Good verbal and written communication is an essential parameter to convey and understand information quickly and accurately. Clear and concise communication helps build trust and credibility.
Oral communication is not just talking, but also listening and communicating. Improving verbal communication promotes relationship building and can help create an excellent network of contacts. On the other hand, written communication is essential to communicate complex information. For example, when sharing statistics and writing information that needs to be used repeatedly, precision is needed to ensure that the message is clear and concise. A well-written report should convey information in concise and grammatically correct language, using no more words than necessary.
In summary, communication is key to maintaining successful relationships. Improving oral and written communication skills allows you to perform better at work.
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What Communication Skills Are Employers Looking for in 2023?
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), communication skills are among the top soft skills employers look for on student resumes. However, not all communication skills are valued equally.
“Over the past decade, there has been a major shift in the focus on empathy and emotional intelligence,” said CareerCloud podcast host Michael Gardon. "These are many other general non-verbal skills that increase confidence in communication."
As employees grappled with burnout, exhaustion, and the severity of a global crisis during the pandemic, these emotional communication skills became more important than ever.
The pandemic has not only changed the way we interact with others at work, but also the way we work. Effective written communication has become crucial for remote work environments where face-to-face time has become shorter.
“With so many roles shifted to remote work by the pandemic, the ability to communicate succinctly is essential,” says Rachel Kanarowski, founder of workplace advisory group Year of Living Better. “Can you recognize when there is a need for clarification and ask for that clarification directly? Will you follow up quickly to move projects forward? not in the job description."
Gardon, who runs an entirely remote business, looks for employees who are "good at communicating via email, instant messaging, project management tools and comprehensive reporting." My employees need to understand how they communicate through these channels and what information their colleagues need on each channel in order to make clear decisions and not slow down. »
NACE research supports this move towards written communication; 73.3% of employers said they were looking for written communication skills, compared to 58.8% of employers looking for verbal communication skills. Employers still value verbal communication skills, but not as much as in the past; 73.2% of employers were looking for them in 2021, compared to just 58.8% today.
How to Improve Your Communication Skills
Find a Mentor
It's no secret that there are a lot of weird communication rules in the workplace. For example, email etiquette can be confusing to someone who has never communicated with a senior executive.
To prepare yourself for the ins and outs of communication in the workplace, Gardon recommends finding a mentor, "a retired manager or professor, preferably someone who relies on lengthy memos rather than emails and chats." If you're learning how to take notes by writing well — being concise, supporting main points, using bullet points, and formatting for scanning — these skills lend themselves well to whatever else you do.
Even a mentor with experience writing emails for clients, presenting work, and communicating with colleagues can be a helpful resource. They can give you feedback on the clarity, conciseness, and persuasiveness of your communication, and even give you tips on how to handle company jargon.
You won't just gain valuable communication skills through work experience. Kanarowski recommends joining a community group or nonprofit you believe in, especially in communications or marketing, where you may have more opportunities to learn certain skills.
"A lot of these groups may not have the bandwidth to try new things with their marketing and may be willing to hire an intern or volunteer to create content on a new channel," he says. . "If you can, ask someone with project experience for a LinkedIn recommendation and don't hesitate to ask them to specifically mention their communication skills in the recommendation."
Identify Communication Skills You Admire
One of the best ways to improve your skills is to go with the flow. Did a teacher send you an easy-to-read email? Did a colleague give you clear and actionable feedback? Find out which communication skills you admire and why you love them. For example, how did the person format their email? Did they use specific jargon? What information did they contain? Keep the structure, language, and tone in mind so you can repeat it in the future.