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Communication Hacks: 5 Ways to Hone Your Global Skills

Communication Hacks: 5 Ways to Hone Your Global Skills

    Most people who work in the business world today regularly interface with colleagues and clients all over the globe. In an economy without borders, enabled by instantaneous technology, they must actively collaborate with people in unfamiliar nations, speaking unfamiliar languages. The key question is – do up-and-coming twenty-first century leaders have the diplomatic skills and cultural savvy to be successful in this new climate? The answer in many cases is no.

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    In a recent study conducted by the Career Advisory Board established by DeVry University, hiring managers noted that global outlook was a skill that was considered most important but also most rare among current job candidates. However, improving global outlook and competence is not as simple as reading a book. Here are a few ways to hone yours.

    1. Do a stint abroad

    Get to know another culture intimately by observing variations in daily living and values. In communing with people who are different from you, you will acquire an additional perspective that’s extremely valuable and can be used in your future career. Although even short travel is beneficial, it’s better if you have the financial ability to stay a few months or a year.

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    A great site to look for and learn about the logistics of overseas job opportunities is Goinglobal.com. If you are currently employed with a large organization, inquire internally about the chance to do a stretch assignment offshore.

    2. Read The Economist

    More so than in other countries, American citizens lack an understanding of what’s occurring in the outside world. Become better informed and more culturally sensitive by subscribing to an international business publication such as The Economist, and by talking through global issues with your family members and friends.

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    3. Learn a new language

    Although English is still the international language of business, that could change at any time, so it’s a wise investment to become proficient in an up-and-coming language like Chinese. Online or offline coursework is helpful, as is having a native speaker in your community with whom you can practice conversing.

    4. Pick an interesting country and go deep

    Before going overseas, or even instead of going overseas if travel is not possible, find a local contact who has previously resided in or worked with a country that intrigues you. Arrange an information interview to discuss that country’s culture and way of conducting business. Build the relationship over time with in-person lunches or coffee dates. Hopefully your contact will provide essential insights about global work and that nation in particular.

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    5. Consider working at a foreign company

    This approach will allow you to increase your global awareness and competence without leaving U.S. soil because you will routinely interact with overseas contacts. Use directories such as the “Directory of Foreign Firms Operating in the United States” to create a target list of employers, and then leverage LinkedIn to identify openings and find individuals at those organizations with whom you can network.

    In closing

    As with any new skill, you have to start somewhere. Even if the effort seems small now, a continued focus on increasing your worldview will render you more marketable and employable in the future.

    (Photo credit: Global Communication via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on December 10, 2019

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

    Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

    But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

    Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

    But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

    Journal writing.

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    Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

    Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

    Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

    1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

    By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

    Consider this:

    Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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    But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

    The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

    2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

    If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

    How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

    Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

    You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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    3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

    As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

    Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

    All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

    4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

    Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

    Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

    The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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    5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

    The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

    It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

    Kickstart Journaling

    How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

    Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

    Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

    Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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