Saturday Essay: New Year’s Work Resolutions To Enhance Your Professional Development
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At the start of January, many of us are reflecting on the past year, the recent return to remote working, and the opportunities open to us in the year ahead.
Whilst resolutions often revolve around fitness or our personal lives, many set resolutions for the workplace to further our professional development, by building confidence or improving impact and productivity.
Despite 80% of people wanting the option to work from home in the long-run, a RADA Business report, The New Art of Business, found that there are areas in particular that professionals struggle with when working remotely – 35% of workers feel less productive when working from home, and 48% admitted that they feel isolated from their co-workers.
As the virtual and hybrid working culture is set to remain in place, 2022 offers workers a fresh start to set goals to aid their progression and help them to feel more confident navigating this style of working.
For those looking to establish goals for the workplace that will enhance their performance, Katie Lightfoot, Senior Client Manager and Tutor at RADA Business,
shares a range of suggestions for 2022 to help workers thrive in their role and feel more connected with those around them.
Seek Out Career Progression
Opening yourself to new and challenging opportunities can help you to build new skills and create career progression. It can be daunting to ask for more opportunities, which is why building your confidence to approach these conversions should be on your work resolution list this year.
One technique to help equip yourself for seeking progression is to prepare for these conversations. Take time to be clear about the objective of the interaction. Be as specific as possible; short and simple statements, will help you to communicate more clearly and confidently. Try saying your key points out loud to yourself or a friend, to practise your delivery, ensuring they land with impact.
Although hybrid working is now commonplace across many industries, less face-to-face time with your colleagues should not impact your ability to progress your career. Asking for a review meeting, whether in-person or virtually, will help show that you’re confident to take on more responsibility at work.
Build Strong Relationships
One thing virtual working has taught us is the importance of human connection and building relationships with our co-workers. Having a strong relationship with colleagues will allow you to feel more supported in your role by those around you and will also make it easier to approach difficult conversations. The new year is a good time to set goals to improve your working relationships, whether you feel a sense of disconnect from your colleagues or are simply keen to strengthen existing relationships.
To help build these connections, it is important to make the time to talk with your co-workers, whether through a casual chat, or more formal meetings. Throughout your conversations, make regular eye contact to show you are engaged. If you are working virtually, make direct eye contact with your camera and give your full attention to the call, as opposed to working on other tasks at the same time.
If you are in a client-facing role, building a strong working relationship with your clients is also essential as this will allow you to work more effectively together. Making sure to have regular client meetings will help show your commitment and build a more authentic working relationship.
Emotionally Engage your Audience
When preparing to speak, whether in a formal presentation or a regular meeting, we often spend more time focusing on our content – what we’re going to say – rather than the response we want to create – how we want our audience to feel.
Take time to consider who your listeners are and what reaction you want to trigger within them. Do you want to inspire and motive, to reassure, or perhaps to challenge? Being clear about your emotional objective, and fully committing to it, will ensure that your message lands in the way you want it to.
Perfect Your Presentations
If you find presentations daunting, or often feel they lack impact, use 2022 as an opportunity to develop your presentation and communication skills. Whether you’re in a meeting with clients, colleagues, or stakeholders, it is important to be able to present to others effectively so that your key points land with impact.
To improve presentations, remember the mantra: “Think. Breathe. Speak.”
Very often in presentation situations we forget to breathe, jumping straight from thought to speech. This tends to make us rush, it starves us of valuable oxygen, and it doesn’t allow our audience time to digest what we’re saying.
Use the “Think. Breathe. Speak.” approach to create space and time around what you’re saying. It will transform the impact of your message.
If you have recently taken on new responsibilities at work, perhaps through a promotion, set the resolution to be present when facing new challenges.
Image: John Hain / Pixabay
When assuming new responsibilities, perhaps delivering a pitch or meeting senior stakeholders, practise calmly holding your space. Plant your feet firmly on the floor, hip-width apart, ensuring your knees are loose and not locked, and your weight is evenly distributed. Imagine there is a thread pulling you up from the crown of your head, which lengthens your spine, releasing any tension, and a similar thread which runs through one shoulder, across your chest and out of the other, creating width across the body. Maintaining a strong posture will allow you to feel more grounded and focused, enabling you to convey a sense of confidence and authority.
So, as you head into 2022, there are plenty of techniques that you can use at work, whether in-person, or virtually, to help you feel more confident in your role, push for further opportunities and progression within your career, and feel more connected to those around you.
To learn more about RADA Business, please visit radabusiness.com