Employers often say that the thing they value the most in employees is good communication skills.
But why are good communication skills important in the workplace?
They can help you:
- get a job
- have good relationships with your boss and co-workers
- get a promotion
What are good communication skills?
Doesn’t everyone know how to communicate?
Well, yes. Everyone communicates in some way or another.
But they don’t always do it well.
Good communication skills are a “soft skill“.
Soft skills are also called people or interpersonal skills. They are what you use to interact with people in a positive way and they are essential in the workplace.
If you are communicating well, you will be able to adjust your style according to your audience. You will listen closely. You will understand information, passing it on to other people accurately and clearly.
How do we communicate in the workplace?
In today’s workplaces, people share information by:
- Writing – emails, text messages, letters, corporate social media platforms and instant messaging
- Talking – meetings, on the phone, presentations
- Body language – when you’re meeting with someone or speaking to an audience
Five ways to improve your communication skills
- Body language: Smile and make eye contact. Don’t fold your arms. Lean in to show you’re listening. Standing up straight will also help boost your confidence.
- Expect success: You might be nervous if you’re preparing to talk to a group of people or a manager. Instead of focusing on what could go wrong, ask what could go right. What if they like your idea? What if you nail the presentation? This will help turn your nervousness into excitement.
- Listen: The better you listen, the better you can communicate. Before you respond, make sure you’ve heard and processed what someone is saying. This is active listening. Once you’ve done this, repeat back what the speaker has said. This tells them you’ve understood and care about what they said. This is the second part of active listening.
- Match the message to the medium: You can’t rely on email or text messages all the time. Texts are good for simple messages and email can be more efficient than organising a meeting. But if you’re not sure or you have something complicated to talk about, do it in person. Body language and other cues will make it easier to avoid confusion.
- Know your audience: Match your tone and style to the person you’re talking to. For example, is it your boss, a client, a co-worker? Bear in mind that people have different preferences for the way they like to communicate.
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