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Employers in every industry across the globe are struggling to find employees who have the right skills to meet their needs. In fact, as a 2017 survey from ManpowerGroup found, 40 percent of global employers report talent shortages, which is a two percent increase since 2015.

When it comes to the competitive field of sports marketing jobs and internships, you can’t risk lacking a single necessary skill. This is especially true when it comes to communication skills. In fact, our 2017 survey found that 30 percent of employers rank communication as their most desired soft skill.

Even someone with the right history and experiences will lose out on a job if they’re lacking in the communication department.

Let’s take a look at the communication skills you need for sports marketing jobs:

Writing

As a job seeker, you need to know how to express yourself and define your value to employers in the written word. However, as a marketer, you will be doing a lot of writing for your clients, so this skill is vitally important for the sports marketing job search.

In fact, defining value and clearly expressing it is a major part of sports marketing jobs, which is why you need to refine your writing skills now. Go beyond ensuring spell check has caught your errors and work on the skills needed to express and evoke emotions.

For example, if you find a position in brand management, you’ll be tasked with developing a strong brand voice and spreading awareness through all kinds of content, including blogs, ebooks, advertisements, and more. You need to be able to touch people in a unique way that engages them with your brand across various mediums.

The best way to improve your writing skills is by creating writing habits. Simply book time in your day to write for 30 minutes. This can help you find your process of planning, drafting, editing, and formatting. It’s especially beneficial if you publish your work in a blog or as a contributor.

Also, look for online courses for writing. For example, Udemy offers several courses to help you learn copywriting, business writing, and mastering punctuation. Other online course resources include Coursera, Udacity, and edX.

Active Listening

This is vital to strategizing with clients as well as taking direction from leadership. Luckily, it’s a skill you can practice in your everyday life.

Start with friends, family, co-workers, and professors. Let them know you’re listening by taking action when they share a specific detail about something they need, like, or wish would happen.  

Don’t interrupt or lose focus on what someone is saying. When you learn how to defer judgement, you can fully take in the information, then choose the best way to respond appropriately.

Public Speaking

In sports marketing, you’ll need to present important information to clients, reporters, and your colleagues. Therefore, you need to be comfortable in front of people.

Practicing is key, but many people forget the value of it. Devote 10 minutes a day to reading something out loud. Don’t forget to speak slowly, articulate, and above all, breathe.

If you don’t have anybody to practice with, use apps like Orai. You simply record a speech in your phone, then the app gives you insights on your pacing, energy levels, and the number of filler words you use.  

Also, consider joining Toastmasters International, a community of people who practice communication and leadership development. Find a local club and attend some meetings to see if a membership is right for you.

Non-verbal

Non-verbal communication can send negative messages. If you roll your eyes or use erratic gestures, you’ll likely turn people away.

However, if used correctly, it can help emphasize your messaging. Pay close attention to your eye contact, hand gestures, posture, and other kinds of body language when you’re interacting with people on a daily basis.

Whether you’re meeting people at a networking event or talking to a cashier, find opportunities to practice being mindful of how you present yourself to others while you communicate.

For example, if you’re smiling with relaxed arms and a good posture, people will see you as confident and present. But if you’re slouched with crossed arms and shifting eyes, you’ll appear nervous and uncomfortable.

Interpersonal

Interpersonal skills are what tie every other communication skill together. In order to grow in sports marketing jobs, you’ll need to build connections and network with people you’ve never met before.

As a sports marketer, you should understand how to interact with many different groups of people. This includes sales reps, clients, and journalists, all with varying personalities and backgrounds.

Everybody responds differently to communication, and you need to learn how to adapt to others’ personalities. For example, when you interact with introverts, you will need to know that their silence during a conversation isn’t them being rude. That’s just how introverts respond; they process information slowly to develop the right response, whereas extroverts tend to think out loud.

Get out and start networking now with a wide variety of people. Work on building relationships, understanding their points of view, and inserting your own without being offensive.

Communication skills are essential to every career in sports, but they’re especially valuable when you’re searching for sports marketing jobs and internships. No matter where you are in your career, start becoming a better communicator today.

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