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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 2, 2018

    7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

    7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

    When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

    You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

    1. Connecting them with each other

    Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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    It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

    2. Connect with their emotions

    Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

    For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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    3. Keep going back to the beginning

    Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

    On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

    4. Link to your audience’s motivation

    After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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    Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

    5. Entertain them

    While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

    Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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    6. Appeal to loyalty

    Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

    In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

    7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

    Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

    Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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