Communicating my way to success
Joining the Renewals team at Avature was my first job in the corporate world. I was thrilled to start at this new position, but I knew I had a big challenge ahead: I was facing a completely new field of expertise and I wondered if I would be capable of adapting at the speed required by this energetic, fast-paced environment…
Well, I thought it through. There was one thing I already knew how to do, and which had put me in the place I was: communicate effectively. Being a translator, I was used to working with people from several areas of expertise and different cultures, so I knew communication was my greatest strength. And there was one thing I wanted to do: learn. It would be a challenging learning curve, but I wanted to be up to the task. So I decided I was going to combine both things, what I wanted to do and what I already knew how to do, and make the most of my skills to achieve my goal. Here’s how I did it.
First, I listened. I kept my eyes and ears open to collect as much information as I could from anything I read and anybody I spoke to. Every time I talked to a colleague, I made sure I was grasping as much information as possible. I made my listening active. I asked questions. I asked more questions. I know sometimes we might be afraid of asking “silly” questions, but as a colleague always tells me: there are no silly questions. In fact, asking is a way of telling others that you care, that you’re actively listening, and that you want to learn. Besides, two questions are always better than one misunderstanding and they will save you both a lot of time.
Second, I shared. I focused on expressing myself in the best possible way to achieve my goals. To do so, I made sure I had a clear picture in mind of what my purpose was before any interaction, either with colleagues or with clients, and that I was stating it in a direct and concise way. We work in a collaborative environment where we’re always willing to lend a hand, but we still should be respectful of other people’s time. Also, you’ll find that when people know what you want from them, you’re more likely to get the information you need.
And third, I cared. I realized that, when dealing with sensitive topics, we tend to focus too much on the what and forget the how. So I kept in mind that whatever I said could be interpreted in a hundred ways depending on the words I used, thus it could have a million different results.
Don’t forget that, whenever we communicate, we’re dealing with people. No matter your professional background, the industry you’re working in, or the medium you’re using to communicate (over the phone, by email, video call, face to face… wait, does that still exist?), there’s always another human on the other side. And, since every person is different, every conversation is different. Choose your tone accordingly and be kind.
Being empathetic and interacting on a human level was the key to my successful learning journey. A famous Argentinian actress and TV hostess says, “People treat you the way they see you.” I’m not necessarily a fan of hers, but… there might be some wisdom in those words. It’s all about people. That’s the biggest thing I learned.