Monday, June 21, 2010

Communicating in the Future

Today I’m going to talk about communication skills as they related to work and job preparation. And I’ll give a little advice on how listeners can get help improving their communication abilities. (Unless they don’t need it, because we all know that EVERYONE OUT THERE IS A PERFECT COMMUNICATOR)

Do you guys know the meaning of the term Baby-boom generation, X-generation, Y-generation? (Boomers 1943-1960), (X 1960-81), (Generation Y 1982-2001) Any idea of the name of the generation that comes after Y? They call it The Cyber Generation. If I have kids anywhere from now until 2025, it'll be in the Cyber Generation. What the hell?

Well, a few days ago, I read a great article by career blogger Dan Erwin. He claims that the biggest skill set necessary for the Y generation, those entering the work force today, is going to be communication skills. He says that this is a global trend, that the mark of a successful person will be their absolute ability to communicate well. He supports his claims with material from the Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business review. Not that that means it’s perfect information, but it is fairly reliable.

What kind of communication did he mention?

Erwin mentions mostly the importance of communication skills as they related to improving relationships. He says that Generation Y is going to need these skills to access coaching opportunities, develop a network of mentors, gain feedback, move up the ladder, or even build your own business. Specifically, he mentions six relational abilities the Y generation would benefit from learning.

1) Proactive skills for seeking help.

2) Ability to identify potential mentors and coaches.

3) Capacity to initiate conversations with individuals who you do not know.

4) Openness and skills for sharing your own experiences.

5) Ability to establish relations of trust and respect.

6) Skills for inviting feedback.

Many other writers speak of the changing climate in terms of work environment. In his book A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink talks about a thinking shift that is happening. He talks about many things that will occur, but one of which is the emergence of our communicative ability.

As the world turns more global, I think both writers advice is useful to Korean youth. Even if only a few of these apply to your coming career, chances are you’ll have to at least grow competent at public speaking, impromptu speaking, making presentations, meeting people (networking), giving feedback as well as learning to receive feedback, learning how to be coached.

I don’t know about you guys, but when I graduated from university, I didn’t have a lot of opportunity to learn these skills. Did you?

So what can a young person do to improve their skills in these vital areas? Thankfully, here in Korea, there are a number of awesome options.

In Monday’s edition of the Korea Times, there appeared a story about Toastmasters in Korea. Toastmasters is a fantastic organization that’s sole purpose is to provide a positive safe learning environment for people who want to improve their communication and leadership skills. Toastmasters just had it’s annual national conference, and annual international speech contest. This year, a brilliant young Korean man won the event. In the article he talked about how Toastmasters really helped him improve his English speaking skills. So much that he won out over 11 other people both from Korea, Russia, Australia and America.

I really recommend TM to people who would like to improve their communication skills. Either in English or Korean. There are now two clubs that are offered in Korean.

In TM people practice impromptu speaking skills. Great for interviews, and on the job calls to give a short speech or contribution to a discussion.

People have a chance to practice presentation and public speaking skills. They have a chance to practice critical thinking and communication. They have a chance to evaluate—give feedback to people,a chance to receive feedback. They have a chance to meet people and talk to people they’ve never met. They have a chance to lead. To manage. They have great chances to practice many of the skills both Daniel Pink and Dan Erwin recommend.

But TM isn’t the only place that offers great chances to improve communication skills. There are a number of Harvard Business Review Clubs that run around Seoul. These are great places for people to practice their reading, critical thinking, and communication skills in both Korean and English. As well, an opportunity to practice leading discussions, meeting management, etc.

There is a great club, I’m not sure the name (I’ll know on Wednesday), that meets each Sunday between 8-10am in Yeouido. They are a great club with many different people who attend, both Korean and foreign.

Dan Erwin closes his brief article ( with the following quote: He says,

“Individuals who lack these competencies [that I mentioned] are going to be at a significant disadvantage in today’s free-flowing, volatile organizations. …so how are you going to go about this task [of improving your skills]”

How are you going to improve your skills?

Finally, Anthony Robbins that big-jawed self-help guru says,

“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives”

I have to say that I agree with him. Smart man.

That’s all for today. I hope you take my advice, find yourself one of these clubs and begin making your move toward becoming an even more HOT COMMODITY! See you next week.

Michael Jay

I write like
Douglas Adams

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!