Communication is the fuel that keeps the workplace fire burning. The significance of effective communication for any thriving organization cannot be emphasized enough. As per research conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management, subpar communication leads to an average annual loss of $62.4 million for each company.
In an era marked by the transformation of business operations through artificial intelligence and various digital technologies, the role of communication skills has escalated in importance, particularly in enhancing relationships and fostering collaboration. Communication ensures that you maintain strong working relationships across all levels of an organization.
It is for this reason that every employer lists communication skills as one of the non-negotiable attributes when advertising a job vacancy. Enhancing and applying your communication proficiencies can facilitate career progression and maintain your competitiveness in the contemporary job landscape. This piece explores several pivotal communication abilities essential for a prosperous professional journey.
1. Active Listening
Also known as mindful or appreciative listening, active listening means you pay close attention to whoever you are communicating with by engaging with them through rephrasing what they are and asking questions. Fostering mutual respect among your peers and promoting comprehension in a challenging professional setting is a valuable endeavor.
Enhancing your listening skills involves attentiveness to the facial cues and observing shifts in body language and vocal inflections when engaging with others. Rather than planning your response during a dialogue, center your attention on the speaker’s message and their manner of expression. Should you require further explanation, feel free to pose follow-up questions or restate their points to confirm your understanding.
2. Nonverbal Communication
Communication entails more than just talking. You have to master body language, facial expressions, gestures, eye contact patterns, posture and more. Nonverbal communication can help build trust between you and your coworkers or clients. It also makes it possible to see past what someone says and right into what they feel and actually mean.
Nonverbal communication holds significant importance in a wide array of occupations, notably within leadership positions. Rather than merely listing it on your resume, seek opportunities to demonstrate your adeptness in nonverbal communication throughout a job interview. This can be accomplished through the consistent maintenance of eye contact and the deliberate management of facial expressions.
Giving and accepting feedback is a skill that goes hand in hand with other communication skills ranging from open-mindedness to teamwork and respect. You cannot provide honest and encouraging feedback if you don’t understand what the speaker means and respect their opinion.
If you receive feedback from a colleague at work, listen and accept their input without judgment. If you have any questions, wait until the end to make the process more constructive. When giving feedback, make sure you do so based on a fact-oriented evaluation and give them time to respond. Also consider their needs and offer negative feedback in private.
Being empathetic means you can fully understand and share in the emotions of those around you. It is an important skill for both one-on-one and team settings. During any encounter, always aim to effectively read and translate the emotions of those you interact with before providing an appropriate response.
If someone is angry or frustrated, you can take advantage of your empathy to diffuse their emotions. Similarly, you can get support for projects and ideas if you can understand feelings of enthusiasm and positivity.
Honesty is a skill we should all look to build on in both our personal and professional life. It goes without saying that honesty should highlight your work ethic. Consistently convey your skills and qualifications openly to access the resources conducive to your career progression.
Keep in mind that authenticity prevails, and forthrightness can spare you the eventual embarrassment and remorse that often ensues. Maintaining honesty at work is a sign that you value transparency. It also shows that you are ready to accept your mistakes and criticism and take responsibility for your actions.
6. Understanding Communication Styles
Most workplaces use four different communication styles and you need to have a grasp of all of them to facilitate effective communication. Passive communicators are generally quiet and don’t express their true feelings easily. In some cases, they may prefer to act agreeable or indifferent to maintain peace and calm.
Unlike passive communicators, aggressive communicators express their emotions without thinking of the impact it will have on others. They may come off as abusive or intimidating in some instances. Passive-aggressive communicators appear aloof even when angry. You may notice their anger but can hardly understand their true feelings since they tend to avoid confrontation.
Assertive communicators are more considerate and express themselves clearly and directly. They show respect in all their interactions. Understanding your communication style and being able to adapt to different situations sets the foundation for mutual understanding and effective communication.
7. Verbal and Presentation Skills
Thus refers to the ability to pass information verbally. You can take a communication masters degree program to improve your verbal communication skills but it generally requires extensive practice especially when dealing with large audiences. You should keep the message short and clear depending on the audience. The listener should be able to get the message without room for overthinking.
In individual conversations you can call out a person’s name. It is an emotionally powerful tool that you can use to your advantage. Saying a person’s name with the right inflection conveys a lot of positive feelings for them and shows that you are actually engaged in the conversation.
8. Selling and Persuasion Skills
Even if you are not part of the sales team, your ability to sell plays a vital role in the trajectory of your career. It makes it possible for you to influence stakeholders to follow up in a certain idea, decision or action. You can leverage your selling and persuasion skills to push for a new product or service or get into a new job role.
To build on your persuasion skills, you should aim to find a solution that benefits all parties by understanding the audience’s motivations and expectations. Also uncover the factors that would be most agreeable and influential for every party involved.
Communication refers to the ability to pass or share feelings and ideas effectively. Effective communication at work ensures that you can exchange and encourage the free flow of information among various stakeholders at different levels to achieve desirable outcomes. Improving your communication skills and leveraging them can help you move up the ladder and advance your career.