The world of work is very competitive, and it will require you not only solid knowledge from your studies but also a series of extra skills, called soft skills or soft skills, which will be great to know. One of them, very important, is communication skills.
There is nothing more important than knowing how to communicate with others effectively. This, which may seem natural since we learn to speak, is not at all that simple. Yes, some people innately develop great communication skills, but, for ordinary mortals, communication skills can be trained and practiced, as with all soft skills. Doing it right will open the doors to better job opportunities.
What are communication skills?
Communication skills are those that allow us to communicate with others with accuracy, efficiency and showing our skill level and skills concerning a particular matter.
There are many communication skills that we can train and practice until we master them. For example, giving good feedback is one of them; knowing how to ask the key questions to reach an understanding is another; knowing how to generate and transmit confidence is another highly valued skill, along with the ability to summarize (or, in short, to get to the point).
It tends to differentiate between basic communication skills, or, rather, canonical ones, which you should worry about cultivating as soon as possible, the better; and the rest of the skills, which are no less important, but can be derived from the four main ones. Let's see them.
We will go into more detail later, but the four essential communication skills are listening, empathy, non-verbal communication, and verbal communication. These abilities may vary depending on the source we are referring to, but you will see how the others are derived from them.
Types of communication skills
If we focus on the four fundamental communication skills, we will see how mastering them will open the doors to better agreements, more understanding, better preparation for, for example, preparing a project proposal for a client, or to close a beneficial business agreement.
- Listen. We are talking about active listening, which is one in which we are listening carefully to our interlocutor, what he says, how he says it, observing his body language, his tone of voice, inflections (denoting mood), the volume of his voice or the silences
- Empathy. It is a fundamental communication skill in life and the world of work. Having empathy implies that we put ourselves in the shoes of our interlocutors and, thus, we can understand their motivations, their desires, their expectations. Thanks to empathy we can understand the reasons that lead a person to direct his speech in one sense or another, and we can react according to what is perceived.
- Non-verbal communication, which is a natural way of communicating using which we transmit a message through gestures, signs, or indications. We do not use words, and we do communicate through gestures, body language, posture, facial expression, eye contact, and other ways. It is very important communication because it can contradict our verbal language.
- Verbal communication. It is about how we communicate with words, starting with what type of language we use (educated, technical, informal, vulgar ...), but this the section also includes subjective perceptions of our interlocutor, such as the volume of our voice, "(Not accented) like slurring, using too many fillers terms, or fillers, such as" good "," hey "," this ... " It is necessary to be clear, concrete, know how to improvise and vocalize very well, controlling the times in our speech.
All of these skills can be trained. We can work on listening, freeing our mind from thoughts unrelated to what the interlocutor is telling us, and not thinking about what to respond to. Instead, once the other person finishes, we can briefly think about the response based on what we have heard.
Empathy can also be cultivated. It is enough to keep in mind that, behind whatever we hear, there are personal, professional, or other reasons. Knowing what those reasons are is the key to success.
Regarding verbal and non-verbal communication, the work must be continuous. We can practice videotaping ourselves, and then seeing the mistakes we make (talking too fast, hesitating too much, crossing our arms in a negotiation, something that establishes a 'barrier', and so on).
Examples of communication skills
Since we have seen the most important skills, let's now look at a series of communication skills that you can take into account to improve. As you will see, they all involve some of the basic skills that we have described before.
· Be direct. It means being efficient in your speech, without going around the bush and trying to stay focused on the topic at hand. It's a perfect skill for organizing efficient, short-lived meetings.
· Attend to your behavior, that is, know how to listen, respect the turn to speak, be open, know how to generate trust, use rich and appropriate language for the conversation.
· Assertiveness, that is, knowing how to communicate and defend your rights and ideas appropriately and respecting those of others.
· Positive approach, self-confidence (without excesses), and good self-esteem, which will be transmitted not only in verbal language but also in body and non-verbal language.
· Openness and listening, that is, listening even though, a priori, our position is the opposite of that of our interlocutor. Without openness, there will be no understanding.
Patience. It doesn't seem like a communication skill, but it supports all communication-related skills. Without patience, there is no active listening, there are no negotiation skills, our non-verbal communication will give us away and communication will be lost.