No matter what job you take, no matter what industry you’re in, one thing remains certain: you will work with other people. While there are jobs out there that definitely have very minimal social contact, most jobs require you to work and collaborate with multiple people. To effectively do your job, not only do you need to have good technical skills, but also the social ability to communicate with others well.
But are communication skills really that important? Or is just talking to people enough to get you by?
The simple answer is yes, communication skills are important.
The longer answer is yes, it is, because it is the foundation of other skills that you need to excel in almost anything, especially in excelling in a position. The thing is, communication skills are not just ‘talking to people’. No, it’s a lot more complex than that. Having great communication skills is needed when you want to:
After all, we follow those who can convey their ideas well, those who can interact with us and understand our plight, and those who inspire us to move forward. All of these require communication skills.
Collaborate with others efficiently.
If you want to improve your company’s efficiency and productivity, one of the easiest and most sensible solutions to look at first is how each employee interacts with each other. Good communication promotes efficient collaboration, ultimately increasing your overall productivity.
Sell More Products.
Let’s face it, selling something is simply just one form of communication- one that targets a specific outcome. Niche companies like acquisition groups that buy and sell your audiology practices, for instance, would greatly benefit from strong communication skills. They would have to be both persuasive and influential to guarantee the best outcome for their would-be clients or partners.
Now that we’ve established how helpful communication skills are in the workplace, the next challenge is how to improve them. Of course, as with many skills, it’s a continuous process and there is no definite end goal for improvement. It might take months or even years to be fully capable in one aspect, and that simply means there’s no better time to start than now. Here are a few reminders to help you get started in improving:
We often think we’re ‘listening’ to people when in truth, we’re just ‘hearing’ their words and waiting for our turn to speak. This is far from good communication, as communication is always a two-way street. Listening actively means you are engaged in a conversation, listening intently to the other party, and understanding what they are trying to say.
Active listening begins with patience, not cutting your partner off and waiting for them to finish their sentences. It might sound like such a simple tip but it goes a long way. This way, we don’t miss out on their important points. It’s also important to ask follow-up questions, clarifying their points and making sure you heard them correctly.
Be Clear, Concise, and Precise
Whenever we’re talking, we easily assume that the other person will understand what we mean. However, with the many factors involved in communication, a clear understanding is not always immediate. It’s easy to ramble endlessly without meaning to do so, especially in topics we’re particularly passionate about.
Make it an effort to be clear and precise with your words. Don’t be afraid to be direct with your wishes, but don’t be rude either. It’s better to say something outright than suffer the consequences later, what’s important is you phrase it as diplomatically as possible. This ensures that there will be no misunderstandings, and makes your intentions clear to the other party. Try your best to use simple words too, while using complex jargon might make you look smart, you run the risk of alienating the other person. Unless the other person is well-versed in the same technical field you’re in, speaking concisely and succinctly will make you easier to understand.
While it’s understandable to be nervous about many things, especially in situations where’s there’s a looming pressure on your performance, being confident is vital to good communication. Nobody likes hearing other people second-guess themselves half the time, and hearing other people doubt themselves makes the listener doubt the speaker as well.
Confidence is a difficult topic to breach, but we can start by looking at where confidence grows: preparation. Preparing properly and equipping yourself with the tools needed to tackle problems will help you become more confident. When making a speech, or doing a sales pitch, you will feel a lot more confident in yourself if you’ve prepared all the materials necessary beforehand. Start there: prepare and practice, and confidence will soon follow.