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Last Updated on October 9, 2018

Top 10 Online Learning Sites To Advance Communication Skills at Work

Top 10 Online Learning Sites To Advance Communication Skills at Work

Experiencing inefficiency at work and in the personal life is the worst feeling that one can face, especially when it is self created.

There comes a phase in majority of us lives when every time we listen to or meet great orators or managers, we tend to feel a sinking feeling in the pit of our stomach followed by self consoling thoughts saying that those people were probably just born with the ability or their parents probably had the same glorious skills which passed on to them as well.

Being a perfect communicator comes with time and experience after being in a series of difficult situations. Everyone of us, no matter which geographical area we belong to, more often than not, face similar issues in our career that tend to shape us as either a good communicator or a bad one.

Lacks of communication skills is one of the most misunderstood terms. It is rarely about the language proficiency or how much you fumble when you talk. It is more about how we voice out and react to an unfavorable situation that stands in front of us.

Knowing how to react in a situation helps gives us the confidence that ultimately shapes us as good communicators and even leaders.

In this article, we will be looking at the different situations that we come across everyday, which helps define us as good communicators or bad ones. Along with every situation, we have mentioned a link to the course/website you can visit to better the situation at hand and come out as an expert communicator.

Let’s begin:

1. If you are finding yourself fumbling in a language, try Duolingo.

A number of times what happens is that you lose practice in talking in language A because people around you – at home or at office – talk in language B and so when the time comes to talk in language B, you fumble because of lack of practice.

Nothing can be more frustrating than not being able to voice out what is in your head in so many words from your mouth. So, what is the solution? How do you overcome this brushing up your language issue?

Enroll in a language course on Duolingo.

    I know what you are thinking, why enroll in a course which teaches you a language from scratch? Right? I’ll tell you why.

    Because you have forgotten a language, you have over time lost track of the confidence in your speaking skills. So, enrolling in a course to learn the language from scratch will help you get the confidence back that will come from knowing that you know everything about the language that you’d need to get by in your day.

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    2. If you are unable to let go of bad incidents and it is killing your confidence, try Coursera’s EQ course.

    How many times has it happened with you that after an argument or a disagreement with someone, you were not able to talk to them as confidently as you used to earlier and it shows in your speech, tone, and simply in how you talk to them, even act in front of them?

    It is the doing of your low emotional intelligence quotient. Emotional Intelligence is that part of the personality that deals with making people aware and bringing them in control of their emotions and then channel them in a way that they are able to handle the interpersonal relations more empathetically, ultimately helping you get over and not fret over little things.  

    The solution? Coursera course on Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence. The course teaches you about hope, compassion, and mindfulness that helps in combating stress and build better relationships in the workplace.

      3. If your skills are making you hide in the crowd, upgrade your job skills at Udemy.

      No matter what job profile you are in, there is one given thing – the amount of skill set that you have to do Job A will always be inversely proportional with the skills that the job requires to ultimately help reach the organization’s goal.

      And the moment a new member who has an advanced skill set as compared to you joins your team, or the moment your boss realizes that the skill set it would take to head the job towards better profitability is one that you are missing as of now, it would affect your confidence and ultimately your communication skill.

      Another way to look at this lack of skill set issue is that in the absence of one, you will have nothing to talk about to your management team in your next tete-a-tete.

      So, what should you do? You should upgrade your skill set. There are websites like Udemy that will help you upgrade your job skill to another level.

        4. If email and Skype etiquettes are killing your confidence, use these online tools.

        If being an expert communicator is Mt. Everest, becoming a good orator is base camp one and perfecting your written communication skill is another mountain to climb altogether.

        When we talk about communication in a workplace, the instances where your oral communication skills are tested would be a lot less than the instances where you will have to write proper, concise emails or messages through the official communication mode.

        Even though it might sound a lot less important than perfecting your oral communication skills, wait till you write long unexplanatory subject lines or even worse, 3 words’ mystery subject lines in the assumption that the receiver will be enticed into opening your mail – Both being major blunders.

        So what should be done?

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        No website can teach you to write. But there are websites that can teach you how to write better and error proof.

        Here’s a list of tools to help you with that – 7 Online Tools that Improve Your Business Writing

        5. If giving PowerPoint presentations in meetings is stressing you out, sign up for Udemy’s presentation course.

        A time comes in every employee’s corporate life when they are made to stand at the center point of a room and deliver a presentation to their in-house team or their clients. If it still hasn’t happened to you yet, give it time. It will.

        It is not uncommon for worst case scenarios to run over your mind before the very minute you are going to take center position and deliver the presentation. There are so many things that can go wrong – you might fumble, you might pronounce something wrong, someone might ask you a question you have no answer of, or the audience might yawn because the presentation was that boring.

        The possibility of things going wrong are numerous. But the fact remains that with the right amount of practice, you might not face any of the presentation delivery challenges.

        In a busy office day, it is common for people to get the feeling that they don’t have enough time to accomplish everything they want and deliver a mesmerizing powerpoint presentation.

        Udemy’s course titled – PowerPoint Presentations: Deliver a Non-Boring Presentation, is just for the busy office goers. The course offers practical steps for the presenters to draft, memorize, and deliver PowerPoint presentations that don’t bore the audiences.

        6. When you have an angry customer on phone and you are going speechless, try Lynda’s course about dealing with customers.

        Everyone of you who have been in sales or is a Doctor or a Lawyer basically anyone who has ever dealt with an angry/unhappy customer whose issues have not been addressed, would relate to this.

