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Best Communication Skills for Career Success

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Types of Communication and How to Improve Them

Best Communication Skills for Career Success

What are communication skills?

Communication skills are abilities you use when giving and receiving different kinds of information. While these skills may be a regular part of your day-to-day work life, communicating in a clear, effective and efficient way is an extremely special and useful skill.

Learning from great communicators around you and actively practicing ways to improve your communications over time will certainly support your efforts to achieve various personal and professional goals.

Communication skills involve listening, speaking, observing and empathizing. 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.

Types of communication

There are four main types of communication you might use on a daily basis, including:
1. Verbal: Communicating by way of a spoken language.
2. Nonverbal: Communicating by way of body language, facial expressions and vocalics.
3. Written: Communicating by way of written language, symbols and numbers.
4. Visual: Communication by way of photography, art, drawings, sketches, charts and graphs.

Communication Types

Communication skills allow you to give and receive information. Indeed employers consistently rank communication skills as one of the most commonly requested skills in 2020 job postings. Using, improving and showcasing your communication skills can help you both advance in your career and be competitive when searching for new jobs.

In this article, we discuss the importance of communication skills and ways you can improve them. We’ll also share ways you can highlight your communication skills in your resume, cover letter and interview with examples.

Top 10 communication skills

Here are the top communication skills employers and recruiters want to see in your resume and cover letter, interviews and career development:

1. Active listening

Active listening means paying close attention to who you’re communicating with by engaging with them, asking questions and rephrasing. Practicing active listening can build respect with your coworkers and increase understanding in the workplace. As you actively listen, focus on the speaker, avoiding distractions like cell phones, laptops or other projects, and by preparing questions, comments or ideas to thoughtfully respond.

Improve your active listening abilities by paying attention to other people’s facial expressions, body language and tone. Instead of preparing what you will say, focus on what the other person is saying and how they are saying it. If you need to clarify something, ask followup questions or rephrase what they’ve said to confirm that you understood them correctly.

2. Communication method

Using the right way to communicate is an important skill. There are benefits and disadvantages to talking through emails, letters, phone calls, in-person meetings or instant messages. Communicating is better when you consider your audience, what information you want to share and the best way to share it.

For example, if you are communicating with a potential employer, it may be better to send a formal email or call them on the phone. In the workplace, you may find it’s easier to communicate complex information in person or via a video conference than by email. Building remote workplace friendships is easier when you can speak through instant messages.

3. Friendliness

Friendly traits like honesty and kindness can help foster trust and understanding when communicating at work. Try to communicate 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 colleagues and managers.

You can practice friendliness by remembering small, thoughtful details about your coworkers or past conversations. For example, if a coworker tells you their child’s birthday is soon and you connect with them again later, you might ask them how the birthday party went.

4. Confidence

In the workplace, people are more likely to respond to ideas that are presented with confidence. There are many ways to appear confident, including by 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 and you’re able to answer any questions. Confident communication is useful not just on the job but also during the job interview process.

5. Sharing feedback

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. Providing and accepting feedback is an essential workplace skill, as it can help both you and the people around you make meaningful improvements to their work and their professional development.

A great way to learn how to give feedback is to take notes from others on the feedback they offer you. When you come across a well-explained piece of feedback, take some time to observe and analyze why it was good, why it resonated with you and how you might apply those skills in the future.

6. Volume and clarity

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.

Another aspect of verbal communication is vocalics and tonality. This involves how your tone moves up and down, your pitch, your accent pattern and the spaces you place between phrases. Such details can be effective in communicating emotions and offer your audience insights into how your message should be interpreted (whether you realize it or not).

7. Empathy

Having empathy means that you can not only understand, but also share in 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.

8. Respect

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 tied to respectfulness. 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.

9. Nonverbal cues

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 own body language when you’re communicating to ensure you’re sending appropriate cues to others.

10. Responsiveness

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.

 

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