The Key To Landing A Promotion
Getting a promotion at work or even a new job comes down to how well you communicate. So many people get hung up on the technical elements of role forget that being promoted comes down to establishing successful relationships.
Communication, or lack of it, is the number one reason things go pear shaped in both professional and personal relationships. Understanding why this happens is the key to a successful promotion.
Great communicators get promoted
Ever been in a situation where a colleague has been promoted and you are livid? It should have been you that got the job, after all you are better qualified and have more experience.
This happens more times than you know because the decision makers base their decisions on personality and the ability to communicate. Here’s an example.
A young lady had been working in hospitality for 5 years, was highly qualified, in fact more qualified than her boss. She wanted to become a manager. Unfortunately, she was moody, often snapped at her colleagues, on occasion late for work, didn’t set a good example. All qualities that did not stand her in good stead with others. By contrast her boss with less qualifications, was a good people manager, remained cool under stress and was excellent at training and developing others. Even more important she was respected by her bosses, the ultimate decisions makers who promoted her to that position in the first instance.
The moral of the story is, no matter how good your qualifications are or how much experience you have, if you can’t communicate well and get on with others, you will stagnate in your job.
Communication is complex?
How we communicate is just as important as what we communicate.
Professor Albert Mehrabian of the University of California conducted research about how people communicate. He concluded that people communicate in three ways; the words we use, the tone of our voice and through our body language but not equally.
- Words alone (What we say) makes up only 7% of the communication process
- Vocal tone (How we say it) makes up 38%
- And Body language (What we do) contributes 55%
Staggering isn’t it that our words only make up 7% of all our communication skills.
What this means is if you say to your boss or colleagues “can I help you?” but your body language and tone says something else, the person receiving the message may interpret your word as “go away you are wasting my time.”
Unfortunately, most people in the workplace don’t develop exemplary communication skills, they don’t see the relevance. Instead they focus on the technical side of their role and forget that in order to be promoted, you need communication skills beyond qualifications and experience.
Email and Texting Disasters
Ever been in a situation where you sent someone an email and it was interpreted the wrong way? They fired off a response and cc’d everyone they could think of to prove you were wrong including your boss! Before you know it, it turns into an online disaster (for you). That’s because it’s difficult to build tone and body language into an email. Texting is no different and it’s this lack of tone and body language that leads to a message being misinterpreted.
Your tone, pitch, speed, quality and the volume of your voice leaves the message you are sending open to interpretation which might not be how you intended the message to be received.
Personal and professional relationships are always best built in person or at the very least, over a phone rather than through text or email.
Building a great relationship with your boss, direct reports and colleagues percolates upwards to the decision makers. When it comes to time to considering employees for promotion, those who communicate well and have the best relationships get considered first.
Understanding how the communication process works, is the key to building successful relationships and getting promoted.
The Communication Process
The communication process consists of a person sending a message (you) and a person receiving a message (your boss, direct reports and colleagues).
WHEN beginning the communication process, you ENCODE your message, which is to think about what you are going to say. You then SEND your send your message to your boss, direct reports or colleagues at approximately 100 – 150 words per minute
They receive your message at approximately 500 – 600 words per minute. That’s a big difference in the rate your message is sent compared to the rate the message is received.
Somewhere in between your message being sent, and the message being received, the message is FILTERED according to the other person’s view of the world. They then DECODE your message which is their interpretation of the message you sent.
This may not always be the interpretation you wanted or intended. You only know how your boss, direct reports and colleagues interpreted the message by how they respond back to you.
They then DECODE your message which is their interpretation of the message you sent.
Their response (fear, irritation, happy, sad, hurt, angry, curt, confused etc) gives you FEEDBACK on how they interpreted your message to them.
Only then do you know if your message has been received in the manner in which it was intended.
When receiving a message, whether its face to face, via email text, video, you receive approximately 2 MILLION BITS of information per second through all of your five senses – what you see, what you hear, touch, taste and smell.
However, your brain can only process 134 BITS of information per second. This is a huge difference between the message being sent and what you can actually process. So much of the message has to be filtered down from 2 million to 134 bits per second so the brain can cope.
Therefore, what happens is, the message is FILTERED by either deleting the parts you think are not important or deleting information you don’t feel is relevant. You might even distort other parts or generalize the data according to your memories, the past decisions you’ve made, your personal experiences, attitude, values and belief system.
The same message sent to multiple people will be interpreted differently according to which 134 bits of information that passes through their internal filters.
This is why witnesses have differing accounts of what happened at the same event, because they filtered what happened in their own unique way.
If the brain can’t possibly take in two million bits of information at once you have to wonder exactly which 134 bits of information your boss, direct reports or colleagues will take in when you are communicating with them.
What happens after the filtered message is received by the brain, the 134 bits of information per second people choose to take in creates an INTERNAL MAP. Their internal map is how they interpret a message.
Your boss, direct reports and colleagues internal map is a culmination of all the people who influenced them and the different experiences they’ve had throughout their life.
After filtering the information and forming an internal map, your messages will create an INTERNAL STATE of emotion such as fear, anger, irritation, happiness, excitement, resistance or any other emotion your message might trigger because of their memories and past associations.
A particular look or word from you could trigger an inappropriate response which may not have anything to do with you – it might be that look, or a word that relates back to a bad experience they had as a child.
Their emotional state then triggers a RESPONSE which leads them to behave in a certain way towards you.
If the way you communicated triggers a bad experience with your boss, direct reports or colleagues, they might withdraw from the communication process altogether and walk away. Even worse, if that experience is a bad one, they may begin to bad mouth you to others who are willing to listen to them. IF that happens, this response can get back to the decisions makers when it comes time for promotions.
It’s not so much what you say, its how you say that triggers an emotional response in others.
Communication is the key to getting promoted
Communication is the key to getting promoted because relationships are everything.
When planning your own career path, building relationships at every level of the organization is critical to your future success. Building rapport, learning to communicate well and get your point across without giving offense, are ways to get noticed.
Never underestimate the word of your boss, direct reports or colleagues. News of your communication style will soon filter upwards to the decision makers. They too will interpret the messages received according to their view of the world and their internal map and make their decisions accordingly.
On a Final Note
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