What is communication skills?
Communication skills are the abilities you use when giving and receiving different kinds of information. Some examples include communicating new ideas, feelings or even an update on your project. Communication skills involve listening, speaking, observing and empathising. It is also helpful to understand the differences in how to communicate through face-to-face interactions, phone conversations and digital communications like email and social media.
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Different styles of communication are appropriate in different situations. To make the best use of your communication skills, it’s important to consider your audience and the most effective format to communicate with them.
For example, if you are communicating with a potential employer, it’s better to send a formal email or call them on the phone. Depending on the situation, you may even need to send a formal, typed letter over other forms of communication.
In friendships, characteristics such as honesty and kindness often foster trust and understanding. The same characteristics are important in workplace relationships. When you’re working with others, approach your interactions with a positive attitude, keep an open mind and ask questions to help you understand where they’re coming from. Small gestures such as asking someone how they’re doing, smiling as they speak or offering praise for work well done can help you foster productive relationships with both colleagues and managers.
Active listening means paying close attention to the person who is speaking to you. People who are active listeners are well-regarded by their co-workers because of the attention and respect they offer others. While it seems simple, this is a skill that can be hard to develop and improve. You can be an active listener by focusing on the speaker, avoiding distractions like cell phones, laptops or other projects and by preparing questions, comments or ideas to thoughtfully respond.
Strong communicators can accept critical feedback and provide constructive input to others. Feedback should answer questions, provide solutions or help strengthen the project or topic at hand
In the workplace, people are more likely to respond to ideas that are presented with confidence. There are many ways to appear confident such as making eye contact when you’re addressing someone, sitting up straight with your shoulders open and preparing ahead of time so your thoughts are polished. You’ll find confident communication comes in handy not just on the job but during the job interview process as well.
When you’re speaking, it’s important to be clear and audible. Adjusting your speaking voice so you can be heard in a variety of settings is a skill and it’s critical to communicating effectively. Speaking too loudly may be disrespectful or awkward in certain settings. If you’re unsure, read the room to see how others are communicating.
Empathy means that you can understand and share the emotions of others. This communication skill is important in both team and one-on-one settings. In both cases, you will need to understand other people’s emotions and select an appropriate response. For example, if someone is expressing anger or frustration, empathy can help you acknowledge and diffuse their emotion. At the same time, being able to understand when someone is feeling positive and enthusiastic can help you get support for your ideas and projects.
A key aspect of respect is knowing when to initiate communication and respond. In a team or group setting, allowing others to speak without interruption is seen as a necessary communication skill. Respectfully communicating also means using your time with someone else wisely—staying on topic, asking clear questions and responding fully to any questions you’ve been asked.
A great deal of communication happens through nonverbal cues such as body language, facial expressions and eye contact. When you’re listening to someone, you should be paying attention to what they’re saying as well as their nonverbal language. By the same measure, you should be conscious of your body language when you’re communicating to ensure you’re sending appropriate cues to others.
Whether you’re returning a phone call or sending a reply to an email, fast communicators are viewed as more effective than those who are slow to respond. One method is to consider how long your response will take. Is this a request or question you can answer in the next five minutes? If so, it may be a good idea to address it as soon as you see it. If it’s a more complex request or question, you can still acknowledge that you’ve received the message and let the other person know you will respond in full later.
You will use your communication skills in every step of the job search and on the job. Everything from your resume to the job interview and beyond will require different types of communication skills. Here are a few ways you can highlight those skills at each step.
Your cover letter is a great opportunity to elaborate on your communication skills. While you can talk more directly about how effectively you communicate here, your cover letter is one of the employer’s first impressions of your skills. You will want to make your cover letter brief, well-written, free of typos and spelling errors and tailored to the position you’re applying for.
A well-written resume is a demonstration of strong communication skills. Ensure that your resume is structured appropriately and free of spelling and grammar errors. Additionally, you may also want to include some positive communication skills in your resume skills section, especially if the job post calls for specific communication skills in the job description. You can add skills to your Indeed Resume for employers searching for candidates with your skillset.
Is a technique for developing our ability to listen, to make a conscious effort to understand what people are really saying.
As a communication technique, it is used in many professional settings (counseling, training, therapy) but is also valuable for everyday life.
It doesn’t mean you speak the loudest or most often, but rather that you are getting your message across clearly and also taking in the messages you’re receiving from the people around you.
Effective communication is an attainable and deliberately acquired skill set, one that can be learned and practiced over time.
While it’s true that individual attributes can make these abilities easier to acquire, there is nothing that the world’s best communicators have that you can’t acquire through hard work.
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