What Are Communications Skills And Why Are They Important?

Communication skills refer to the ability to express oneself clearly and effectively, both verbally and in writing, and to listen actively to others. Effective communication is essential in the workplace for a variety of reasons. Good communication promotes productivity, employee morale, and teamwork. When everyone is in sync, projects are completed more efficiently, and employees feel more engaged and invested in their work. Many choose to study communication to learn skills to communicate their ideas and needs effectively and help individuals and organisations to do the same.

The benefits of good communication skills in the workplace 

Some of the benefits of good communication skills include: 

  • Improved productivity. Good communication skills help ensure that tasks are completed efficiently and effectively. When everyone understands their roles and responsibilities and has clear expectations, work projects can be completed on time and within budget.
  • Better employee morale. When employees feel heard and understood, they are more likely to feel invested in their work and committed to the organisation's goals. The importance of communication skills is that they help foster a positive work environment and improve overall employee morale.
  • Enhanced teamwork. Effective communication is the foundation of successful teamwork. When team members can communicate their ideas and concerns effectively, they collaborate more efficiently.      

On the other hand, poor communication leads to misunderstandings, which result in mistakes, missed deadlines, and even conflict. It can cause:

  • Low employee morale. When employees feel unheard or misunderstood, their morale suffers. This leads to reduced productivity and increased turnover.
  • Increased conflict. When communication breaks down, conflicts arise. Poor communication skills lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings, which can ultimately lead to a toxic work environment.

Tips for improving communication skills in the workplace

  • Use clear and concise language. This is one of the most important aspects of effective communication. When communicating with others, avoid using jargon or overly complicated language that can be confusing or difficult to understand. Instead, use language that is simple and straightforward.
  • Practice active listening. This is a critical aspect of effective communication. When communicating with others, make sure to give them your full attention and avoid distractions. Take time to listen to what they are saying and ask clarifying questions if needed.
  • Practice empathetic communication. This involves putting yourself in the other person's shoes and trying to understand their perspective. When communicating with others, try to approach the conversation with an open mind and willingness to understand their point of view.
  • Work on your written communication skills. Written communication is just as important as verbal communication in the workplace. To improve your written communication skills, consider investing in a writing course or grammar-checking software. This helps ensure that your written communication is clear, concise, and free of errors.

The role of technology in workplace communication

Undoubtedly, technology has changed the way we communicate in the workplace. Email, instant messaging, social media platforms and video conferencing have become essential tools for businesses to communicate with their employees and customers. Technology has made it easier for people to communicate across different time zones and locations, allowing businesses to operate on a global scale. Video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Teams have also become essential tools for businesses. They allow employees to hold virtual meetings and collaborate with colleagues, regardless of their location. These platforms became increasingly important during the Covid-19 pandemic, with many businesses adopting remote working.

Keep in mind the following suggestions for using technology to enhance communication: 

  • Choose the right tool for the job. For example, if you need to collaborate on a project with colleagues, using an instant messaging platform may be more efficient than sending emails back and forth.
  • Make sure that everyone is comfortable using the technology. If someone is struggling using a particular platform, provide training or support.

The role of non-verbal communication in the workplace

Non-verbal communication refers to the use of body language, tone of voice, and other non-verbal cues to convey a message. In the workplace, non-verbal communication is just as important as verbal. These include:

  • Body language. This is a key component of non-verbal communication. Simple gestures such as nodding, making eye contact, and smiling can convey a message of understanding and interest. On the other hand, crossing your arms or avoiding eye contact can convey a lack of interest or even hostility.
  • Tone of voice. This is another important aspect of non-verbal communication. The tone of your voice can convey a message of confidence, enthusiasm, or sincerity. It's important to pay attention to the tone of your voice when communicating with others, as it can have a significant impact on how your message is received.
  • Non-verbal cues. Examples of these are facial expressions, posture, and gestures which convey messages, such as a clenched jaw indicating frustration or anger. In the workplace, non-verbal communication can have a significant impact on relationships between colleagues and clients. It's important to be aware of your non-verbal cues and how they may be perceived by others.

Good communication skills are crucial for success in the workplace and can have a positive impact on productivity, employee morale and teamwork. By improving your communication skills, you can become a more effective communicator and build stronger relationships with colleagues and clients, thus achieving greater success in your career. Considering a career in communication? Enquire at the IIE’s Varsity College to learn more about qualifications in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Enquire today and a Student Advisor will contact you to tell you more and answer all your questions.

The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) is South Africa’s largest registered and accredited private provider of higher education. At Varsity College, an educational brand of The IIE we understand that no two students are the same or learn the same. That’s why we make sure a student’s education is shaped around them; how they like to learn, what they are passionate about, what makes them tick, and what makes them thrive. Our Education by Design approach allows students to grow into their best, and creates a space where they can live, learn and play – their way.