Whether you are looking for a new job or hoping to advance in the one you currently have the most important work related skill is communication.
Boiled down to its most basic parts, communication is the ability to understand and be understood. For some that concept may not be as simple as it sounds. There are many times when poor communication has caused trouble in the work place.
Without good communication skills you may find yourself arguing with co-workers and managers or unable to convey ideas and concepts that could help you to succeed in your chosen field.
In a survey of over 50,000 recruiters, communication skills were listed as number one for skills that is looked for when hiring a new manager. As a matter of fact, communication skills, both written and oral ranked more then 50% higher then work experience and any other skill. This makes improving your communication skills paramount when trying to advance in your current job or find a new one.
The question now is how do you improve these skills?
Tips to Improve Verbal Communication
1) Improve your vocabulary: Learn and use more words when you speak but be careful to make sure you are pronouncing them correctly. When you pronounce a word incorrectly the other person will instinctively discount your credibility and misunderstand what you are trying to say. Make sure the words you are using is the right word. If you are unsure of the meaning or pronunciation of a word simply do not use it at all.
2) Slow down: Some people just speak way to fast. People perceive fast speaking with nervousness and often those who speak fast are not given due respect because of it.
3) Make eye contact: Those who do not make eye contact are often perceived as ineffectual or incompetent.
4) Enunciate: Speak clearly and at the correct volume for the occasion. When you mumble people can not understand what you are trying to tell them.
Listening skills are just as important a part of communication as speaking. Below you will find a few important tips to improve your listening skills.
Tips to Improve Listening Skills
1) Pay attention: Give the person who is speaking to you your undivided attention, look them in the eye as they speak and try repeating what is said back to them.
2) Show that you are listening: Nod or speak to let the other person know you are listening, ask pertinent questions and make sure to smile and use other open body postures.
3) Provide feedback: Again, ask questions and use statements such as “What I’m hearing is.” and “Sounds like you are saying.” To clarify the speakers points.
Written communication is becoming more and more important in every day life, especially with email and chat programs becoming more prevalent in the workplace. Know how to write effectively can save time, misunderstanding and sometimes that important client.
How to improve written communication skills
1) Know your reader: Business emails, memos and letters are different then personal ones. Understand and adhere to the more formal writing styles business communication deserves.
2) Pay attention to spelling, punctuation and sentence structure: Nothing creates an aura of misunderstanding and incompetence like misspelled words and poor punctuation. Use a word processing program such as Microsoft Word if you need to or at least run a spell check over your finished communication before printing.
3) Read out loud: One often forgotten but effective way to check yourself is to get into the habit of reading every thing you write out loud before you hit send. Reading it out loud can help you see where there may be simple mistakes that can change the entire meaning of the piece.
The communication improvement tips in this article are just a few of the steps you can take to improve your communication skills. The main tip is to practice, practice and practice some more. You can also ask your friends, relatives and co-workers to evaluate your progress as you learn to improve these all important skills as well as to offer suggestions by setting up your PlusRated account and inviting them to help you.
- Career Growth, Job Hunting & Promotion