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Aug 14, 2020

Approx. 20 min. read

Top 5 Communication Skills and How to Improve Them

Developing strong communication skills is essential when it comes to building a successful career. But your communication skills play a key role in...

Top communication skills to develop in the workplace

Developing strong communication skills is essential when it comes to building a successful career. But your communication skills play a key role in your private life too. Learn about the most in-demand communication skills and how to improve them. 

🔎 With strong communication skills, you can easily improve communication in the workplace. Download our eBook "10 Principles of Modern Employee Communications" and learn how to communicate with the modern employee in today's digital age. 

Communications Skills: Definition and Importance in the Workplace

Communication skills are a set of activities that ultimately make a quality public performance.

Communication today is very important both in the business world and in private life.

Successful communication helps us better understand people and situations. It helps us overcome diversities, build trust and respect, and create conditions for sharing creative ideas and solving problems

Developing strong communication skills becomes one of the leaders' top priorities

 

In the business world, many employers believe that proper internal communications can significantly increase employees’ productivity

Although communication itself seems simple, often when we try to establish communication with others, there is always a chance for a lack of understanding that might cause conflicts and frustrations in personal or professional life in relations with other people.

the importance of communication skills in the workplaceBy acquiring strong communication skills, you can better connect with your friends, colleagues, boss... all while improving communication in the workplace. 

Why You Need to Develop Strong Communication Skills  

In this modern time we live in, we are receiving, sending and processing a large number of messages every day.

But successful communication is far more than sharing information, it is also an understanding of the feelings behind this information

Successful communication can deepen relations in personal life or professional life. In personal life, they can help us understand better people and situations that happen on a daily basis.

Developing communication skills can help us avoid conflicts, compromise and help in better decision making.  

📚Read on: Interpersonal Communication: Definition, Importance and Must-Have Skills

Here is a great overview of why communication skills are important. 

importance of communication skills

The Power of Strong Communication Skills in the Workplace

With strong communication skills, you can clearly impact your business. Great communicators are the ones who bring solutions, drive change, motivate and inspire their colleagues. 

By improving communication skills, we can improve employee engagement, teamwork, decision-making, and interdepartmental communication in the workplace.

For that reason, communication skills are the most demanded soft skills that employers are looking for in their employees. 

communication skills in high demand

Good communication skills enable managers to receive and send negative or heavy messages without creating frustration and disruption of trust. This is important to keep employees motivated and engaged. 

📚Read on: 8 Employee Engagement Statistics You Need to Know [INFOGRAPHIC]

Employees today expect to be informed about every aspect of the business and not to miss any important information.

gallup communication skills in the workplace

They expect from the leaders to communicate regularly their role and goals. They expect continuous feedback on their work, and they expect to be able to find information that they need in seconds. 

Employers who manage to successfully communicate the company's values and business goals to their employees have much lover turnover rates.

📚Read on: Company Values: Definition, Importance and Examples

What's more, the way managers communicate with employees during change has a direct impact on the company's bottom line. Indeed, most digital transformation strategies fail because of a lack of communication in the workplace. 

Therefore, employers need to have a well-set strategy about how to keep their employees informed and engaged. 

📚Read on: Change Management: Definition, Best Practices & Examples

Although we can develop certain communication skills, communication is more effective if it is spontaneous than when it follows certain formulas. The spoken word has a different echo of spontaneous spoken speech. 

Of course, it takes time and effort to develop these skills and become a successful speaker. The more effort and practice, the communication skills will be more spontaneous and more instinctive.

Check out in the infographic below the reasons why developing strong communication skills is important in the workplace 👇

infographic on the importance of communication skills

30+ Stats on the Importance of Developing Strong Communication Skills in 2020 

We've compiled below some of the most important stats on the importance of developing strong communication skills in the workplace. 

