Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Sweet Talking your way to success




















While there are many forms of communication and different ways to talk to people, I've come to realize that being a sweet-talker can take you a long way both in professional and home life. It is ironical for me to write about this, since I am known for my quick temper and am definitely not sleek with the tongue either. But, I've recognized that in my work life, if I am looking to make a career out of my job, there is surely a lot more needed to grow and succeed, besides just being good at what you do.

It doesn't stop with being nice to your colleagues and boss, nor does it end with networking. In a profession that is all about managing people, one has to learn to become a social,networking bee. As a senior colleague of mine put it, "You have to come out of your shell, go beyond your comfort zone, do something bold and daring to make people take note of you." She was saying that how at one point in her career, it took her 10 months to muster the courage to approach the Director of Sales, (for example, assume she is a Sales Manager who wants to get promoted to the next level) to ask if she would go out for lunch with her. She took a bold step, came out of her comfort zone and after that meeting, which she said went great, her view of the Sales Director changed completely. During that lunch, she talked to the Director about next career moves, got her advise on what she needs to do to get into a higher level etc. Lo and behold,a few months later she got that next promotion which was lined up for a bunch of successful Sales Managers. Amongst, all of them, who were well qualified and interviewed for the position, my senior colleague was offered the position.

In a country where we are still an immigrant, it not only is enough if you work twice as harder as your white colleague, but, it is also vital to do that sweet-talk, which unlike any other form of expression, is the most effective tool in getting what you want. I am not saying that one has to be a sucker-up to their boss or their big boss to get a promotion, but, one must know how to use that charming personality that is hidden deep down within us and market ourselves with that quiet confidence. Yes, everyone is qualified, everyone has years of experience, is hard working etc. but do you have what it takes to go that extra mile by shedding your innate nature and becoming more social.

I am going to try my best to practise that in my professional life, though, this seems like the most daunting thing I've had to do so far. And, it is not easy for me either. While, I am quite the talker at home and with friends, it is the other way around at work, where my talking skills are toned down to a minimal level, in fact, too low to get noticed.

I am sure that writing a post isn't going to make me change my personality at work overnight to become a social gossip, but, atleast, it has got me started thinking about what skills I need to have to get into the next level.

14 comments:

Spillay said...

Good on you for pushing yourself out of your comfort zone! I believe that this is applicable for anyone in any situation, and not just to do with professional life!!

Re being a sweet talker - I can understand where you are coming from. I used to be a Risk Analyst, with the role of auditing people and processes. Believe me, the only way I got people talking to me about what they did and how they did it, was by the way I communicated. This came to me after a lot of practise!! (Incidently, it was the hardest thing to teach my juniors too. I believe that it gets easier with more effort).

Keep it up!!!

Priya said...

Mitr,

I will say its the shyness and a feeling of little insecure what will others think if I do this. U have to move with the clouds to survive and all you need is day today pep talk of whatz happening from latest fahion to sport, movies and little to hear and keep our mouth shut when people gossip. Coz sometimes u never know who hurts from the back invisible. Even a sweet talk make it precise and let others think. Puzzle indeed!!!

Cham said...

Great that u noticed where your skill has to be worked out :)

Uma said...

Sweet talking you say! That's what I needed most. This is such a lovely article Mitr.

Priya said...

You totally stole my words Mitr. I am just what you told, known to be talkative amongst frnds but I hardly speak a word at work :( I know I have to change but it really isn't that easy for me. I keep trying in bits and peices, but it needs to come together. Good luck to us all :)

VEGETABLE PLATTER said...

Nice article, Mitr .. communication is the key .. I too realised it during my PG days n also during campus interviews. People with average skills always get through an interview cuz of the way they communicate .. Better late than never ...

mitr_bayarea said...

Spillay-

Risk Analyst-a? That must have been once heck of a job where you definitely needed sleek communciation skills. Thanks for sharing ur view on this.

Priya- You are right on dot about the pep talk stuff from fashion-movies-sports. Yes, have to be wary of the back stabbers too.

Cham and Uma- Thanks, now I have to work on perfecting this skill.

Priya- yes, as you aptly said, it comes in bits and pieces, but it needs to gel together. Glad to know there is someone else out there struggling to improve in this aspect.

vegetable platter- yes, this skill keeps us going till the interviews and then disappears once we settle down in a job.

Laavanya said...

Mitr.. nice article. I've observed this too at my workplace. One of my colleagues, besides being a very hardworker, also takes the effort to have one to one mtgs with quite a lot of folks (besides just my mgr) every once in a while and it has really helped her. This is even more important because we all work from different locations instead of in the same office.

Aparna said...

Hey Mitr...I guess this applies wherever you are, whether you are an immigrant in some country or fighting it out in your own desh :)
All the best! :D
Except in good old Chennai, it might sometimes be seen as something else if you know what I mean! :)

Krishnan said...

As you rightly said, apart from hardworking, one needs to effectively communicate and "sell" your skills and get noticed. Best of luck Mitr.

mitr_bayarea said...

Laavanya- thanks for sharing ur story, yes, esp. if folks work from different locations it becomes vital to have meetings often.

Aparna- yes, I hear you):

Krishnan- Thanks...

Shankar said...

Quite true.....But the problem is some people tend to take it personal and we might end up helping them for their personal needs frequently, irrespective of our dislike cos we might be bothered about the image we have put up all these days...The same with friends is OK, but professional might end up in some trouble...guess thats where some people do get stuck...But that's where one shld be smart :)

Mansi Desai said...

that's a great writeup gal! and I tell you that being a smooth talker works a lot in your favor; but yeah, it also means suckign up sometimes, which is what I really hate! but you do have to find a balance if you want to climb up the ladder:)

mitr_bayarea said...

Shankar- yes, there may be times when folks take advantage of that nature.

Mansi- thanks, rightly said- one needs to strike a balance if they want to climb up the ladder.