It is no mystery why good communication regularly tops the list of skills required by employers, but there’s much more to communication than simply talking.
Communication is a vital life skill, developing your communication skills can benefit you in all aspects of your life, from your professional life to social gatherings, in business communicating effectively with clients and colleagues is one of the most essential skills a candidate can have. In a 2016 survey, employers ranked “Ability to verbally communicate with persons inside and outside the organisation” as the number one skill or quality they look for in a candidate.
Good communication is the oil that keeps the workplace machine running smoothly. Having the ability to listen carefully, speak clearly and put others at ease is valuable in any organisation and can involve a wide range of skills:
As you can see from this list, good communication requires more than words.
Your body posture, hand gestures and eye contact all express a meaning, often saying much more than the words you speak. For instance, standing or sitting with your arms and legs relaxed and open will convey a friendly impression that will invite others to interact with you. If you look a person in the eye it indicates that you are focused on what they have to say (though you should be careful not to confuse this with staring!). Similarly, a particular look with the eyes can articulate far more than any words can.
Nonverbal communication is important for written communication as well as face-to-face. If you can convey a friendly tone in an email, for example, your co-workers will be more likely to engage with you and what you have to say.
The ability to communicate effectively with clients, colleagues and managers is essential, whatever sector you work in. Good communication galvanises teams, inspires high performance and enhances the workplace culture. Just remember, communication is a two-way process, so take notice of other people's verbal and nonverbal signals as well as your own.
Finally, in recent years, a whole new field of communication has opened up – that of social media. Navigating that minefield warrants a whole blog post of its own.