Effective communication skills are primarily defined by speaking, listening, understanding, and empathizing. How you get your point across to someone will determine how they react to it. The need for effective communication in the workplace is paramount; its absence could lead to lack of clarity among coworkers and jeopardize the progress of a project.
What are communication skills?
In very simple terms, the skills that are utilized when trying to exchange information, are termed as communication skills.
Some examples of communication skills that are vital include:
- Public Speaking
- Active listening
- Stress management
These skills have a significant effect on your performance, advancement of your career, and interpersonal relations that you enjoy with coworkers. Therefore, developing strong and effective communication skills is crucial in being successful in the professional world.
Why Do You Need to Develop Strong Communication Skills?
Having strong communication skills will prove to be helpful in every aspect of your life.
- Being a good communicator opens up your life to new opportunities. Not only does it help in landing more interviews, it also influences your success rate.
- All leaders have to be good at communicating their ideas. You can only inspire others when you possess great communication skills.
- You can boost your productivity and get better at your job by improving your communication skills.
- Communication can help improve the quality of both personal and professional relations.
- You can understand situations better once you get better at communicating. This also improves your problem-solving abilities.
- Your decision-making skills also improve when you become a better communicator.
- Effective communication also ensures that there is no conflict or misunderstanding between people.
Types of communication
Most communication skills can be classified into the following broad categories-
1. Verbal communication: Speaking to someone face-to-face or over a call falls under this category. Verbal communication focuses on tone, pitch, volume, and cadence.
2. Nonverbal communication: When you communicate without the use of words, the communication is termed as non-verbal. It could be through facial expressions, eye contact, body posture, or any other gestures.
3. Written communication: Communicating in the written form through email, memo, contract, etc., fall under this category.
4. Visual communication: Communicating through visual cues such as images falls under a separate category known as visual communication. These visual cues can be really compelling and moving for the right type of audience.s
Communication skills examples
Following are some forms of communication that can be practiced to improve your communication skills-
- Active listening- A lot of people think they are good communicators but actually lack in their listening abilities. You need to be attentive during conversations and focus on what the speaker is saying to make sure that any important information is not missed. Active listeners also have better relationships with everyone, as they are more respectful and empathetic.
- Modify the style as per the audience- Adaptability is one of the most crucial communication skills in the workplace that you should work upon. Every situation requires a different communication style. Make sure you tailor it as per the audience.
- Approachability- Your approachability and kindness will influence the type of relationships you have with your peers. Have a positive attitude, acknowledge others, or smile while they speak. All of these will help you in forming stronger bonds.
- Confidence- Confidence is a highly desired quality in a good communicator. People are more likely to engage with someone who seems more confident.
- Proper feedback- Giving and receiving constructive inputs will help you and others work towards the areas that are lacking in. Being respectful is important while providing feedback.
- Adjust your volume- Your volume and tone is also an important aspect of communicating. Read the room and adjust your volume accordingly.
- Practice empathy- Being empathetic is crucial is important to garner the support of the people you work with. When you acknowledge their sentiments and provide an appropriate response, you can form better relationships with people.
- Being respectful- Allowing others to speak in a group setting, not using harsh language, and diffusing a disagreement properly are all signs of a good communicator.
- Non-verbal cues- Body language occupies a huge portion of the communication. Observe the non-verbal cues that people give away while talking. This could include facial expressions, hand gestures, or eye contact.
- Be responsive- Taking more time to respond than it is necessary is seen as ineffective communication.
Statistics on the Importance of Developing Strong Communication Skills
Some figures that establish the significance of good communication skills in our lives:
- More than 81% of recruiters look for interpersonal skills in a potential candidate. (mba.com)
- Body language comprises 55% of communication, while 7% is occupied by verbal methods and 38% by tone. (Smarp)
- 90% of people are better off finding out bad news rather than being left in the dark.
- 57% of employees complain about getting unclear directions from their superiors. (HR Technologist)
- 82% of people do not think that their boss always tells them the truth. (Forbes)
How to Develop Effective Communication Skills
One can develop effective communication skills with regular practice and being observant. Here are some ways that will help you develop these skills-
- Be an attentive listener.
