The importance of communication skills – all you need to know

Being a good communicator can get you far in life and even further in your career. By constructively sharing ideas and discussing issues with colleagues, managers, and customers, you can increase employee morale, engagement, productivity, and overall satisfaction in the workplace. 

In this article, we’ll look at what it means to be a good communicator and why communication is such an important soft skill in today’s workplace.

The importance of communication skills - Clevry

What are communication skills?

Simply put, communication can be expressed in two ways; verbally and non-verbally.


Verbal communication 

Verbal communication is a way to communicate by speaking or writing. We use verbal communication every day as it’s a way to convey who we are, how we feel, and what we are thinking. Verbal communication comes in useful in many areas of business, such as:

  • Describing tasks to a coworker in detail. 
  • Presenting conclusions to the appropriate parties, such as CEOs and investors 
  • introducing a prospective customer to your brand. This skill is especially important for people working in sales or PR
  • Diplomatically providing feedback and thoughts about your teammate’s work.
  • Seeking clarification from your manager about tasks, feedback, and future plans. 
  • Praising a teammate’s work and highlighting their accomplishments

 

Nonverbal communication 

Nonverbal communication is actually more important than verbal communication. According to Forbes, 38% of communication is expressed by tone of voice, while 55% is expressed through body language. Here are a few tips on how to express positive nonverbal communication in the workplace.  

  • Show that you’re carefully listening to a client or manager as they share ideas or brief you on a task with eye contact and being present in the moment.  
  • Leaning in and nodding your head to illustrate that you understand what’s being discussed.
  • Be aware of your facial expressions. Unlike spoken language, facial expressions are universal. You don’t have to fake positivity, but a smile gets you a long way in the workplace, especially in interviews. According to New Scientist, greeting potential employers or clients with a sullen face can make you appear less likeable than you actually are.   
  • Be open. Avoiding eye contact, crossing your arms, and fidgeting can be interpreted by an employer or a client that you’re unsure of yourself. When it comes to body language, remember to act naturally. People instinctively understand that stressful situations like interviews can make you appear more nervous and closed than normal. But totally disappearing into a shell will not lead to success.     

 

The importance of clear communication in the workplace 

Communication skills can be the difference between success and failure in business. A whopping 86% of employees blame lack of communication for workplace failures, while effective communications skills in the workplace have been cited to improve productivity by 25%. But that’s not all. Clear communication in the workplace has many other benefits, such as:

 

Increased understanding among teams 

Communication is the glue that keeps companies together. Whether you work in a large or small organisation, you must know what is required of you and what other people on your team are doing. 

When everyone is in the know, they avoid misunderstandings, ensure correct information is delivered to the proper parties, and keep projects and workflows running smoothly. Clarifying what’s expected of you with your manager or teammates by verbally asking them or sending a question over Slack or email demonstrates excellent communication skills. It also ensures them you can independently tackle all your assigned work.

Remember, communication is a two-way street, so it’s equally important to give your workmates your time to explain and help clarify anything they are unsure about. 

 

A happier work culture

Strong communication empowers people within organisations. When people know what they are doing is correct, they work with more confidence, resulting in higher levels of productivity and happiness. 

Happiness at work is important, as happy employees are 20% more productive than their unhappy counterparts. So it’s little wonder why companies that promote open communication tend to have happier and more productive employees.    

Organisations where employees feel heard by management feel happier and more valued than those that don’t. This is important, as an estimated 40% of employees today do not feel valued in the workplace. 

 

More transparency and productivity 

Like any community, companies become stronger when people feel they can reach out to their coworkers and build solid working relationships around honesty and good communication. 

The responsibility of creating a healthy work culture is often that of the manager. Managers must encourage staff to ask questions, constructively share concerns about their role or workplace, and help them feel safe enough to share new ideas that benefit the business. 

One study shows that, while companies are looking for new ways to improve, around 82 % of their staff have ideas to help them achieve those goals but often do not share their thoughts. 

 

A higher trust organisation 

When people communicate effectively in the workplace, they secure a culture of trust and accountability. Simple communication tactics such as updating teammates over Slack or Zoom are an effective way to keep people in the loop at a time when remote work and hybrid work are becoming more popular.

According to Harvard Business Review, people at high-trust organisations report having 74 percent less stress, 106 percent more energy at work, 50 percent higher productivity, 13 percent fewer sick days, 76 percent more engagement, 29 percent more life satisfaction, and 40 percent less burnout compared to those at low-trust organisations.

 

The Bottom Line

Effective communicators can make teams stronger, increase productivity and smooth out processes for everyone in an organisation. 

To learn more about your soft skills, why not check out Clevry’s Joy at Work page and learn your workplace strengths with our free assessment.

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