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Tips to build up your communication skills in the workplace
CareerBuilder | April 25, 2022
Learn about some of the most important communication skills and how to improve them for your job hunt.
Effective communication skills can help you find a job that you love. They can also help you succeed in your role. If you're speaking on the phone with a client in a customer service position or leading a company-wide meeting, strong communication can help you get ahead. Here are some of the most important communication skills and why they're important in a professional setting with tips to help you improve your skills and better your career prospects.
Essential communication skills that can help you land a job
Skills that help you become an excellent communicator include:
The ability to speak and present your ideas is one of the most important communication skills you can possess. Whether you're describing responsibilities as part of a new hire's training program or selling a product to an interested buyer, presenting your thoughts in a clear and understandable manner is crucial. As you enhance your oral communication skills, you may learn how to convey complex feelings and ideas or evoke an emotional response from listeners. As long as you have good ideas within your role, oral communication will help you realize them by gathering support from coworkers, supervisors, collaborators, or customers.
Like speaking, writing is another essential communication skill. While some circumstances can require you to present your ideas orally, you may also have to convey them in writing to reach different audiences. Some types of written communication you may engage in include writing emails to potential partners, presenting research findings in a paper, or promoting a new product with engaging marketing copy. You can easily practice your writing by creating a profile on CareerBuilder so that employers can better find you according to your clearly defined skills.
While communicating is often about presenting your thoughts, it's just as important to be able to listen to and engage with your conversation partner as they speak. Understanding the process of active listening means you can engage with each statement the other speaker makes and use their reactions to influence your own communication. In this way, you create a productive, collaborative interaction.
Some ways to focus on active listening are to pay attention to the speaker's body language or expressions, minimize interruptions, ask clarifying questions, or repeat back key points to the speaker. Practicing active listening in every interaction can help you become a more effective listener who leaves each conversation understanding the speaker's intent and ideas. This understanding can be useful as you create meaningful relationships with coworkers or customers.
At work, effective communication may involve negotiation skills. This is especially true if you and your conversation partner want opposing things. The skill of negotiation requires you to listen to your partner's needs, effectively convey your own, determine areas where these needs overlap and oppose, and improvise solutions that maximize the benefit for all parties. You need to be persuasive but not overbearing to convey your ideas while respecting those of others. Some situations where you might need to negotiate include if you want to close a sale with a client or ask a supervisor for a promotion.
Tips to improve your communication skills
Here are methods you can use to improve your skills:
Practice your communication skills
One of the most important things you can do to improve your communication skills is to practice communicating as much as possible. You can volunteer to complete any necessary oral or written communication tasks like writing emails, giving reports, or leading a meeting. As you do this, you won't only become more comfortable communicating in any situation, but you'll also get the opportunity to reflect on your listening and presentation skills to determine opportunities for improvement.
To maximize your practice opportunity, you can even pursue communication training with third-party programs. Companies like Toastmasters International can help you develop communication skills and put them to the test in various situations. If you'd rather not run the risk of communicating ineffectively in a business setting, practicing with a company like Toastmasters can give you a low-stakes opportunity to advance your skills.
Developing strategies to maximize your comfort in a communication setting can help you focus on the content of your communication rather than on your nerves. Practicing as much as possible can help you remain relaxed, but you can also try other relaxation techniques and strategies like deep breathing or visualizing yourself communicating successfully. While it may not be possible to eliminate all nerves, you can find a way to minimize any distractions and instead focus on your communication.
Plan before you speak or write
No matter what you're writing or speaking, it's helpful to plan your content and formatting before beginning. While improvisation can be a useful skill and is often necessary in the case of unexpected circumstances, you may want to control as much content as possible before you begin. You can write a speech and practice giving it to plan when to add breaks or pauses. You can write an outline for an email before sending it to make sure that you include everything you need. This can make you more comfortable and prepared as you communicate.
Now that you've learned some of the most important communication skills and how to improve them, you can begin your job search with CareerBuilder. Consider these important communication points as you demonstrate your qualifications to a potential employer.
More tips for job seekers
Learn more about the importance of quickly adapting during a conversation and why being a good listener is important.
If you're looking for a new job where you can let your communication skills shine, check out our updated job listings.
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