Communication is the act of conveying meaning by the use of mutually recognised signs, symbols, and semiotic rules from one person or group to another. This is a simple definition of communication according to Wikipedia. Majority of the employees today think that writing or designing or coding or whatever job title they have is the most important thing they only need at work but this is not true. Communication is essential. Whatever the case, the success of each company depends on the capacity of the team to interact effectively and constructively. This is because, without the ability to communicate with each other, the employees will not be in alignment.
Communication is very important now and in the future of work especially since companies and products are getting more complex daily. Caroline Fairchild who is the LinkedIn’s Managing News Editor explained that “In both developing and advanced economies… doing jobs that require human interaction (such as teachers and managers) will become more in-demand, while physically demanding jobs or work that requires processing data (like accountants) will fall by the wayside.” The example she gave demonstrated how important communication is in the future of work and why you should ensure you can say the right things, using the right tone of voice and body language to deliver a message.
69% of managers say they are uncomfortable interacting with staff, according to a report in Harvard Business Review. When you turn the tables, we can only conclude the number is even higher. The image below shows the statistics according to Harvard Business Review and this is an issue which needs to be addressed for one to stay relevant in the future of work. Historically soft skills such as communication have been set aside as something we would just only learn how to do. Yet more and more it’s obvious that we need to learn consciously how to communicate effectively to do our best work. According to Ann Mehl, an executive coach who has worked with companies lick Etsy and Kickstarter, “Good interpersonal skills are correlated with higher degrees of resiliency, satisfaction and higher productivity.”
Why communication skills are important?
Communication is an important skill for professionals and it is important because:
- It helps employees to establish and encourage good working relationships among themselves and their clients
- It helps employees to contribute to increasing the efficiency of teams and organisations
- It helps to create a generally positive work environment
With communication being at the heart of every organisation, good reading, writing, speaking and listening skills are essential if the tasks and goals are to be completed and achieved. This skill is not only important to the professional employees but it will help you to:
- Secure interviews – good communication skills are needed to ensure your application letter is read and acted upon
- Advancing your career – communication on your thoughts of how the processes and products or services can be improved will help you advance your career
- Getting a new job – good communication during an interview is essential
- Doing a job well – requesting for information, discussing problems, giving instructions, working in teams, interacting with colleagues and clients requires good communication skills
- Be well understood – good communication skills will enable you to explain ideas to others in ways that make sense and are very easy to understand
- Understanding others well – this is important as it is an ability to listen to what others have to say
Ways to improve communication skills
It was disclosed in a survey conducted by Workforce Solutions Company that more than 60% of employers claim that candidates do not show adequate communication and interpersonal skills to be considered for employment. Therefore, universities should not neglect teaching soft skills as these are valuable for their students to fit and thrive in the professional world. The good thing is that the communication skill is a soft skill which can be learnt by doing it ad actively practising it every day. There are different ways you can practice to improve your ability to effectively communicate with others. These are:
- Listening – Being a good listener is key to being a good communicator. Practising active listening is crucial-pay careful attention to what others say and explain ambiguities by rephrasing their questions for better comprehension.
- Conciseness – Convey the message with the fewest possible words. Do not use terms for filler and get right to the point. Rambling can cause the listener to tune out or be confused about what you’re talking. Stop talking too much, and do not use terms that can confuse the audience.
- Body language – When interacting with others, it is important to use good body language, use eye contact, use hand gestures and watch the tone of voice. A calm, tone-friendly body posture can help to make you appear approachable to others. In communication, eye contact is crucial-look at the person in the eye to show that you are concentrating on the conversation. But make sure the person isn’t stared at as it may make him or her uncomfortable.
- Confidence – Be assured in what you are doing and in your connections with others in conversation. It can be as quick to be comfortable as maintaining eye contact, maintaining a relaxed body posture, and speaking with conciseness. Seek to stop making comments sound like questions, and not sound offensive or demeaning.
- Open-mindedness – In circumstances where you disagree with what another person has to tell, whether it’s with a boss, a co-worker or a relative, it’s necessary to sympathize with their point of view rather than just seek to get your message across. Value others ‘views and never resort to demeaning those who disagree with you.
- Respect – Respect for and understanding of what others have to say is an essential part of communication. Being polite can be as easy as paying attention to what they have to say, using the name of the person and not disturbing themselves. The other person will feel respected for respecting others and that will contribute to a more open and fruitful conversation.
- Using the correct medium – There are many different means of communication to use-choosing the right one is crucial. For example, it is more important to meet in person on serious matters (layoffs, wage increases, etc.) than to send an email about the matter.
Advantages of good communication skills
The most effective companies recognise that good communication at every level is necessary if they are to be competitive in today’s business environment. Effective communication will benefit you and your organisation if you are already employed. The following are the advantages of having this soft skill:
- Results in stronger decision-making and problem-solving
- An upturn in productivity
- Results in convincing and compelling corporate materials
- An established clearer and more streamlined workflow
- Creates an enhanced professional image
- Sound business relationships
- A successful response ensured
- Trust is built
- Problems are prevented and resolved
- Clarity and direction is provided
- Results in better relationships
- There is increased engagement
- Team building is promoted
The future of work is communication. Read around about the future of work and find out more but there will be more talking in the future of work. It is going to get more and more valuable as the years go by. According to a report from McKinsey, “Workers of the future will spend more time on activities that machines are less capable of, such as managing people, applying expertise, and communicating with others.” This is true and we are already experiencing these changes. A decade ago the Wall Street Journal wrote that communication ad interpersonal skills remain at the top of the list of what matters most to recruiters. Communication is also among the future of worktop skills which are required to stay relevant by 2030, therefore, start practising and improving yourself today!