        There are so many unfavorable situations that can come up when you are in a business where you are made to deal with a client or vendor or with someone who can have an impact on your business while not being present in-house.

        The situation leading to disagreement or frustrations can either be your doing or it might result from something purely circumstantial. Either of which way it emerges, the end result of both – Angry Customer – is something that you have to deal with, tactfully.

        You will have to prepare yourself in a way that you don’t end up saying or acting in a certain way to make the customer even angrier.

        While following a proactive approach and role playing the different situations that can emerge can help you greatly, there is a course, being offered by Lynda.com that can help you with preparing for the situation more easily.

        Lynda.com, a sister concern of LinkedIn has come up with a Course on Dealing with Difficult Customers, to help you get some perspective into what can be done in situations like these.

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          7. When you are avoiding situations and letting the conflicts foster, try Communicaid.

          Whether you are working as part of a diverse team or whether everyone in your team share the similar skillset as you, conflicts are bound to emerge.

          No matter how much we as part of a team, try to ignore the situations there will be times where disagreements between two people or within a team would rise to a level that it converts into a conflict.

          There is one thing to be clear of when it comes to conflicts – they will happen, no matter how badly you try to prevent them. What is in your control is to manage them in a way that they don’t get out of hand and affect productivity.

          Here’s a course on Managing Conflict by Communicaid, which will come in handy the next time you are finding yourself staring at a conflict.

            8. If you face difficulty with cracking deals in your favor, try Impact Factory’s course.

            In your career, there will be a number of instances where you will have to reach at an agreement with people that favors you. The discussion can be between your in-house teams or with your vendors or even your clients at times.

            The ideal scenario where both you and the other person in the picture get the best out of the deal is generally rare. More often than not, you both will mutually have to come to a point where you are able to arrive at a position whether none of you are compromising.

            Arriving at a situation where you get your fair share while the person in front of you is not at loss too with just your words is a lot more difficult than what it reads in the books.

            Practicing good negotiation skill is the one capability that comes in handy on not just the professional front but also in your everyday life. Once you master the negotiation centric communication, you will find yourself conversing with a lot more confidence in the office space.

            To help you in this department, enroll in the Negotiation Course by Impact Factory. The course structure is designed to teach the necessary skills that would prepare you to negotiate in a way that is best suited for achieving your goal.

            9. If you have difficulty holding a productive meeting, try Udemy’s productive meetings course.

            Holding meetings is an art. Not everyone can organize a meeting and then get the team to respond the way they want to.

            There are a number of factors that affect the outcome of a meeting – the time and place of the meeting, the agenda, the participants, etc. And as someone who is handling the meeting, even a single ounce of disinterest is enough to shake the confidence and bring an increase in the probability of making a mistake on the communication front.

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            What helps in a situation like this is a course that would teach you the exact steps that guarantees happening of a productive meeting.

            A course that would help you with exactly this is Udemy’s Meeting Management: How to Lead & Master Productive MeetingsThe course is structured around giving you insights into how to transform a boring meeting into a productive one.

              10. If what you are communicating through your body posture is not in sync with your words, take Alison’s communication course.

              Any talk on communication will be incomplete without a mention of non-verbal communication or your body language. The saying that action speaks louder than words holds true on so many fronts, especially in a competitive environment like an office space.

              There’s a lot that people perceive about you and what you perceive about people from the way they sit, stand, smile, shake hands, and even look at you.

              While on one hand you shouldn’t be overly friendly to allow people to not take you seriously, you shouldn’t keep a firm tone as well so that you come across as a stubborn, my way or the highway colleague.

              A number of times, we fall prey to the classic ‘this is not what I meant’ swirl and more often than not is the doing of how our body acts when we are having a dialogue – something that when not checked can affect the interpersonal relationships in a way that you cannot even imagine.

              The solution of this lack of syncness between what you say and what your body language portrays is something that needs to be corrected as early in your career as possible.

              There are a number of courses related to perfecting the nonverbal communication skills available on the internet, the one that is performing well in terms of best result is Alison.com course on Communication Skills – Perception and Nonverbal Communication.

              The bottom line

              Have a look at the course structure and see if it is aligned with what you are hoping to achieve.

              When it comes to bettering your communication skills, never put your concentrated focus on learning how to speak a language more fluently, instead learn how to tackle different situations. It is your preparation to tackle different situations that will give you the confidence when the time comes and better your communication automatically.

              When it comes to situations where you need to showcase your communication skills, chances are they won’t be restricted to these ten, there will a lot more. But, as you are starting on this journey of being a good communicator, these ten situations are the perfect starting points for you to get confidence and ultimately become a better communicator

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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              Tripti Rai

              Tripti works in a mobile app development agency and shares about work and productivity tips related to technology.

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              Last Updated on March 14, 2019

              7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

              7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

              Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

              For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

              Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

              1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

              A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

              It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

              It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

              How it helps you:

              If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

              Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

              2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

              Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

              Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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              How it helps you:

              Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

              Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

              If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

              Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

              3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

              Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

              Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

              How it helps you:

              This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

              For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

              Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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              A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

              4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

              To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

              A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

              How it helps you:

              One word: hierarchy.

              All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

              In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

              If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

              5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

              Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

              Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

              How it helps you:

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              Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

              If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

              This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

              6. What do you like about working here?

              This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

              Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

              How it helps you:

              You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

              Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

              Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

              7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

              What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

              As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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              How it helps you:

              What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

              First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

              Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

              Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

              Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

              Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

              Making Your Interview Work for You

              Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

              Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

              More Resources About Job Interviews

              Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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