Take an Art Class to Boost Your Non-Art Career (Bonus Points for Techies!)
‘Creative’ and ‘strong communication skills’ are among the most overused words on a LinkedIn profile. In fact, ‘creative’ was the number one overused LinkedIn buzzword of 2011. Instead of wasting time fiddling with your LinkedIn profile to get noticed in the job market, why not invest some time in actually developing your creativity? Doing so will also make you a better communicator. In other words, you'll get two important skills for the price of one!
I completed a college-level art course as a non-creative professional. I got my money’s worth because not only did I improve my painting skills, I quickly learned how to be a better communicator. The strong focus on artwork critique gave me a safe environment to practice giving and receiving feedback.
As you look forward into 2012 and beyond, you may be thinking about how to make yourself more marketable through professional development and learning opportunities. Think about taking an art class to increase your communication skills - especially if you’re an engineer. Weak communication skills are a hot button in all technical fields. Making a concerted effort to improve your communication skills is a great way to stand out as someone worth hiring or retaining. It’s also an effective way to foster productive relationships with your co-workers and manager.
If you're not convinced about taking an art class as professional development, I’ve included some other reasons why you should sign up for one right now.
1. Chances are, your boss is a poor communicator
How will you become a good communicator when you don’t know what good communication looks like? Many people wish their boss would provide timely feedback that they could put into practice immediately. When employees solicit feedback managers often make vague or untimely statements like: "Keep doing what your doing!" or "Your performance wasn't great on that project you completed 6 months ago." You can be sure that your art instructor will give you specific and timely feedback. Because the feedback will be about something concrete, he/she will point and say “these edges need to be smoother” or “use a lighter color in this area of the canvas.” Receiving such specific feedback emphasizes the importance of clear and precise statements that focus on desired behaviors and outcomes as opposed to getting personal.Continued on the next page