For a long time communication was one of the most underrated skill of modern day professionals. Until the last 20 years, good communication skills were mainly considered as an essential tool for marketing professionals . Althought there had been major breakthroughs on social sciences since 1950’s, results didn’t become widely practical in different sectors other than marketing and sales.
Especially after widespread of internet usage among almost all industries in early 2000’s , distruptive effects of globalization changed the mindset for most of the professional in various sectors. As HR departments became prevalent and more sophisticated around the world, career development and personal improvement aspects became more important for all professionals. In job descriptions and during interviews we began to hear definitions like hard skills and soft skills. I will use technical skills for hard skills and social skills for soft skills.
There always had been a very competitive environment for professionals as the main eveluation of quality based on technical skills. But especially after borders became more obscure and information became more accessible as a result of globalization , more people had the opportunity to get better education hence better technical skills.
As a result of all the mentioned developments around the world , not only social skills began to be a distinctive measure for evaluation among many industries, both types of skills became necessary to successfully perform and advance in most jobs.
Some of these social skills are :
Collaboration(being a team player)
Willingness to learn
As it can easily be seen that, most of these social skills are built on the foundation of communication. In the age of globalization, we are living in an interconnected world, both in our social and professional life. Strong communication skills impact both our personal relations and our business performance. In a work environment every profesional encounters downward, lateral and upward interactions on a daily basis.
Good communicators motivate others, create a better and more creative environment and drive change.
Better communications skills will bring better results. Good communicators motivate others, create a better and more creative environment and drive change. Communication skills are very important for every professional because effective communication will:
develop and maintain strong business relations
improve problem solving and decision making abilities
create more productivity and consistency in work flow
increase knowledge sharing and facilitate innovation
Four main types of communication types that might be used on a daily basis are:
Verbal : Communicating by way of a spoken language (good languagecomprehension, strong , confident speaking voice, volume and tone , appropriate word selection compliying with environment, active and sincere listening, respect, sincerity)
Nonverbal : Communicating through body language, facial expressions and tone (controlling expressions of emotion, use of appropirate mimics and gestures, eye contact)
Written : Communicating with written language, symbols and numbers (good language comprehension, responsiveness, respect, appropriate word selection compliying with context)
Visual : Communication by way of photography, art, drawings, sketches, charts and graphs ( comprehensive knowledge of necessary work tools, creativity and being contextual)
As a summary one of the most underrated skill of last two decades became one of the most important and distinctive tool for great business leaders. Communication skills consist of many important social skill-sets . Those can be learned and developed by dedication and practice like hard skills (technical skills). Improving and demonstrating these skills can help professionals to advance in their careers and stay competitive in today’s job market.
"Emotional intelligence covers a wide range of social skills most of which are improvable. One of the most career related skills is empathy."
There are three essential areas that most of us should concentrate on to improve our communication skills to make a significant difference :
Listening : latest developments in social sciences show that lack of active listening is the main reason for most of the communication problems. Communication is a two-way process. Most of the times we think about how to respond instead of trying to understand what the other person is saying. Listening is not only hearing but concentrating genuinely on what the other side is saying. Improving listening skills is likely to pay off in improvements in relationships both at work and at social networks.
Non-verbal communication : Non-verbal communication is often reduced merely to body language, but it actually covers more. It also includes, tone and pitch of the voice, eye contact, mimics, posture, hand and arm gestures and even physiological changes such as sweating. Improving non-verbal communication skills could increase influence abilities and self confidence.
Emotional Intelligence and Empathy : In simple terms emotional intelligence is the ability to manage both our own emotions and understand the emotions of people around us. Emotional intelligence covers a wide range of social skills most of which are improvable. One of the most career related skills is empathy. Empathy is the ability to ‘feel with’ others: to share their emotions and understanding them. Gaining the ability to empathize requires a lot of practice.
Now it is on our hands to decide how and when do we want to improve ourselves,create our personal brand, stand out amongst others and make a change in our career and personal social life.