Opportunity Knocks
This quote by Legendary UCLA Head Coach John Wooden really says it all.

Take it from a man who won an unprecedented 10 NCAA national championships, seven of those consecutive, in 12 years.

Regardless of where you are in your career, preparation is key. The best thing you can do for your career is prepare for every opportunity, because when opportunity comes, you have to be ready to jump.

Think about your skills. What are your strengths, and in what areas are you struggling? For me, it was always public speaking. The spoken word is, perhaps, the most powerful communication tool in modern society. Making the proactive choice to overcome that obstacle was a pivotal point in my career, and prepared me for other opportunities down the road.

Many young professionals are plagued by fear of public speaking, just as I once was. However, public speaking skills have become a necessity for many industries over the last few years. Especially with the advent of streaming video and social media. Google Hangouts are becoming a collaborative business tool. What better way to position yourself as a confident thought leader than with modern media. Be a first adopter and embrace this technology now.

Now, this is not to say that you need to be prepared to speak in front of dozens, or even hundreds of people right off the bat – starting small is key.

Odds are, you will be speaking to a relatively small group of colleagues or clients more often than a lecture hall or on a Google Hangout. However, understanding that public speaking is a priceless tool in the professional world is what’s most important, because understanding that allows you to broaden your skills, ultimately propelling your career forward.

Now ask yourself, “Do I project confidence?” When you speak to a crowd of people, it is imperative that you do so with a confident demeanor and tone of voice, otherwise you run the risk of your messaging falling on deaf ears. Organize your thoughts and your key points so that your audience understands the purpose behind your presentation. Becoming a confident, engaging speaker can do wonders for your career growth and development. In Accelerated Professionals, we call it the “Journey to One”.

You also need to exude confidence in other facets of your career, including interactions with colleagues or your supervisor. You will not be granted new, prosperous opportunities if your peers believe you lack the confidence to get the job done. Adapting a confident mindset is invaluable when it comes to earning the respect of your colleagues and superiors because they will value your opinion. Have you ever had to persuade a co-worker or supervisor? For some, that is a more daunting feat than speaking in a room of strangers. Why? We as professionals aren’t just self-conscious about weaknesses in our career persona. It requires a confident attitude, and the skill set to back it up.

Most people’s biggest fears is being told “No” or handling objections. If you can master this, you can accomplish anything. Part of our curriculum in Accelerated Professionals is handling objection. We even show you how to create opportunity by being prepared for objection. If you have objections, you know there is opportunity to overcome them and win over your audience.

If companies want to achieve heightened performance, they need the personnel to do so. Communication between superiors and subordinates is critical to achieving that end. Consider the last time you had a conversation with someone you work with – did you exchange opinions on a project or course of action? Did they value your input? If you’ve ever had the opportunity to actively participate in a discussion with your colleagues or supervisor, then you understand that making a lasting impression means being assertive and articulate.

When considering if you are adequately preparing for new, promising opportunities, ask yourself one final question – would you promote you? Oftentimes, it is difficult for professionals to see areas for growth until they take a step back and evaluate their professional performance from an outside perspective. That’s why we video while our students present in class. Consider your strengths, acknowledge your weaknesses and identify key areas of improvement. If you have areas that you believe lack finesse, know that you can turn to experienced guidance to help you further develop your professional persona.

That’s what we do at Accelerated Professionals (acceleratedprofessionals.com). We offer young professionals the opportunity to further develop key aspects of their career, so that they can achieve heightened work performance, getting them to their goals faster. By building on valuable assets, such as public speaking and a stalwart corporate confidence, we help you cultivate a skill set that will allow you to jump the next time opportunity comes knocking.