In this article, we look at why communication skills are essential for your development and where to focus.

How many times have you been frustrated by someone’s inability to make themselves understood?  And we’re not just talking about a failure to find the right words, correct grammar, or being clear in what they say. However, all of these are helpful, of course. Were you able to “get the message”? And, importantly, how did you feel about the person communicating to you?

Poor communication can make you feel bad

They may be a great boss and inspirational leader with an energetic and motivational styles.  But they could be too brisk in their approach and often leave people wondering what they mean.  Or they can be a real social animal, popular and uplifting, but who has a problem with making their point in a discussion.  You can take an example of your own: someone who is excellent in their ability, people skills, or whatever you like.  But this problem somehow degrades them in your eyes.  It introduces a “yes, but” into your feelings that are otherwise very positive.

Now think about whether that applies to you. And before you brush it off with an “Of course it doesn’t”, think again. We’ve all failed in this respect at one time or another. So analyze what went wrong: was it just because the other person was “stupid” or wasn’t paying attention? Was it really about the fact that they disagreed with you and didn’t listen? Or is there a pattern in it somewhere, where you fall somehow?  Are you the great boss or the social animal? So how do people think about you as a result?

Your development is, was, and always will be, influenced by other people’s perceptions of you. Whether it’s promotion at work, making and sustaining friendships, or being a great family member, your ability to give and receive messages depends on your communication skills.

In this self-appraisal, remember that communication skills show up in three ways, all of which can be improved by an online training course from, for example, ZandaX. They are well-established specialists in personal development.

Face to Face

This is the primary focus because nowhere do we get a better chance to express ourselves (or see others doing the same) as when we meet in person. Are you clear? Is your body language correct? Are you engaging?

Telephone

It would help if you also considered how well you communicate on the telephone.  Imagine how you feel when you’re in a phone conversation with someone who’s unclear, who rambles on, or maybe is too abrupt.  Are you any of these? And don’t imagine that you’ve never left a voicemail message that’s perhaps a bit confusing. We’ve all done that.

In Writing

And of course, there’s your writing, which is a skill that’s too often overlooked. Do you write concisely that gets to the point quickly? Are you engaging? Do you write for your audience in a voice that they’ll relate to? Mark Twain is famously quoted as saying, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead”. This humorous observation is sage because writing well (i.e. concisely) takes longer than writing stream-of-consciousness waffle. So apply this to your writing. Everywhere. Take time to get it right.

But don’t be intimidated by this. If you admit and identify problems with your communication, you’ve already made a big step towards helping your development.

The next step is to fix it, and although we’re all busy, taking a course online is an excellent way of getting lots of ideas and information at your own pace, in your own time, for a minimal financial outlay.

You will see that communication skills are essential for your development and so good luck.  I hope we’ve helped you see how to make things move more quickly; well, that is why we write this stuff.

As an experienced business and finance writer I understand the corporate landscape and the driving forces behind it. Over the years I’ve shared my insight and knowledge with key industry publications and dedicated my time to showing how business leaders can make their organisations more effective.