas, worldliness and intellectual horsepower. Thus, sounding uneducated will immediately undermine your chances of ascension. One IT manager told the researchers, “I’ve been with bosses who look like they would be competent, and then they blow it when they open their mouths and sound like complete buffoons.”

No. 5: Swearing

Cursing is a gender-neutral faux pas. It’s generally considered unprofessional and unfitting of a leader. Interestingly, it’s also a major mistake online, which in itself is a communication minefield. Those polled said the top three online communications blunders are posting unflattering messages about colleagues, posting unprofessional photos and being too personal.


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5 Must-Have Soft Skills for Engineers’ Career Success

Technical acumen alone is insufficient for engineering career success. “Soft skills” play an increasingly important role in differentiating STEM professionals for employment and advancement.

renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the day-to-day work of engineers and technical specialists, soft skills are as important as technical skills. These skills, or emotional intelligence, are often not learned in school and enable professionals to navigate smoothly and effectively through a wide variety of social and professional situations with a wide variety of people. Such skills include communication, cooperation, creativity, leadership, and organization.

A mid-2012 study from Millennial Branding showed that soft skills topped the list of must-haves for employers, with 98 percent of them saying communication skills are essential and 92 percent teamwork skills. Following are five key soft skills that engineers and other STEM professionals should develop for career success.

Soft Skill 1: Communication

While speaking, writing, and listening are everyday actions, many professionals underestimate the importance of communication skills. Engineers tend to prioritize technical skills over communication skills, not realizing that they cannot be fully effective in their jobs if they are inadequate speakers, writers, and listeners. Yet it is particularly in the engineering fields that effective communication skills are crucial to success.

In a recent survey conducted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers of both society members and nonmembers in engineering-related positions, respondents said they believe communication skills — such as business writing, technical writing, public speaking, and presentation preparation — are “crucial” for success as engineers work in and among more varied groups.

The interaction between stakeholders, whether it is internal in an organization or external with partners or clients, is fraught with opportunities for misunderstanding. That is why effective communication also involves listening, which is itself an essential soft skill. Without actively listening to customers, clients, or project partners, problem-solving becomes much more difficult and time-consuming.

Soft Skill 2: Creativity

Creativity is arguably the driving force behind innovation and therefore increasingly gaining recognition as the new capital in uncertain and challenging economic times. Innovation thrives on breakthrough thinking, nimbleness, and empowerment. Organizations often depend on big ideas and creative employees to develop innovative products and services.

In the mid-aughts, IEEE Spectrum noted the frequent accusation that engineers are uncreative — a myth that persists today. Yet, as IEEE Spectrum explained, “every engineer’s core mission is to try to improve the utility of things, to design products or processes that will solve problems better, faster and cheaper.” This mission would rarely be achieved if not for engineers’ ways of thinking, which often lead to problem-solving opportunities that would otherwise remain hidden.

In the engineering fields, creativity can be as valuable to solving a problem as the technical skills to identify and troubleshoot the source of the problem. As such, creative thinking is a soft skill that engineers, scientists, and others in the STEM fields should cultivate in order to become invaluable members of their organizations.

Soft Skill 3: Adaptability

There is no shortage of challenges and issues that arise on any given workday. Having the ability to identify solutions to unforeseen problems requires being able to modify and adjust accordingly to the environment and situation.

This flexibility is one of the soft skills that increasingly more employers look for in employees. The way professionals demonstrate their adaptability is by showing they are able to think on their feet, assess problems, and find solutions. The ability to develop a well-thought-out solution within a given time is a skill that employers value greatly.

At the same time, today’s tech frontier is rapidly reshaping industries, which means that organizations often must implement change internally to keep up. Here, adaptability also means a willingness to face the unexpected.

“Are you the first to complain if plans change? Do you sulk and brood when things don’t go your way?” AOL Jobs recently asked. “If that’s you, think about how you can be a little less rigid. It will make you a more marketable job seeker.”

Soft Skill 4: Collaboration

A 2007 study from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management used almost 20 million papers over five decades and 2.1 million patents to demonstrate that teams increasingly dominate solo authors in knowledge production. The days of single-inventor innovations have been replaced with team research across nearly all fields.

Whether you call it cooperation, collaboration, or teamwork, an engineer’s ability to work with other people from different backgrounds is essential.

“For example, when designing a transformer for high-voltage transmission lines … it takes more than one engineer to complete the project,” the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) recently explained. “It requires a team of engineers and other professionals — drafters, project managers, and administrative staff — working together and potentially interfacing with clients, regulatory agencies, subcontractors, and even public advocacy groups.

“What would be the likelihood of success if team members could not communicate together?” the ASTD continued. “What if they could not share responsibilities and accountability in working as a team? What if there was no leadership present in the project?”

Soft Skill 5: Leadership

Leadership, in and of itself, is not one skill but the blending and integration of a variety of skills. By its very nature, leading people is about successfully interacting with them and convincing them to follow. This makes leadership a key soft skill for STEM professionals who intend to make a difference.

“In an engineering context, leadership incorporates a number of capabilities which are critical in order to function at a professional level,” according to the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). “These capabilities include the ability to assess risk and take initiative, the willingness to make decisions in the face of uncertainty, a sense of urgency and the will to deliver on time in the face of constraints or obstacles, resourcefulness and flexibility, trust and loyalty in a team setting, and the ability to relate to others.”

While much of leadership is character-based, engineers can develop or hone certain leadership skills or attributes to foster personal and professional success.

“Leadership skills are also important to allow engineers later in their careers to help develop and communicate vision for the future and to help shape public policy,” the NSPE continued. “These leadership capabilities are essential for the professional practice of engineering and for the protection of public health, safety and welfare.”

by David Butcher | March 18, 2013
– See more at: http://www.thomasnet.com/journals/career/5-must-have-soft-skills-for-engineers-career-success/#sthash.EIOj0Nl0.dpuf