10 Effective Communication Skills for Career Success
Communication is the sharing of information, thoughts or ideas between an individual or group to another. Communication becomes effective when the speaker delivers a message in a way that the recipient can coherently understand. Hence, being able to communicate effectively is one of the most important skills in the workplace. In this article, we discuss the importance of communication, ways to improve your communication and list the top communication skills required in the workplace.
Why are good communication skills important?
Good communication skills are essential to understand others and to be understood. In today's highly competitive environment, recruiters look for candidates who can communicate easily, negotiate confidently and respectfully handle clients. Developing your communication skill is helpful in all aspects of your professional and personal life. Here are some benefits of effective communication in the workplace:
Better career prospects
Increases efficiency and productivity
Resolves conflicts and differences
Builds lasting relationships
Motivates colleagues and employees
Brings about positive changes
Breaks down barriers to communication
What are the top communication skills
It's essential to include the top communication skills recruiters look for in your resume and cover letter. Showcase these skills and demonstrate them in job interviews and your correspondence with recruiters to make a solid first impression. Here are the top communication skills to possess:
Related: 10 Best Skills to Include on a CV
1. Active listening
Active listening is when you pay close attention to what the other person is saying by asking questions to clarify their instructions and summarising their words to confirm your understanding. Instead of focusing on what you have to say, listen closely to what the other person is saying and observe their facial expressions, tone and body language.
Good listening skills are essential when networking, building a relationship with your coworkers and negotiating deals with key clients. It helps you connect easily with people and reduces error. It can also help you resolve conflicts that arise from miscommunication and make you an effective employee and co-worker.
2. Non-verbal communication skills
Nonverbal communication is an important aspect to keep in mind when having a conversation with another person. Non-verbal prompts such as eye contact, tone of voice, facial expression and body posture play an essential role in conveying a message.
When you actively pay attention to what someone is saying, you should also focus on their nonverbal language as it gives cues conveying how the person is feeling. Similarly, you should also be aware of your body language when communicating to ensure that you are conveying appropriate cues to the other person.
3. Written communication skills
Written communication is as significant as verbal communication in the workplace. The ability to convey your written message clearly and effectively is essential. Often, poorly written communication can be confusing and frustrating for readers. This could influence their impression of you. Thus, it's important to be concise and clear in your written communication to show respect to the receiver.
Confidence is an essential skill in the workplace because people are more likely to respond to your opinions and ideas if presented with confidence. Demonstrating confidence will give your colleagues and customers faith in your ability to deliver what you have promised. You can convey confidence through simple actions like maintaining eye contact, using proper voice modulation and keeping a good posture. Confident communication is important not just on the job, but it can immensely help you during the job interview process as well.
Communication is a two-way process, where the ability to give and receive constructive feedback is an important skill. Providing feedback should also involve giving praise. A simple thank you note or saying 'thank you' directly in person can significantly increase their motivation.
An excellent way to learn how to give feedback is to observe and take notes from the feedback others have offered to you. Analyse good feedback that you have received and understand why it resonated with you. Remember to apply their advice in the future. Similarly, when a co-worker gives you feedback, accept it, ask questions if you need more clarification and implement the feedback.
6. Communication method
Selecting a suitable medium of communication from emails, phone calls, letters, instant messaging, online or offline meetings is an important skill. You can identify the best communication method when you consider your audience and the type of information you want to convey to them.
A friendly tone and approach will encourage others to communicate with you. Traits like kindness and honesty can foster trust and understanding when communicating with others. Being thoughtful and keeping an open mind with a positive attitude can help you build meaningful relationships with colleagues, managers and clients.
8. Clarity and conciseness
The importance of good communication skills increases as your career progresses. The ability to speak, listen and write with clarity and conciseness is essential for business communication. Before you start a conversation or type an email, keep in mind the purpose and expected outcome of your correspondence. This will enable you to draft your communication in the simplest way that another person can understand. A clear and concise message should ideally be short, well-worded and straightforward to make it more effective and memorable for your audience.
Being empathetic helps you to understand the emotions of others when communicating with them. This is an essential skill set in both personal and professional life. When you know what the other person is feeling, you can select the right approach and identify the best response. For example, when someone is expressing anger or frustration, you can help acknowledge and diffuse their emotion by being empathetic.
Often, when you respect the other person's ideas and opinions, they will be more open to communicating with you. Respectful communication also implies using your time with another person wisely by staying on topic, asking questions and responding correctly.
When communicating with another person, simple actions like using their name, maintaining eye contact and actively listening can make them feel appreciated. It's essential to avoid distractions when attending online meetings or having a conversation over the phone.
Related: Preparing for the Future of Work
How to improve your communication skills
You can improve your communication skills with experience and practice. Be patient, take small steps, start by identifying your areas of improvement and then practice developing those areas. Here are some ways to improve your communication skills:
1. Observe good communicators around you
Identify professionals, friends and family members who communicate ideas and information with respect, empathy and confidence. Take notes and observe the strategies and resources they use and weave them into your own efforts. Connect with these individuals and ask for their tips on improving communication skills.
2. Ask for honest feedback
Encourage honest feedback from managers, peers and team members to help you understand your areas of improvement. When you know these areas of improvement, you can identify what approach and steps to improve them.
3. Practice improving communication habits
Communication skills are habits that you have developed over the years. You can continually improve these skills by practising and incorporating new habits that will make you a better communicator. It can be simple habits that include learning to maintain eye contact, asking questions, active listening or providing constructive feedback.
4. Undertake training through workshops or classes
There are several online and offline courses, workshops and training programs to help you be a better communicator. These programs may include instructions, roleplay, open discussions and written assignments. You can find workshops with varying lengths of study to suit your learning needs.
5. Be a good listener
To communicate effectively, you have to actively listen to what others have to say. This way you can provide a thoughtful response that shows that you have taken their ideas into account.
How to make your communication skills stand out
Here are few ways to highlight your communication skills in your resume, cover letter and job interview:
1. Match skills in your resume to the job
Analyse a job posting and identify hard and soft skills that are mentioned in the job description. Create a personalised resume and cover letter to match the recruiter's requirements.
2. Communication skills during the job interview
The first way you communicate in a job interview is through how you present yourself. Dress appropriately for the interview and be present 10-15 minutes earlier.
Job interviews are an excellent opportunity to showcase your communication skills to the hiring manager. Be mindful of your non-verbal communication by maintaining eye contact, employing active listening skills and displaying confidence at all times.
3. Continuous learning and improvement
To create a lasting impression in your workplace, continue to learn and improve your communication skills. Whether you are making a presentation or meeting a client, demonstrate excellent communication skills to stand out in your workplace.
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