At Design Collaborative, we are constantly looking to improve ourselves. This improvement includes our craft, as well as our personal and professional development as individuals and leaders. Recently, four DC associates, myself included, had the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally through the Dale Carnegie Course.
The course has given me several new methods for clearer communication with clients and coworkers. I’ve used what I learned in the course to effectively present solutions, and work with both clients and coworkers to come up with solutions to client concerns. I can look at the problem, consider the outcomes, and more effectively and efficiently come up with a solution using effective communication.
My biggest lessons learned would have to be think first, read your audience, do your due diligence, and know that you have earned the right to communicate your thoughts. I also believe that it is vital to be a good listener. Often, we have several ideas, thoughts, and concerns across multiple jobs. This can lead to an insufficiency in your attention toward others. In my opinion, it’s much more effective to work through one task at a time, and give people the same attentiveness you would desire from others around you. This will decrease the amount of “what did you say again?” moments that can often occur, and will help you be a better overall team player. Take your time, listen attentively, and react methodically.
In regard to one-on one interactions, gathering your thoughts and writing down your specific questions ahead of time can do wonders for your effectiveness as a communicator. This speeds up communication, and also shows respect for the other colleague’s time.
In regard to meetings, being diligent in gathering and understanding your subject and information allows you to effectively communicate with confidence. Also, listen! Take notes, and learn the names of everyone in the meeting. Address others using their name. This shows you care and value the other person.
In regard to public speaking, humor can be a very positive attribute, but also negative if the atmosphere and subject matter don’t call for it. It’s valuable to genuinely greet those you are speaking with, and be comfortable with not knowing the answer to everything. It’s much more meaningful to say, “I don’t have an answer for ‘x,’ but I have the resources to get an answer and will do so in a timely manner.” Public speaking is a mutual exchange. Treat your audience respectfully, and they will return in kind.
Overall, listen, be knowledgeable with what you say, earn the right, use names, don’t respond out of instinct, and think through problems. React methodically and your communication will be much more effective.
Associate, Electrical Engineer