The lack of communication and soft skills can contribute to a lack of advancement for an employee within the workforce. Researchers prove that having hard skills alone without good communication skills may hinder a potential employee’s progress towards achieving a much higher hierarchy. Mastering these soft communication skills may improve one’s standing within the organization and further develop their career in the future.
Let’s talk about the problem
Since the 1980’s the importance of communication skills and soft skills has been foreseen as a critical skill required in the job market and substantial in achieving a higher professional career. In the current economy, lack of English proficiency and communication skills are currently contributing to Malaysia’s high unemployment rate among fresh graduates. Communication development has a vital role in creating employability skills for fresh graduates. Most of Malaysia’s job advertisements commonly cited excellent communication skills as a predetermined requirement that includes good language proficiency, communicative skill, and interpersonal skills. Today’s employers look to the extent of communication, both oral and written, in recruiting and evaluating applicants, incredibly fresh graduate students and the promotion of existing employees. Employers are currently more interested in employing graduates with certain significant skills such as communication skills rather than hiring graduates with only a specific set of hard skills. This proves that with the growing competition for placement within the workforce, hard skills alone does not guarantee a graduate’s place within the workforce and it recommends that more emphasis must be on the development of these communication skills.
What defines a good communicator?
Communication competence is fundamental for an individual that can be accumulated through life, professional training and everyday experiences through interaction with other individuals. Communicative competence comprises oral skills and other means such as listening, emotions, empathy and ethics. Communication competence can also be seen through nonverbal communication such as body language, face mimics, gestures and visual eye contact. A good communicator has the capacity to communicate, convey information, ideas, and reports pertinently and professionally and respond through different mediums, the scope of audience and fitting language. But how would we know a good communicator and a bad one? How does one define a good communicator? One of the fundamental issues regarding communication skills is the method to rate an individual’s level of communication competence. A method used to measure communication skills is by using the Conversational Skills Rating Scale (CSRS). CSRS was created in 1984 developed by Spitzberg and Cupach in response to several particular problems in assessing interpersonal communication skills. CSRS has now been used in various disciplines, thereby providing a utility as a research and assessment instrument to access communication skills. Using CSRS as a guide, we can now have a framework on how communication should be in the workplace by providing tips on how to communicate better within a working environment. Communication is intended to support team development and daily operations in many manufacturing industry contexts. Employees who have good ideas must be able to communicate these ideas effectively to sell them to clients. It can be further added that employers across a range of manufacturing industries mention that employees without adequate communication skills have more difficulty doing their tasks.
How to become a good communicator in the workplace
Here are some tips to become a better communicator in the workplace.
Speaking Rate: When communicating within the workspace, speak neither too fast (e.g., words per minute) nor too slowly as not to disrupt the receiver’s comprehension and/or response.
Speaking Fluency: When speaking, avoid speech instabilities such as stuttering, omissions, repetition of words or obvious pause fillers such as “uh, um, er, ah, etc”.
Vocal Confidence: Show paralinguistic firmness, calmness, and steadiness of expression when speaking to others.
Articulation: When speaking, pronounce words in a way that they are easy to understand by others.
Vocal Variety: When speaking to others, have various pitches, tones, and ranges of verbal utterance. This shows that you are interested in the topic you are conveying.
Speaking Volume: Speak at an audible but not extreme level; with no strain or distraction of attention.
Posture: Try to exhibit a comfortable posture when speaking and adapt your body to the audience. Don’t frequently shift your posture as it will look like you are uncomfortable.
Use of Gestures: When talking and presenting to others it is always good to show hand, arm, and head movements to compliment and/or elaborate words.
Use of Eye Contact: When communicating with other use direct eye contact in accordance with expressive and regulatory standards of conversation and context.
Smiling and Laughing: To enhance engagement use jokes, puns, double-entendre, stories, characterization, etc to elaborate on the topic to the receiver. Don’t let people think you’re boring!
Effective communication skills typically result in friendships with more meaningful, rewarding interactions with people on and off the job and increased capability to meet individual desires. Communication requires a personal touch, establishing a direct relationship, keeping secrets, gaining mutual understanding, and avoiding complications; communication is more effective. It can be seen that communication skills are essential because, with good communication skills, an individual can help develop other soft skills, such as social skills and leadership skills. Individuals with effective communication skills are capable of adaptability, ethics, empathy, emotional monitoring, and intellectual complexity. It, in turn, makes these individuals excellent leaders, commanding respect and admiration from the subordinates and peers. This statement proves that Communication Skills are an essential skill and critical to demonstrate interpersonal competence, and communication effectiveness is a necessary trait for managerial and career advancement.