Do you find impromptu speaking difficult? Are you articulate giving prepared presentations but struggle to “think on your feet?” Many people find this hard. Even when you have plenty to say, organizing it into something coherent can be challenging with no time to prepare.
In a recent job interview, my 21-year-old son was asked to describe a time he had to think “outside the box” in an everyday situation. He said he would need a minute to think. He came up with a work-related example that was not very radical and only partly his idea. It was to do with their pricing strategy, and he admitted it was mainly his boss’s idea. He thought that the interview had gone quite well but was worried about his answer to that question.
He got the job, and I am guessing that his response to that question was fine. They were probably looking at how he acted under pressure rather than what he said. Asking for a minute to think was a good strategy. It showed that he didn’t panic. And he came up with an answer even if it wasn’t a brilliant one.
In 2015, Victoria University of Wellington did an Employability Skills survey to find out what employers are looking for in their graduates, apart from a degree of course! The survey found that the number one attribute (also known as ‘soft skill’) that employers want from graduates is work ethic while verbal communication skills are number two. They rank ahead of analytical and critical thinking (number four) and well ahead of written communication skills (number eight).
Other surveys and experts in New Zealand and overseas have found similar results.
Absolute IT, a New Zealand IT recruitment agency quotes an Absolute IT Job Seeker Insight report which found that tech professionals rate communication skills as the most important skill to get ahead in the workplace.
I get huge satisfaction from seeing the relief, pride, and even joy that people experience when they complete a course and reflect on the progress they have made. See what others say for some inspiring stories.