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Why Good Communication is a Miner’s Best Career Building Tool

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Smart miners are learning that building strong communications skills and developing the relationships that go along with that, is the sure ticket to a fulfilling and successful mining career. No matter whether you’re just trying to get your foot in the door, get that career-changing promotion or growing your stocks in a major mining corporation.

I recently had the pleasure of communicating with Mick Gerrard on the Full Production podcast. Mick is Business Development Manager at the global mining services powerhouse Intertek based in Perth. As a guy who has spent much of his working life around chemistry labs and mine sites, you’d think that communication probably wasn’t his strong suit. His career journey that has gone from strength to strength proves otherwise, and his words of wisdom on the subject are well worth a listen.

Your career is built on good relationships

A good part of this whole communication and relationship-building thing is simply about taking an interest in people. It’s not about being fake or self-serving. Mick puts it like this, “I’m always interested in what people do, where they come from and how they got from where they were to where they are now. That really intrigues me.”

It’s this kind of natural approach that has served Mick well throughout his career and has led him on a path from Brissy schoolboy with an interest in chemistry to mines across the world from New Zealand to Perth to Africa. All along the way he’s made and developed the relationships that have taken him on to the next step of his journey – right up to where he is now as Business Development Manager at Intertek where good communication and relationship building are essential business tools.

Good relationships are built on good communication

In business, as in all parts of life, it’s the capacity to build strong relationships that enable you to have the tough conversations, and it’s the tough conversations that enable solutions to be found and problems solved.

It’s a skill that Mick puts to use every day in his business life dealing with the sometimes-demanding needs of major mining companies, “Like any good marriage, you’ve got to have communication. If you don’t have communication, there’s going to be a breakdown,” he says. At the high levels of the mining industry where Mick operates, a breakdown in communication could have devastating effects for both parties.

Good communication starts with asking the right questions

Mick also puts a great deal of effort into face-to-face communication, if it’s possible. His belief is that you just can’t interpret issues over the phone like you can when you’re looking someone in the eye. You just can’t pick up the nuances and the visual signals that can be so important.

Being face-to-face is a great start, but even more important is asking the right questions. Naturally, those questions are going to vary from conversation to conversation. Asking the right questions is also a skill that evolves over time and as relationships develop. A great place to start is by getting to know the person. It’s about getting into the mindset of thinking, no, it’s not about what I know; it’s about who I’m doing it for. And the better you’re able to have those tougher conversations, the stronger that relationship is going to be.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Mick Gerrard here.