One of the frequent tasks we perform for our clients is to review and edit their resumes.  We work hard to help our clients with their entire brand: what they say, how they look and sound, and what their printed material says about them. Always about the words and more importantly: how the words are presented – whether printed or articulated.

I’ve edited resumes for so long that I automatically know the two “first things” to look for on a resume—and how I can “add value” by pointing out how necessary these missing elements are: What is the applicant’s Career Objective (what are they trying to accomplish in their career; for their prospective employer) and what Quantifiable Data Points can they specify in their career history that helps someone reading the resume understand: What exactly did they accomplish so I’d know if they could truly meet my Objective if I hire them?

It occurs to me that these two key written elements of a resume are also often missing from most of our speech and conversation.  How many times do you make a phone call without truly gathering your thoughts around: “What do I most want to accomplish from this call?” or “Within the first two minutes of conversation, how will I establish enough of a purpose to keep this person on the phone for a deeper conversation?”

And to the point of Quantifiable Date Points: how many conversations have you been a part of recently where no one truly “got to the point?” I’m not talking about a dialogue with your accountant, CFO or engineer who is used to speaking in metrics. I mean: everyday conversations that really tell people: “this is the measurable of what is at stake”; “here are the top 3 things that need to be accomplished before noon”; or “I’ve got exactly 15 minutes before I must move on.”

Think about it: if we were more purposeful in our verbal conversation, just like we intend to be with our resumes, how much more impactful our words would be and how much more would people truly understand the specifics, the things at stake, the true timeframe at hand—and potentially what is at risk.

Challenge yourself for the next three days–before you start a conversation on the phone or in person—to ask yourself:

“What is my objective?” and “What are the specifics—in numbers, days, hours, dollars, tasks, etc.–I truly need to communicate?”

Clarity in conversation could save us not only time, but so much confusion, lost time, misunderstanding. Make your conversation as crisp and purposeful as your resume: clear objectives and purposeful specifics.

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