Good Communication Skills
Are Communication Skills The same as Interpersonal Communication Skills or Social Communication Skills?
No. As discussed before, interpersonal communication skills refer to communication between 2 or 3 people, at most. Social skills, on the other hand, refer to communicating to a large group of people. It’s also good to remembering that although both skills are desirable, they are somewhat independent from each other.
But How Different Are Communication skills Compared to The Other Two?
Communication skills, as you can probably see, refers to something much broader than interpersonal skills or social communication skills: they mean to represent abstract ideas from your head as something concrete (music, poetry, a newspaper article, an email, and so on). The concern of communicating something to someone dates back from Greek philosopher Aristotle, when he writes about the rhetoric art (Τέχνη ρητορική, literally “The art of Rhetoric“), and about literary theory (Περί ποιητικής, roughly translated as “About Poetics”, in which Aristotle originally refers to “poetry”). In these books, dating back from around the 4th century B.C.E, Aristotle talks about the importance of dialog and persuasion – among many other things we take for granted today.
Four Benefits of Having Good Communication Skills
1. Good communication skills ensure that your message will be delivered as you intended, reducing any chances of misunderstandings.
Consider the following (spoken) dialog:
John: Jane, I need you to write a report about the company’s income.
Jane: Um… OK.
(1 hour later…)
Jane: Done. Here it is.
John: Jane, uh… this is not right. You wrote me an MS-Word report. But see, I needed an Excel spreadsheet. And why did you get me a Form 10-Q? I need an annual report!
Jane (angry): John, I’m terribly sorry, but you didn’t tell me you wanted a spreadsheet report, and you didn’t tell me you needed an annual report. I just don’t have the time to do it again. Excuse me.
John: Damn… am I supposed to spell things out now?
Sorry John, but you must be as crystal-clear as you can possibly be – unless, of course, that type of report was some sort of company routine. But by your conversation, it clearly wasn’t, was it?
As you can see, dear reader, it’s no wonder companies lose a lot of money: vague communication like this certainly might cost companies million of dollars, as miscommunication delays the completion of critical tasks – and, of course, possibly ruining carefully-engineered projects in the process.
2. Good communication skills improve the motivation of co-workers and employees.
Pretend this is an email message:
From: Grumpy Boss
To: Joe Employee
Joe, your presentation sucks. Redo it.
Now imagine, instead, the same thing said in a different way:
From: Nice Boss
To: Joe Employee
Joe, unfortunately this presentation isn’t very clear about the company’s goals. Can you please rewrite this paragraph to make them clearer? Also, this template is really nice, but it doesn’t fit the mood of the presentation. Can you change the layout to something more modern?
Can you spot the difference? The intention of the message is the same – tell Joe Employee that his report wasn’t good. However, because the second message is much more polite and clear, chances are Joe Employee won’t mind fixing the presentation; this also means he has a much better chance of getting things right now. See how a few words here and there change everything for the better?
3. Good communication skills improve work relationships.
Did you just see how nice the message from “Nice Boss” was? Chances are that Joe will think of “Nice Boss” as someone great to work with – if this happens, Joe will do his tasks faster and more willingly. Again, can you see how good communication saves you time, money, and improves your reputation at little to no cost?
4. Good communication skills are impressive.
If you know how to communicate well to others, there’s no need to try too hard to impress them – they’ll admire you naturally; they may admire you so much, indeed, that you may get a higher position in your company or a job that pays much better (because even your competitor will admire you!) But who knows? The only thing certain here is that if you communicate well, you’ll be in a win-win situation.