Back in college, one of my professors asked the class to name the number one business skill, the very first skill, that we needed to master in order to be a business success. I was an Economics major, and surrounded by other Business majors, so the answers the students offered were predictable. One student suggested that being the number one salesperson was the most important. Another said that a creative marketing plan was the key. The accounting majors were convinced that analyzing financial data was the most important skill. The students continued to recommend skills such as being assertive, managing people and clever advertising campaigns. These skills are very helpful in business but none of the students had offered up the ONE skill that is the most important. The skill that comes before all of them is the ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY.
For me personally, this was an aha moment. The simplicity of the answer surprised me but made complete sense. What use are the other skills if you are not getting your message across? If you do not communicate effectively your marketing efforts will not have good results, you’ll not be an effective salesperson and your ability to manage people will certainly be impacted. The idea that communication is the most important skill is probably truer today than it was in my school days. The enormous information overload that we experience in our modern world makes the ability to communicate even more critical. When I first opened up my travel agency in 2012 as part of preliminary research for a custom trip, I googled “Rome, Italy” and got 40,000 results. This morning, that same search produces 395,000,000 results! The volume of information that is out there for us to access is staggering.
How will your message get through the noise? Will you reach your target audience and will they hear you?
Sheryl Van Aken is the founder of the Enterprising Moms and runs a travel agency in Milton, GA, called Van Aken Travel-Dream Vacations. She specializes in cruises of all kinds whether it be individual leisure trips or large groups who cruise together. She is a certified event planner through Emory University and the Cruise Line International Association.
Sheryl has way too many hobbies which include becoming a jewelry designer through the New York Institute of Art & Design, paper crafting with Stampin’ Up!, indoor rowing and enjoys her tenure as a band mom and general cheerleader for her kids. She has 4 great children and is happily married to her husband Mike for over 20 years,