Core Skills

After acquiring product and technical knowledge, every professional, to be more successful, should be trained in 4 core skills:

  • Presentations
  • Business Writing
  • Selling
  • Negotiating

Here’s a brief explanation of why.

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Presentation Skills

All professionals have to present. They have to prepare clear, concise and compelling content and they have to deliver it to different audiences.  Whether they present standing in front of a live audience, virtually on a call or on a videoconference, presenting is always a huge challenge:

  • How do I control my nervousness?
  • How do I make my message more interesting for my audience?
  • What do I include or omit in the content?
  • How do I prepare quality visuals?
  • How do I handle questions, comments and attacks from my audience?

Your professional image is at stake. Your company’s reputation will be evaluated. Winning or losing is on the line.

Business Writing

Professionals today basically write all day. Whether it’s an email to a client, an internal document, a text or a tweet; writing presents its challenges. Our readers have minimal time to read and digest a message. The writer has  a short time to draft the document. It has to be organized, clear, concise and convey the proper tone. Spelling and grammar should be correct.

Business Writing is a must-have core skill and a good training investment.

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Selling

Whether you’re part of a sales force or work in Operations, Finance, Administration, Marketing, IT or any other division, selling and consulting are core and critical skills.

True, the sales force has to be highly trained. They provide the gasoline that keeps the motor running. However all employees have to sell ideas, strategies, improvements. They must learn when and how to pitch and how to listen and probe. Better selling skills lead to targeted solutions that are key for success.

Negotiating

Once again, quite obvious for the sales force. However so often, the sales force lacks a negotiating methodology, They make excessive concessions or show inflexibility. They need to be well trained.

All professionals need these skills. Internal negotiations are critical for efficiency and harmony in an organization. All areas need to negotiate agreements and require skills to do it well. 

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A well-trained team in these core skills will produce  a more motivated staff,  a better professional image and reputation , a more positive work environment and better company results.

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Pro Tip from Pixar

For writing, presentations and strategy; use a pen and paper (no eraser). Let your imagination go a little bit. Get your outline out – Judge and filter later.

 

Write Right

Transient

Today, we seem to write more than ever. Emails, texts and tweets are an integral part of our daily routine. The questions I aways ask are, "how does my reader feel about my written message?" "Is my message clear?" "Does it convey the proper tone?" "Is it brief and easy to read and understand?" " Is it clear whether I'm asking my reading to understand something or to do something?"

Although we agree that writing is more prevalent and important today than ever, most of us have never received training in how to be better business writers.

Here are a few tips to help you and get you started. First, define your message and make sure it appears towards the beginning of our document. Do not let the message get lost in the middle and be a conclusion at the end. When the reader receives the message early, the rest of the document makes much more sense. It supports the message.

Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Long sentences, more than 20 words, are harder to read and understand. Paragraphs of more than three sentences become a block of text on a page. It's less attractive to read and the reader thinks it will be more time consuming. Use bullets to highlight a series of events when possible.

Think about the tone of your documents. How would you like  the reader to feel after reading your document? Ask yourself, how would I  feel if I were to receive this document? This will help you to modify the tone.

Make the document attractive to read. By including personal words (names, pronouns & possessives) and more compact sentences and paragraphs, your readers will look forward to receiving and reading your document.

Good luck!

 

It's About Communication

You're smart, eager and technically prepared for your job. You have a great attitude and you want to grow professionally. You focus on improving every day.

In our 30 years at ERC, we have found that what stifles most professional growth is not the lack of technical ability, desire nor enthusiasm. It's the ability to communicate well in a variety of venues.

Communication has always been important – today it's vital! Here are just a few examples:

Presenting: Presentations are critical for success. The demand for our Executive Presentation Skills programs in English, Spanish and Portuguese has increased 200% over the last 3 years. We have adapted the content of our program to today's technological realities. In addition to standing and presenting in front of live audiences, professionals today need to virtually present and sell messages on conference calls. They need to handle videoconferences through TelePresence and other technologies. They must present to 5 critical decision makers or 5000 through video streaming, and many more in a recorded time-shifted format. This requires critical skills that few have learned.

Writing: The average professional today writes and receives many more documents than ever before. Emailing, texting, tweeting and posting are so prevalent in the work place today. One must write quickly, clearly and make an impact. All documents, even the simplest email, must have structure and clarity and convey the proper tone.

Everyone writes, however few write strategically. We have seen a sharp increase in the number of companies contracting our Effective Business Writing program.

Selling: Competition is fierce. The need to distinguish yourself from your competitors is critical. We market, we present, we try to convince and persuade. We present our arguments and highlight our benefits and features. Where most salespeople and consultants often fall short is in their ability to truly listen to their internal and external clients. Listening, and fully understanding, before proposing is the key. Most salespeople and consultants are not trained in the most important communication skill: Listening.

Negotiating: To reach a fair and positive agreement for all parties requires strategy and communication. One must strategically prepare prior to a face-to-face encounter and be able to communicate that strategy. Many believe that negotiating is an innate trait or they don't believe they can learn skills to enhance their abilities. For these reasons, they don't seek training. This leads to too many concessions or inflexibility. Either way, there is no win-win relationship. Excellent communicators in a negotiation reach faster and better agreements for all parties.

These are just a few examples of how the ability to communicate delivers professional growth and success. My message... read, train, develop and improve your communication skills!