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Communication: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

By Ginger Campbell, National Program Coordinator/Work Search SCSEP, AARP Foundation

Can you speak clearly? Although the new century is thoroughly entrenched in high tech communication with the onslaught of computers, Internet, electronic voice mail, and more, the basic skill of effective verbal communication sometimes seems to get lost in the shuffle. In spite of it all, the spoken language is very important.

It should be noted that "good communication" has occurred if the person(s) receiving the information understands the facts being presented. These include the who, what, when, where, and why.

This is critical when interviewing for a job, seeking information about a job opening, or networking in your community concerning upcoming job opportunities. Clearly stating your job needs, your qualifications, where you can be reached, and that you are a serious candidate or job seeker would be considered "good communication."

"Bad communication" may also be referred to as vague or wishy-washy communication. Words and phrases like maybe, I've been thinking about, possibly, perhaps, and I'm not sure, do NOT reach out to employers and make them say, "YES! This is the person I want to manage my business."

Eliminating "bad communication" from your job seeking conversations can move you right up the ladder to getting the job you're after. A simple change in style can lead to opportunities you weren't expecting.

The third and worst form of communication is the "ugly." This would fall into the losing category for job seekers. "Ugly communication" is actually more of an attitude that, when combined with "bad communication" words and phrases, creates a negative image. This is a self-defeating form of job seeking because it creates a negative cycle.

"Ugly communication" can be demonstrated in inflexibility towards job opportunities (such as part-time vs full-time work), criticizing former employers, and demonstrating a lack of respect for your interviewer. This behavior will disqualify you not only from consideration on current job openings, but also from future interviewing opportunities.

How do you know what your style is? Practice interviewing with a friend, maybe someone who is currently working in the field you're interested in. Ask him or her how you come across? Did you explain your employment goals effectively? Did you use positive phrases and words to describe your work experience? Were you able to project a positive attitude? Get the feedback and practice until you're confident you'll be able to win over your interviewer. People hire talented people. But, they also hire people they like. Make "good communications" techniques work for you!

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