“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” -James Humes
Communication skills are the best predictor of your future success.
We are always communicating with the people in our lives and the way we communicate extends far beyond our verbal or written abilities. We communicate through our behaviours, our priorities, our style preferences, and so many more ways that we may not be aware of. We are always communicating.
Is your communication being perceived in the way you would like it to be?
Despite being the most important skillset you could ever possess, we aren’t taught communication skills in any meaningful way. The way to develop these skills is to make them a priority and practice over and over.
Here are three communication skills that you need to develop right now:
We know this so well, yet poor listening remains one of the biggest obstacles to effective communication. Most of our energy in conversing gets stuck on the output. We rehearse what we want to say in our heads rather than listening to what is being said to us. What ends up happening is that we create independent monologues, not conversation. Makes sense, right? But remember, when you are speaking, your listener is probably doing the same thing to you – thinking about their response. If you can acknowledge that awareness, communicating can be a lot more mutually beneficial.
Think about the last time you listened to a speaker who was clear on their content and delivered a message with impact. How did you respond to that person? Now think about a time where you listened to a speaker who rushed their words or had a lot of “umms and ahh’s”. How did you respond to that person? Confidence is a preview of competence. Take a job interview situation. Who would you put your trust in (not knowing any other details), the person who communicated clearly and confidently or the person who stumbled to find the right words?
Invest in building your confidence, it matters.
Your grammatical precision is noticed and impacts the way you are perceived. Know your audience and take the time to review your communication to ensure that you are getting the right message across. Think of poor grammar as written noise. Poorly constructed documents and messages can hinder your audience’s interpretation of you and what you are trying to communicate. Take the extra time to edit and proofread. It can make all the difference in the world.
Communication is a set of skills that can be learned, adjusted, styled, and finessed with practice. Practice is the key. Start by asking people you trust to give you valuable feedback on your current communication skills. What information can they provide to help you understand where your communication gaps and strengths might be?
Be open to sharing what you are learning and practicing with others. Your efforts might inspire others to upgrade their communication skills as well – a win for everyone.