5 communication skills you should develop

In the digital age, effective communication is a more in-demand skill than ever before. Being able to effectively communicate in situations ranging from one-on-one to a group setting, or from in-person to virtual situations will help you in both your personal development and career progression.

At its most basic level, good communication involves both getting your point across as well as understanding the message of others. Here are a few of the most in-demand communication skills that are worth learning or improving.

Writing

Writing is an important and in-demand skill that we use every day. Clear writing helps you get your point across to the reader, avoid confusion or mistakes, and in many cases reach a much larger audience.

At work, you may write emails to colleagues, create copywriting for a client, draft a proposal for your supervisor, or make sales materials for customers. At school, you might write homework assignments or reports, or a resume and cover letter to apply for a job.

Like any skill, writing can be improved through learning and practice. Taking online writing courses and learning writing techniques, tactics, and tips and regularly applying them through practice will help you improve and perfect your content writing.

Presentations

Creating and delivering presentations is a valuable skill for communicating information, ideas, and concepts to an audience. It’s useful to be adept at the most common tool used for creating and delivering presentations, Microsoft PowerPoint.

Yet even more important than presentation software are the skills of knowing what to include and not include on your slides. Being clear and concise, avoiding text overload, and using appropriate visuals for emphasis are all essential in building effective presentations.

As with many communication skills, the best way to improve your presentations is with practice in creating and delivering them along with seeking feedback from experienced presenters.

Public speaking

Like delivering presentations, being effective in speaking before a group is an in-demand skill as well. While public speaking could mean delivering a presentation, it might also mean speaking extemporaneously, moderating a debate or panel, facilitating a large meeting, or teaching a class.

Public speaking can be especially useful if you manage teams or aspire to a senior or executive-level position. Confidence in public speaking will help build trust with your audience.

A proven way to develop your public speaking skills is to start small and speak before just a few people, then work your way up to speaking in front of larger groups.

Active listening and questioning

While many people think the main part of communication is getting your message across, listening can often be even more important.

Effective listening is an active process in which the listener makes a deliberate, conscious decision to understand the speaker’s message and ask thoughtful questions that demonstrate their understanding.

Active listening has many benefits, including building trust between you and the speaker, improving your patience, making you more approachable, and increasing our competence and knowledge.

Storytelling

People love stories and humans have told stories to others since ancient times. Stories have importance beyond simple entertainment. Stories connect, educate, and motivate both the storyteller and the listener.

In business, storytelling can help a company convey purpose, and a company with purpose is admired by customers and respected by competitors. Effective use of storytelling in business can be the basis for creating a marketing strategy, building a brand message, and strengthening customer loyalty.

All the communication skills described above and more can be used in storytelling to help connect companies with their audience, provide meaning and purpose to a company’s brand, and inspire customers.

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