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Traits For Success: The 4 C’s

by Sarah Wilkinson, Class of ’17

Dear Future Professionals,

A lot of good C-words describe traits for success–communication, connection, can-do attitude. But here we’re focusing on four less obvious traits: charisma, comedy, confidence, and creativity.

Champlain College

Senior Game Show, 2015. Photo by Stephen Mease


We’ve listened to speakers who have grabbed our attention with their voice, the way they spoke, their involved body language and expressive faces. These people had great charisma, and it’s a good skill to have. Speaking well is beneficial in interviews, at networking events, and someday, while working with clients. The good news is, even if you don’t think you’re a naturally gifted speaker, it’s something you can practice. Practice presentations several times before the big day, focusing on a different piece of your performance – tone, body language, content delivery – with every time around. For the last time through, bring it all together. You can also watch and study TED Talks or attend events and watch how those speakers captivate their audiences.


Having a good sense of humor is helpful no matter what industry you’re planning on working in. When disaster strikes, being able to laugh about it before taking a deep breath and diving in to fix the problem creates more satisfying work environments. If you’re happier at work, you’re probably producing more results, and that means your boss is happy too.  In an interview, employers will notice whether or not you have the ability to laugh at yourself or at the negative situations that pop up, and in many cases, this could be a factor in their hiring decisions Learning how to be funny is a bit harder than learner how to speak well, but observing comedians or putting yourself in situations where you’ll interact with other funny people will surely bring out the funny in you. One key to good comedy is…


Being comfortable in your skin is important for your performance in a job. If you aren’t comfortable, others might perceive you as untrustworthy or uninterested, and the last thing you want to is to send the wrong message to your co-workers and boss. Be confident. Stand tall, make eye contact, speak loudly (but don’t shout!) and when you have something to say, speak up. Believe in the validity of your ideas and when others don’t take them well, brush it off and continue. Believing in your abilities makes others want to believe in them too.

Champlain College

Senior Game Show, 2015. Photo by Stephen Mease


The final skill is creativity. This can take many forms – art, writing, problem-solving, brainstorming ideas, product design, and so much more. Employers are looking for people who have the ability to look at a box of junk and see the bigger picture of what those pieces could create. You don’t have to paint still-lifes or write a novel to be creative. You just have to let your imagination roam around for a bit so it can come back with an idea that might solve that problem your client is having, or whatever the case may be. You can practice being creative by relaxing into an activity you did when you were younger – coloring or scribbling on paper. Where do your thoughts go? What ideas are vying for your attention?

These aren’t the only skills that make up successful people; there’s no one right formula. The best plan of action to becoming a successful future professional is embracing the traits you know you have and utilizing them to your maximum advantage while working on traits you want to improve.

Sources: Peer Into Your Career