What Are Communication Skills? And Why Do You Ask?

We hear a lot about communication and the importance of good communication skills in the workplace today. But what exactly are the dynamics of communication and how do you become an adept communicator? This article goes back to the building bricks and shares the essential components of successful communication. It is possible to improve your communication skills – something that is vital for the modern organisation as well.

By Raymond James

When people ask, “What are communication skills?” they often don’t understand the many elements that make up communication. They know that writing and speaking is communication, but they don’t understand the role perceptions and experience play in the process. They also are unaware of the many nonverbal clues that are transmitted during a conversation.

Good Communication Skills
Perceptions result from life experiences. How you react to a message depends on your perception of the meaning in the message. Good communication skills include an awareness of how the receiver might be interpreting your message. Other communication skills include the following:

  • Being a good listener during a conversation;
  • Asking questions for clarification;
  • Restating the information;
  • Giving feedback;
  • Using tact in a non-argumentative manner;
  • Body language, including posture;
  • Using good eye contact;
  • Respecting personal space;
  • Awareness of cultural differences;
  • Offering praise;
  • Using humour; and
  • Developing good written skills.

An important component of developing effective communication skills is self-image. How you see yourself affects the kind of communication style you develop. For example, if you are called shy all your life you will probably develop a passive style. To enhance communication skills means being more aware of yourself as a communicator.

Encouraging Communication and Communicating Change
Business leaders are aware of the impact of communication skills on employee performance and productivity. A company that wants to maximise profits will be attuned to the need for open communication channels and good employee communication skills. Organisations are in constant change as they adapt to rapidly changing markets. As a result, managers must not only encourage employee communication, they must be adept at communicating change.

Organisational Change
Organisational change is never easy, but the process is greatly simplified through clear and concise communication:

  • Identify the exact changes to be made and construct explanations that can be properly conveyed.
  • Involve all the appropriate people in the change process.
  • Communicate progress regularly with employees.
  • Establish a realistic timeline.
  • Create new communication paths when necessary.
  • Utilise technology to streamline communication paths.
  • Allow employee input.

Communicating change does not have to be traumatic for employees if the manager prepares for the change and shares appropriate information. Embracing change can be exciting as a company moves forward into the future. Asking the question, “What are communication skills?” may very well yield the answer, “It’s an important part of change!”

Raymond James owns and operates www.communication-skills-ideas.com.

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