Last Updated on January 21, 2023 by Administrator
“Good communication skills” is a commonly touted skill on most CVs. Unfortunately however, not many people actually know what it means, much less practice good or effective communication.
Schools teach Communication Skills as a course or subject separately and differently from English or other languages in school for a reason, and that is because Communication Skills is not about grammar, literacy or proficiency in a language as most people believe, even though it may include that.
Good Communication Skills is the ability and tendency to, in a proper, adequate and timely manner, give information or feedback and listen to information or feedback, and the ability to understand or properly handle such information or feedback.
There are 3 main aspects of effective communication; receiving information, decoding information and giving information or feedback, and they work in a cycle.
Practicing Good Communication
What does the above mean? Good communication skills is about:
- INFORMING/GIVING FEEDBACK properly and adequately, including knowing:
- WHEN to give feedback or information, ensuring it’s timely with respect to the matter in question
- WHAT feedback or information to give, ensuring it is relevant or coherent
- HOW to give feedback or information, knowing your audience and environment
- HOW MUCH feedback or information to give, to help your audience understand you
- LISTENING (most importantly), receiving or allowing communication from others
- UNDERSTANDING communication from others; be it verbal or non-verbal. E.g. body language or other cues
- RESPECTING what is communicated. E.g. by following through, or giving feedback otherwise
For example, one fails at communication if they DO NOT:
- Receive communication, e.g. by cutting people off or not allowing them to speak, or
- Pay proper attention to people who are communicating with them, or
- Understand what is communicated to them, but does not make the effort to, e.g. by asking questions, or
- Give relevant and sufficient feedback or response to people when they are communicated with; be it a positive, negative or neutral response, as long as a response is lacking
Even if it is with just one of the above. Communication also fails when one person is practicing good communication skills and another is not; it requires all parties to have good communication skills.
Communication Skills as a course or subject explores the various to do, and ensure all of the above in a community; which is something we cannot cover completely in this article.
Importance of Good Communication Skills
Communication is critical to social interaction and society in general. It is essential to building any good relationship be it in business or international relations, at the workplace or home, in friendships or any aspect of society. Most problems in society, from personal squabbles to work challenges, civil unrest, wars and more, when examined carefully reveal at the heart, a failure of communication in either of the three main areas, on someone’s part. That is why effective communication is so important in society and to all institutions. Poor communication makes working with others difficult and costly.
Effective communication on the other hand, as simple as it is to achieve, develops people, organisations and entire nations. Development is largely facilitated by our ability to connect with others, share information and understand each other and many nations owe their development to this. The Internet also shows how the ability to communicate and share information creates opportunities.
Communication is one of the things that makes us, humans, intelligent beings, and when we fail at it we fail at a core skill that qualifies us above other species. It is no mistake that naturally the more advanced a species the better their means of communication.
It is of utmost importance for members of any society understand and appreciate the importance of good communication skills, to teach it, and to apply it generously in society.
Good communication skills is a habit that one must develop over time through conscious effort i.e., constantly reminding oneself to LISTEN, UNDERSTAND and RESPOND/INFORM as we engage with others.