- Know the audience and adjust the tone accordingly.
- Pay attention to body language.
- Make sure that your message is concise and specific.
- Take notes when listening to keep track of important details.
- Treat everyone with immense respect, even if you disagree with them.
- Have control over your emotions, and do not let them steer the conversation.
Ways to improve your communication skills
Your communication skills can be perfected with practice. You need to assess yourself and find out the areas that you lack. Some ways that will help you in becoming better at communicating are-
- Be a good listener- It is vital to develop your active listening skills when trying to become a better communicator. Do not get distracted when someone else is speaking to avoid risking missing any important information or making the speaker feel disrespected.
- Speak with clarity- Instead of blaming the other person for not being able to understand you, try speaking in the most concise and clear way possible. The clarity will leave no room for any misunderstanding and ensure healthy and open communication.
- Practice empathy- An empathetic communicator acknowledges the concerns of others. Showing concern is one of the best forms of communication that form strong professional relationships.
- Take time to reply- You do not have to respond immediately after listening. Prepare what you're going to say in your head and start speaking only after you have formed a coherent thought in your mind.
- Be accepting- You will not always get the reply that you were expecting. Make sure that you are respectful towards others and consider their viewpoint when communicating with them.
- Observe others- The best communicators are always willing to learn from others. Observe the body language and tone of effective communicators to adopt their style.
- Be ready for constructive criticism- Constructive criticism from a colleague or a friend will help you figure out the areas you lack in. Do not shy away from getting an objective opinion on how you are a communicator from a trusted person.
- Form a habit- Communication skills can be perfected by transforming them into habits. This could include holding eye contact, asking questions promptly, etc. You can get better at these actions by practicing them regularly.
- Take workshops or classes- You can enroll in various online or offline courses that focus solely on developing communication skills in professionals. They use activities such as role-playing, written assignments, group discussions, etc., to improve communication skills.
- Look for communication opportunities- This applies to opportunities both at and outside of work. You need to look for situations that will help you in developing your communication skills.
Communicating effectively in the workplace
Effective communication in the workplace is crucial for the hassle-free conduction of daily operations. A good communicator is able to form strong professional relationships with the coworker. Here are some methods in which you can improve your communication skills in the workplace-
- Keep the message short and clear- Making the message unnecessarily long and wordy will only confuse the people and cause a delay. Make sure that you communicate in a clear and concise manner. Provide all the necessary information and put your idea forward with clarity.
- Be empathetic- It is important to be considerate of your coworkers’ feelings and sentiments in order to be a good communicator.
- Be assertive- It is crucial to be assertive for effective communication in the workplace to make sure that your goals are met. Being assertive also ensures that people pay attention to you and listen to you. Makes sure that you are respectful while putting your points forward.
- Have a calm demeanor- Communicating without bringing emotions in between can help you get through any form of disagreement or conflict at work. Providing sound reason calmly will help people listen to you even during arguments. Knowing how to disagree without being mean or disrespectful is a trademark of a good communicator.
- Pay attention to your body language- You should also pay attention to non-verbal cues when trying to communicate with people. Observe the facial expressions and other small movements to find out what others are trying to communicate.
How to highlight communication skills
As much as it is important to possess great communication skills, it is also vital to know how to highlight these skills in order to advance your career.
- Communication skills to include in a resume: A well-crafted resume itself conveys the candidate's ability to communicate effectively. Make sure you get rid of any grammatical or spelling errors in the resume to form a good first impression. The skill section of the resume should include some strong communication skills that you possess.
- Communication skills to be included in a cover letter: A cover letter is another great opportunity to put forth your communication skills. You can use it to convey how good you are at communicating with the employer. Cover letters also provide a chance of forming a good first impression. Make sure that you keep it clear, concise, and accurate.
How to use your communication skills for the job interview
Every step of the job interview process is an opportunity to showcase your communication skills. How you present yourself, how well-dressed you are, and your confidence are all going to reflect on your communication skills. Make sure that you show up to the interview before time and actively listen to the interviewer.
The way you communicate with others can be improved with regular practice. Your body language also carries a significant role in displaying your communication abilities. Incorporating professional communication skills in your life will help advance your career and expand your professional network.