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What Skills Give You an Edge in the Workplace?

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 
I've recently started trying to widen my skill-base in order to become a better employee. I'm sure there are some avid self-improvement freaks on SF, so what skills have you given yourself? Good books to read?

Mine are mostly people-centric as I'm currently in Sales and going into Marketing and PR when I graduate.

Body Language
The Definitive Book of Body Language - Barbara Pease
Artful Persuasion: How to Command Attention, Change Minds and Influence People - Harry Mills

Sales Technique
Not many good books on this one, but I've personally found a couple of Mentors over the last 3 years who have all been amazing salesmen. Its got to the point where I could conceivable sell almost any idea or product.

Any good resources for further sales technique? There's always more to learn.

Graphology
Generally a bullshit subject, but there are some nuggets of information in there such as the opinions and attitudes of people who have written notes on particular subjects.

Scheduling
Not necessarily a skill so much as a tool. Mostly learned from blogs such as Study Hacks and Steve Pavlina. Its amazing how much more you can get done in one day when you break your day into 1 hour blocks.


So what have you learned, read or wanted to learn thats made you a more successful professional?
post #2 of 62
Networking. Learn how to schmooze, kiss ass, politick, and generally introduce yourself to people with whom you would not have occasion to do ordinary business (higher-ups, way-higher-ups, people in different divisions or departments, and so forth). Best workplace skill of them all. It's not a substitute for doing a good job, despite what popular culture would have us believe. But it's every bit as effective as it's always been. The people who excel at this skill tend to view office politics as a game, and it's a game they like to play. Also, I've noticed that certain types of women tend naturally to excel at this game. It requires a sociability and grace that most men don't have, but which comes easily to many women. Furthermore, women are often viewed as less threatening, less blatantly political, and more charming.
post #3 of 62
I'm good at scheduling and networking, also very diligent, and dynamic. A lot of people in my field have no drive for professional development, and while it's somewhat a selfish goal, I use professional development/what looks good on my CV as the main reason I do workshops/guest lectures or leadership/administrative work. A lot of people don't even consider it, they sit down and do the job written in their contract without spreading out.
post #4 of 62
Thread Starter 
Eason (and anybody else) how did you get into guest lecturing, workshopping or seminars? It is something I want to get to within 10 years as part of my 15 year goal for self employment and business freedom. Have you found being multi-lingual to be of much use in day to day business life?
post #5 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackhood View Post
Eason (and anybody else) how did you get into guest lecturing, workshopping or seminars? It is something I want to get to within 10 years as part of my 15 year goal for self employment and business freedom.

Have you found being multi-lingual to be of much use in day to day business life?

It helps if you've published something or are a specialist in a certain field or topic or skill (or can sell yourself as one). Bonus points for hot topics of the day -- cutting-edge, but not so cutting edge that no one knows what you're talking about.

A great example would be if you worked in marketing at a large firm and had a string of widely noted successes in social media. Everyone in the marketing and advertising community is all about social media, but no one knows what the fuck they're doing. If you had a Midas touch there, with a couple case studies to present, you could easily book some lectures at conferences.
post #6 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackhood View Post
Eason (and anybody else) how did you get into guest lecturing, workshopping or seminars? It is something I want to get to within 10 years as part of my 15 year goal for self employment and business freedom. Have you found being multi-lingual to be of much use in day to day business life?
What DC said, if you're a specialist in an area, then use that. Or, if you're more specialized than the other people you work with, you can do a lecture or workshop on that. Universities are always happy to have guest lecturers- they won't pay you, but if you have some experience that the people there won't be so familiar with, then that's a good chance to add something to your CV and make connections. If you have some specialized experience that you can talk about, then next time you travel somewhere on a trip, contact a local university and ask them if you could give a guest lecture.
post #7 of 62
Being really good at what you do is always helpful. If you are a rainmaker as a salesperson you're walking on water unless you really burn some bridges. Alot of the techniques in those books always seem so transparent to me, I wouldn't think they're reliable, and unless you're completely terrible at being social, they shouldnt be that new to you. Participate in your work community, This is something i dont do nearly as often as I should, but it's good to be seen at work related events.
post #8 of 62
i think i am skilled in team building and getting all of my employees to get along and work together as a cohesive unit
post #9 of 62
I'm skilled at waging subtle campaigns of psychological warfare against my more sensitive co-workers who could conceivably be competing with me for promotions or bonuses.
post #10 of 62
^^

you would be the michael jordan of bloodhounds.
post #11 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by edmorel View Post
^^

you would be the michael jordan of bloodhounds.

post #12 of 62
what I'd like to see more in employees is understanding other people's point of view and needs. that is missing in a lot of people
post #13 of 62
I usually look for a skill set that our company does not have, and then use the compulsory training/professional development policy our company has to fund my training.
post #14 of 62
The best thing you can do at a junior/entry level is:

Make yourself as indispensable as possible.
Make an effort to be liked. I think being "respected" is for the bosses. If you can do both, congratulations but I think at a junior level it's more important to be liked than respected.
Be competent.
Be respectful.
Look outside for yourself first and foremost but respect the needs of your workplace and those around you.
post #15 of 62
dilligence, innate intelligence (i personally think i have above average memory and can pick up concepts pretty quickly), ability to cut through the crap and see the main point (what works and doesn't work). I definately try my hardest to look at things from the other person's viewpoint. sometimes is a tough pill to swallow, but it allows you to grasp some understanding behind their actions/logic. I'm a business analyst so... these fit my jobset well. Things i'm working on: schmoozing (i don't like giving compliments when they're not due), body language (i've heard multiple times that i come off as "intense" but am generally a nice guy once they start talking to me), smiling more. Anything else I can do and general tips for schmoozing?
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