But don't worry, you can also check the video below if you are in a hurry 👇

video-on-top-communication-skills

 

  • 7% of communication is verbal, 38% is the tone and inflection and a staggering 55% is body language (Smarp)
  • Over 80% of Americans think that employee communication is a key factor in creating trust with their employers (Slideshare)
  • 81% of recruiters identify interpersonal skills as important (mba.com)
  • However, more than 60% of employers say that applicants are not demonstrating sufficient communication and interpersonal skills to be considered for jobs (Business Time)
  • 57% of recruiters say interpersonal skills will grow in demand over the next five years (mba.com)
  •  98% of top salespeople identify relationships as the most important factor in generating new business (Salesforce)
  • More than 90% of employees would rather hear bad news than no news (Jostle)
  • 69% list strong communication skills as a reason they are confident in hiring graduates from business school (mba.com)
  • According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 73.4% of employers want a candidate with strong written communication skills (Inc.)
  • Companies lose on average $62.4 million per year because of inadequate communication to and between employees (SHRM)
  • 57% of employees report not being given clear directions (HR Technologist)
  • 69% of managers are not comfortable communicating with employees (HR Technologist)
  • Only 19% of organizations say they are “very effective” at developing leaders (Infopro Learning)
  • 82% of employees don’t trust their boss to tell the truth (Forbes)
  • 85% of employees say they’re most motivated when management offers regular updates on company news (Trade Press Services)
  • 70% of all organizational communication emanates through the grapevine (Chron)
  • 63% of millennials feel their leadership skills are not being developed (HRPA)
  • 56% of employees believe managers need to adapt their skills to manage a remote workforce (PowWowNow)
  • 77% of employers say that soft skills are just as important as hard skills (Smarp)
  •  41% of leaders are not able to gather appropriate information quickly. As a consequence, 40% are not able to make timely and deliberate decisions (PwC)
  • 69% of managers fail to organize communication with their employees (Rallyware)
  • 37% of managers are uncomfortable having to give direct feedback about their employees’ performance if they think the employee might respond negatively to the feedback (Harvard Business Review)
  • Communicating well is the one critical skill that 91% of 1,000 employees in a recent Interact/Harris Poll said their leaders lack (Inc.)
  •  Around a quarter of employees think email is a major productivity killer (Bluesource)
  • Employees feel a communication divide could have serious business implications, including low staff morale (61%), confusion for the company's clients or customers (60%), and loss of business (31%) (HR Magazine)  
  • 74% of workers would like their company to let them work from home more frequently as a result of COVID-19 (Robert Half)
  •  28 % of employees report poor communication as the primary cause of failing to deliver a project within its original time frame, according to a survey by the Computing Technology Industry Association (Bluesource)

📚Read on: What Are The Top Leadership Skills That Make a Great Leader?

5 Communication Skills You Can't Ignore

There are dozens of different communication skills to possess, there are top 5 communication skills we will focus on in this blog. 

These 5 skills are absolutely necessary for successful communication in the workplace or private life

1. Listening

Listening is one of the most important aspects of communication. Successful listening is not just and understanding of spoken or written information, but also an understanding of how the speaker feels during communication.

If a speaker can see and feel that someone is listening and understanding that can help build a stronger, deeper relationship between interlocutors.

Careful listening can also create an environment in which everyone feels safe to express ideas, opinions and feelings, or plan and solve problems in a creative way.

2. Straight talking

Conversation is the basis of communication, and one must not neglect its importance. Even a simple, friendly conversation with colleagues can build mutual trust and even detect problems before they become serious.

A healthy dose of chatting with and unknown person can lead to a business opportunity. Be accessible and friendly  because then you will be able to talk to almost anyone.

3. Non-verbal communication

When we talk about things that matter to us then we send a lot of nonverbal messages.

how to develop strong communication skillsNon-verbal signals are wordless communication, body position, facial expression, hand movements, gestures, eye contact, attitude and tone of your voice, muscle tension and the way you/we breathe.

The way you look, listen, create, react, gesture, speaks far more about feelings than words will ever be able to.

Why non-verbal communication skills are important?

Because, according to Salesforce’s research on interpersonal communication, 93 percent of communication is non-verbal. 

Developing the ability to understand others and use nonverbal signals will help you connect with others, express what you think, meet challenging situations, and build better relationships at home and at work.

4. Stress management

In small quantities, stress can be very useful and encouraging for work. However, when the stress becomes constant and completely begins to take effect, it can affect communication, clarity of opinion, and appropriate behavior and action.

When you are under stress you may misunderstand other people, send confusing nonverbal signals, and use funny patterns of behavior.

How often did you feel stressed during discussion with your friends or colleagues and then said or did something you regretted later?

If you improve stress management skills, not only will you avoid these subsequent regrets, but you will also be able to influence the other person you are entering into a conflict.

5. Emotion control

In communication, feelings play an important role. Making decisions more often affects the way you feel than the way you think.

