The importance of communication skills

We’ve heard about how important communication skills are for us- be it in our personal or professional lives. It’s the cornerstone of human relationships and the very foundation of an organisation or a society. However, we often fail to put forth our thoughts effectively, resolve a conflict or understand people. History shows us that several major wars could have been prevented had there been a little more understanding between the warring parties. This brings us to the question of what communication truly is and why we need to train ourselves to be better communicators.

What is communication?

Communication is a process in which an entity transfers a message to another. A message is intangible and formless and hence quite difficult to pass on. How does one effectively pass on a thought or idea to someone? How do you get the reaction you desire from the other person? This is what makes communication such a complex phenomenon.

What makes communication skills so important?

Communication encompasses everything.

Don’t be mistaken if you think communication necessarily involves words or even people. How did you feel the last time you went for a job interview? Didn’t you observe your surroundings? The décor? The clothes the employees wore? Or what about the last time you met someone new? Sights, sounds and colours send us messages. Most environments are designed with this fact in mind. For instance, fast food restaurants have red logos and décor because that colour makes us hungry. Your clothes will have created an impression of you even before you say anything. This is why it is so important to choose your looks and your mannerisms carefully.

Everything you say matters.

Everything you say and how you say it matters. Choosing the right words at the right time is crucial. Picking the right font size for your email can make all the difference. Small compliments can brighten up your colleague’s day and help you build better relationships at work. Knowing what, when and how to say it is a skill that can be learnt.

Your professional life depends on it.

A job interview is just the beginning. Organisations are made of people and everything you do at your workplace requires interaction. You will need to plan, discuss problems, lead, give instructions and cooperate, amongst other things. If you’re ambitious, you’ll also need to know how to take initiative, be assertive and solve problems. Being good at your job just isn’t enough. An employer hires an employee keeping in mind that s/he will spend eight hours a day regularly with this person. If said person is difficult to work with, it doesn’t matter how skilled they are.

It is a vital like skill.

Being able to communicate is a vital life skill which shouldn’t be overlooked. We meet different kinds of people on a daily basis. You’d talk differently with a five-year-old or a person who doesn’t know your language. Good communication involves building rapport, listening well and providing feedback effectively. There’s a good chance that you’re unaware of the bad communication habits you may have, and that’s why it’s a good idea to improve your skills.

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