The ability to communicate effectively is an everyday essential in our society. It has been said that those who possess good communication skills generally perform better than others in the workplace and that communication plays a great role in determining the success of an individual’s career.
“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” – Paul J. Meyer
Communication is more than just words and delivery, it’s also about when, what and why you say something. Let’s focus on three key skills that contribute to strong communication;
The ability to empathise with others is extremely key when being a strong communicator. It’s important to be logical in the workplace, to be able to make quick, well-informed decisions and problem solve at ease without getting caught up in the pressure of emotional reactions. Most people in the workplace will face some form of stress or challenge and it is important to not let emotions cloud your judgement but be able to empathise with others. Those with high emotional intelligence and an ability to read body language to determine an individual’s state of mind before they have a conversation, usually perform better in their delivery, particularly when the subject matter is difficult to broach.
Questioning others is an important part of communicating and something journalists and PR professionals do particularly well. Encouraging a multi-way conversation enables for effective and accurate information gathering but also rapport building. Two crucial types of questioning are: closed and open.
Closed questions are more targeted in approach and more direct in nature, with a view to getting a clear yes/no response. Anyone can be direct when under pressure and in the right situation this can be a highly effective way of gaining information quickly.
Open questions can be more inquisitive; aimed at opening up a conversation to gather as much information as possible. The delivery can be less direct and enables individuals to present themselves as tactical communicators who are sensitive to their surroundings. Successful communicators will have strengths in both types of questioning and will be able to determine which is most suitable in each scenario they face.
Confidence in communication is imperative to succeeding in the workplace, but it is important to be cautious as there is a fine line between, and it’s important not to cross this. Too much confidence and you could be perceived as arrogant, whilst a lack of confidence could leave people questioning your credibility. If you speak with conviction and confidence, you will ultimately be speaking with more clarity, therefore allowing you to communicate with clients and colleagues in a more efficient manner. Moreover, those who are generally self-assured tend to be great additions to teams as they are strong motivators and able to effectively mentor their colleagues.
Successful Communication = Successful Career
Naturally, it is not a case of “one size fits all” when it comes to characterising the success of someone’s communication style. However, there is no doubt that the most successful communicators in the workplace display these three qualities and will be highly sought-after by prospective employers.
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