Part II: Improving Communication

Communication skills are among the top 5 in-demand soft skills that employers always look for, according to research from the National Soft Skill Association. As a matter of fact, 77% of employers on CareerBuilder listed soft skills in their job requirements. With good communication skills being in high demand, it only makes sense that we discuss how to improve our communication and make it more effective. For Part II of our series, let’s talk about some methods for crafting better written and oral communication skills that are sure to impress your employer.

In order to honor Presidents’ Day, communication seemed right on the money for this week’s series. After all, what is something most of our world leaders have in common?

That’s right, you guessed it. Impeccable communication skills.

Those lengthy and memorable speeches that captivate audiences around the world are highly-curated skills, embedded with great tone and physical punctuation.

A skill that anyone can learn.

Before we dive deep into improving our communication skills, we must fully understand a few things. First, what is communication? While there are many general interpretations of this definition, we prefer the explanation at its simplest level: the transfer of information via a message between a sender and a receiver. Notice this doesn’t mention the method of communication, such as writing or speaking. That is because we communicate in many ways. Communication can be further broken down into five types:

  • Written Communication
  • Oral Communication
  • Nonverbal and Visual Communication
  • Active Listening
  • Contextual Communication

Being an effective communicator in terms of business generally falls into several categories. When conducting business, it is highly important to follow these general guidelines to avoid any business or social indiscretions. For most of us, we often use written communication when it comes to business for one main reason: email. Companies revolve around emails and ensuring proper etiquette can add to your growing list of soft skills.

Be Clear & Concise

When we write emails, most of us make the mistake of being all too informal and include more than the necessary amount of relevant information. For example, you have several questions for your boss regarding this week’s projects and you also must review quarterly projections. Rather than list out 8-10 questions in an email, perhaps it makes more sense to set up a meeting and get some face-to-face time with your boss. This will be a less overwhelming way to carry out business over a rigid, lengthy email.

Avoid Emotion

Another major point to remember is to avoid the overuse of emotion. After all, this is a business email and unless your purpose is to persuade, you want to leave strong feelings out of the equation. Generally, these emails are not a good time to experiment with smiley faces and exclamation points. Some common mistakes include the use of emoticons, typing in all caps, and not using a neutral tone.

Install Grammarly

Grammarly is by far one of the most useful tools in my repertoire. It follows me from browser searches and online applications all the way to my email client. The free version is so useful for correcting grammar and spelling along with eliminating unnecessary additional text to improve your overall clarity. There are also options to adjust for your desired overall tone.

Better communication is just one essential and in-demand soft skill. We foster these and other soft skills in all our virtual learning environments by exposing students to one another and encouraging open communication and respecting boundaries. Click here to learn more about our new virtual STEAM Club and how we can add to your child’s communication skills today.

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