Why Are Communication Skills So Important?

Why Are Communication Skills So Important?

By Sam Channells

How you communicate with people in your workplace is critical to success in your job. With remote working becoming the norm these days, the ability to engage with people has never been so important.

You have no doubt been reminded of the value a strong communicator can add to a workforce. Excellent communication skills are critical in your ability to build valuable networks, resolve conflicts and manage challenging and stressful workplace situations.

Effective communication skills help you understand your peers, and superiors as well as expressing yourself. They enable you to convey complex ideas, engage audiences, drive action and ask for help or support when stress arises. A strong communicator will also have the ability to explain tasks, projects and meeting content succinctly. This helps people understand exactly what is needed and keeps people accountable to consistently meet deadlines.

The improvement of effective communication skills depends largely on being confident and believing there is value in what you have to say. Learning how to improve your confidence is key to your ability to enhance this critical skill.


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Different Mediums of Communication

Traditionally, there are three different mediums of communication; verbal, non-verbal and written. Being a great communicator requires a tailored approach depending on what medium you are using. It is important that you are able to alter your communication style depending on the situation and the people whom you are engaging with. Here are some specific situations and how to tailor your approach to them:

Online

For the most part, this will involve talking with internal and external stakeholders, and collecting information via email. People sometimes have a tendency to approach emailing more casually, but this shouldn’t be the case. Keep the subject line professional, always proofread and spell check your emails, and review your send list to avoid a dreaded “reply-all” where only a “reply” when required. 

 Phone

Demonstrating professionalism along with being clearly spoken and concise will guarantee that the people/person on the other end of the phone understands you which will help achieve successful outcomes. Something to keep in mind is that on the phone you don’t have the benefit of seeing body language or facial expressions so a well-intended joke can easily be lost in translation and in a worst-case scenario potentially be offensive. If you’re on a conference call, always introduce yourself before speaking, and thank people for their time and contributions at the end of the call.

 In-Person

There is no denying that how you engage with an executive in a meeting or present to new clients should differ from how you converse with your colleagues. Know whom you are speaking with, their title and responsibilities, be polite, respectful and always ready when engaging with people more senior than you. Remember that every encounter makes an impression. 

How to Improve

No matter whether you see communication as a personal strength or weakness, there is always room to improve. Taking this soft skill to the next level will help you feel more confident and capable when you need to engage with people. Here are some tips for developing better communication skills:

Don’t be afraid to speak up

Always make an effort to contribute to meetings, project work or reviews by offering your opinion and asking questions, these sessions are designed to be collaborative and invite the thoughts and ideas of the team. Don’t be afraid to speak and tell them how you believe the organisation could improve processes or create more effective ways to generate revenue. 

Ask for help

Actively look for people who have a communication style that you are fond of and make a point of connecting yourself to these people. Whether this is someone that is internal or external to your organisation isn’t critical. Reach out to them and ask for tips on how to improve your own skills.

 Take a course

We live in an age where access to education is everywhere, so you should use it to your advantage. There are an endless amount of courses and formal training programs that are available to help you develop your communication skills.

Don’t get hung up on making mistakes. If you stumble your way through a phone call, send an email with a typo or you get flustered in a presentation, don’t beat yourself up. Improving takes practice and great communication skills aren’t developed overnight. Take small steps, practice regularly and reward yourself for progress, no matter how small. Write down your progress and how you achieved it so you can show how far you’ve come and provide others guidance in the future. 

*Sam Channells is a APAC Customer Success Manager

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