woman yelling into a loud speaker

Why employers want good communication skills

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

Good communication skills are prized by employers.

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.

I was trying to communicate without words, but it's not working gif

Good communication skills are a “soft skill“.

A what?

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

Little girl asking how may I help you

Five ways to improve your communication skills

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Image sources: iStock, img flip, giphy

3 comments

  1. A great comment you’ve shared Johannes. I wonder if you’ve considered that by practising repeatedly, the experience of building rapport will deepen over time, like with any other skill – from riding a bike, to learning a new trade skill, to building rapport and improving the way we communicate. At first it feels and seems clunky, awkward and maybe embarrassing (consciously we feel incompetent), then after doing it over and over, suddenly we progressively become consciously competent until we are unconsciously competent. I trust that makes sense.

  2. Very good for people with good reading and writing skills but a bit to much for people with limited skills or confidence.

    1. Hi Johannes. You make a good point. Not everybody has the same level of literacy. If you know someone who needs a little help, they can contact the Reading Writing Hotline on 1300 655 506 or go to the website – https://www.readingwritinghotline.edu.au/ to find classes and resources to improve reading, writing and basic maths skills.

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