Last week I posted tip #1 on becoming more employable: the infographic résumé. Continuing along with the theme of “how to become more employable”, today’s focus is communication. More specifically, the dying art of face-to-face communication. More specifically, like, actually talking to other humans with our mouths.

I don’t care what job you have or what job you are applying for. Anytime you are applying for a position in an organization in this millennium, you are applying to be a public representative of that company. Don’t believe me? In any social setting, what’s the first question people ask you? It’s “So, where do you work?” Great communicators have a massive advantage over poor ones when applying for a job. Ask any interviewer.

Want to become more employable? Improve your real-life conversation skills. Yes, I realize that your last witty comment on facebook got 27 likes; but, you don’t have an hour to come up with something clever to say in the real world. So, how does one improve communication skills? Here are 5 practical tips:

1. Join a Toastmasters club

2. Take a Dale Carnegie course.

3. Read How to Win Friends & Influence People.

4. Think of someone whom you consider to be a great communicator. Take him or her to lunch. Don’t quiz this person about communication tips. That’s weird. Just talk. Conversing with good communicators on  a regular basis will train you by osmosis.

5. Read How to Talk to AnyoneDisclaimer: I haven’t read this book; but, I’ve heard good things. It can’t hurt, right?

Yes, admitting that you could be a better communicator is humbling. Yes, working to become a better communicator can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Yes, you will be entering the world of my fellow nerds. If you want to get better you’ll have to get over all of that.

Challenge: do these 5 things this year. You will be an exponentially better communicator next year. Are you thinking of someone in your organization who is a lousy communicator? Pay for him or her to do this stuff. Give it a shot. It can’t hurt, right?