Guided by emotions, your nonverbal behavior affects the understanding of other people and how others understand and perceive you. 

If you are not aware of your feelings you are guided, you will not be able to express your needs and experiences. This can result in frustration, misunderstanding and conflict.

Control of emotions provides you with tools to understand others, yourself and the messages you send.

Though recognizing feelings makes it simple, many people have strong feeling like anger, sorrow, or fear being pushed under the carpet.

4 Smart Ways to Your Improve Communication Skills

Communication experts have many advice on how to improve communication skills.

For example, take a look at Simon Lancaster's best practices for speaking like a leader below 👇

Simon Lancaster shares his best practices for developing great communication skills 

 

Or watch what Linda Reynier has to say when it comes to building great communication skills for your personal and professional life:

 

As you can see, there is no single way to develop great communication skills or become a great leader.

The methodology you're going to pick will depend on you the objectives you want to achieve and your personality as well (we don't need to develop the same communication skills). 

To help you get started with thought leadership, we share below 4 of the most productive ways to quickly and efficiently improve your communication skills: 

1. Listen with empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings, thoughts, and beliefs of another person. Exactly this is the reason why organizations have started developing empathy in the workplace.

Emotional acceptance, closely related to empathy, means that, after empathizing and understanding how other person feels, we can accept the reasons why somebody feels or thinks the way they do, regardless of whether we agree with it or not. 

Try to see things from others’ perspectives by accepting what you hear instead of trying to „fix things and solve the problem“.

2. Speak up

Communication begins with you. Take responsibility and start communication, do not wait and expect another person to do so and don't hide behind various forms of online communication. 

Good communication, especially on important topics, requires far more than what we can express in a written message.

We often misunderstand this kind of communication because we do not see the person's face, its nonverbal communication, and in what circumstances communication starts.

3. Prepare what you're going to say

Think before you speak. Most of us work best when we have time to process our own thoughts before we share them.

If the conversation or meeting is worth your precious time, take a few minutes to prepare the speech draft. 

For a very important conversation, try a mock-up conversation with a trusted person so you can get rid of any potential mistakes.

4. Be ready for different answers

As you formulate a speech strategy, put yourself in the position of a person who will listen to you.

This will ensure balanced approach and you will be prepared to learn and defend potential disagreements and it will be easier for you to defend your standpoint.

No one can predict with certainty how other people will react.

Improve chances of a successful conversation by expecting negative answers and queries. So it is harder for your listeners to catch you unprepared.

Help Your Employees Improve their Communication Skills with Smarp

Leaders and employees need to have strong communication skills to support the business's growth.

Think about it: communication is actually the glue that holds the business together. Without effective communication, employees don't have a clear understanding of the company's vision and priorities. Managers struggle to motivate and inspire their teams.

At the end of the day, it's the company's success that may suffer from poor communication. 

communications skills in the workplace

That's the reason why we've built Smarp. We want to make it easy for employees and leaders to become great communicators. And to do so, you need to make sure that each employee gets the information they need when they need it without having to search for it.

Remember, employees spend on average 2.5 hours per day searching for the information they need to do their jobs!

What's more, you need to communicate with your employees through their favorite channels, so they engage with your content and keep developing communication skills. 

Smarp can help you encourage your employees develop strong communication skills through: 

  • Relevant messages shared with your employees
  • An internal communication strategy adapted to your employees' needs
  • Content creation. Yes, your employees can become great content creators and they don't need to become motion designers to do so! The Content Booster by Smarp makes it easy for your employees to create their own content!
  • Employee advocacy. The Advocacy Amplifier makes it easy for your employees to share insights with their personal networks so they position themselves as industry experts. 
  • Strong Analytics that make it easy for your employees to measure the engagement they're generating through their posts and shares

Don't forget that your employees can be great communicators inside and outside the organization!

Employees with strong personal brands and communication skills can become your best ambassadors. With Smarp, you make it easy for your employees to share your company news and achievements with their personal networks.

As a result, not only your employees do feel well-informed about what's going on in the company, they also feel engaged and proud to be part of the company!

What's next? Download the eBook “10 Principles of Modern Employee Communications” where we share tips & best practices for successfully communicating with your employees in today's digital age.

10_principles_cta

Written by

Valène Jouany & Kristina Martic

Valène Jouany & Kristina Martic

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