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Associations Now

Why Communication Matters to Your Career

ASSOCIATIONS NOW, February 2013 Brain Power

Summary: Career advice from Carol Vernon, certified executive coach, principal of Communication Matters. [Titled "Communication Counts" in the print edition.]

Associations Now: Why does communication matter?

Vernon: Research shows that 90 percent of personal and professional success is directly attributable to how well we communicate. For that reason it's key for us to understand how we communicate best and to leverage it when we talk to people. When we're talking to certain people—whether our boss, a member, or a colleague—we must remember that they may communicate in a different style. So they may hear what we're saying, but they may receive it in a different way.

What are the styles?

The model I use looks at four different ones. A systematic communicator communicates with a heavy emphasis on logic and inquiry. They're focusing on and listening for the "how." The next type—direct communicator—is focused on action and wants to get things done now. They're looking and listening for the "what." The third style is spirited, which is focused on ideas, possibilities, and long-range thinking. This person comes from the place of "why." The final is the considerate communicator: a person who is focused on human interaction and listening for and from the "who."

How does understanding your communication style help?

It allows you not only to leverage your style but also to blend it with other styles in high-stakes situations. If you're able to step back and identify the other person's style, you'll have a better chance of getting to your goal. Remember that communication is a style preference. We can make changes and tweaks to allow us to be more successful.

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