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CAREER

Surprising Ways to Build Your Workplace Skills

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· We suggest some unlikely outlets that offer fun and creative ways to buff up your professional skills.

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Acting, storytelling, drinking tea…at first glance, these activities might seem unrelated to the workplace. But in fact, they offer huge benefits for career development. From improving your public speaking technique to managing day-to-day stress, we outline some surprising ways to develop future-proofed skills required in a modern workplace.

Improve your business communication skills…through drama lessons

The difference between a good and bad presentation often comes down to the presenter. Confidence, flair, and charisma can transform a budget report from snooze central to snappy success. Psychologist Albert Mehrabian famously deduced that almost 90 per cent of communication happens non-verbally – that is, through body language and tone of voice. By harnessing the power of acting lessons, you can build confidence, and learn how to pitch your tone and cadence for powerful speeches that will dazzle your audience at the next presentation. Theatre-based training courses like the one at HKU Space will help you up your professional communication skills.

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Improve workplace collaboration...with role play

Another part of theatrical training is assuming a new identity. Getting into character requires thinking from someone else’s perspective: understanding different motivations and how this affects feelings and actions. Off-stage, this ability will help you to become a natural empath and a better team player, improving your relationships with colleagues and helping you navigate potential conflicts. Look out for events like TBC HK’s improv workshops to learn the basis of role playing and explore how it can be applied to improve teamwork.

Gaining influence with others…by telling stories

Sometimes it’s not about what you say, but how you say it. A master storyteller knows how to keep an audience hanging on every word by conveying emotion, creating suspense, empathising with characters and leaving people wanting more. In a workplace, these subtle oration skills will help you win friends and influence people. Whether it’s a client or a teammate, developing your command of the spoken word will help you share your message in a more memorable and convincing way. Practise your storytelling skills – and have fun while giving back to the community – by volunteering at Bring me a Book, an NGO that facilitates opportunities to read to children.

Handle workplace stress…by drinking tea

In Japanese culture, tea ceremonies are a meditative practice. On the outside, it’s an excuse to enjoy a peaceful beverage and polite conversation – but in reality, there are complex lessons on etiquette, mindfulness and conversational prowess to be observed. Mastering the art of tea requires discipline, a calm disposition and respectfulness to others, no matter the situation. Immerse yourself in the ceremonial rites via an online course, then reap the benefits as you handle work stress like a Zen master. Crazy deadlines, demanding clients and difficult tasks will all seem much more manageable once you've learnt how to calm your mind and stay focused.

Still need an extra little push? Find some motivational tips to keep you going through it all!
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