Soft Skills Series 2: Communication

William Woods Business

The 2014 GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey revealed that employers who seek recent MBA program graduates are particularly interested in communications skills, especially oral communication, followed by listening. The survey said that “on average, employers ranked communications skills twice as important as managerial skills.”

MindTools’ short quiz can help you gauge your communication skills. But you can also use these five tips to help you make the most out of your conversations.

Listen

It sounds obvious, but many people struggle with attentive listening. During a conversation, do you find yourself focused solely on what you’ll say next or are you paying close attention to what is said? To improve listening try to take notes, make a point of not interrupting, paraphrase what you’ve just heard and ask questions.

Speak

Once it’s your turn to speak, try to be clear and concise, avoid using jargon your audience may not understand, and adjust your tone appropriately to the setting. For long-term improvements, you can read, take a public speaking class, or watch language rich programming such as documentaries, lectures, debates and news.

Observe

Pay attention to your body language, and of those with whom you are speaking with. Body language can signal and reveal a lot about what a person is thinking and feeling so be sure your body language matches the content of your words. To improve body language, practice standing straight, making eye contact and smiling.

Write

Remember that effective communication includes writing. If you find that your written communications such as emails or memos often require clarification, consider rewriting them as an ongoing practice or take a writing workshop.

PS. Don’t forget to proofread!

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