You often hear that one of the best soft skills you can have is “communication.” But what does this entail? What exactly does it mean to be a great communicator in the workplace? These three facets of communication will help you gain confidence and get ahead in your career.
While listening is often considered a separate soft skill in and of itself, it’s essential for being a great communicator. In order to communicate effectively, you must practice active listening. You need to show physical cues throughout conversations. Leaning in, nodding, and other positive body languages will build trust and establish rapport. Additionally, proper listening will allow you to respond appropriately and keep the conversation moving forward. To work on being a better listener in professional situations, practice in your personal life. Commit to listening actively as your spouse tells you about their day or when your kid tells a wild tale about recess. Not only will it help hone your skills in the workplace, but you’ll also simultaneously polish your relationships at home!
This is where confidence comes into play. If you don’t speak with authority, how can you expect others to take you seriously? Again, non-verbal cues are crucial to speaking with authority. Maintain eye contact, pay attention to your posture, and keep from fidgeting. Additionally, avoid verbal cues that will take away from your authority, such as filler words, vocal fry, and rambling. To practice, watch historically great speakers such as Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, and Brené Brown.
Gregarious is defined as “fond of the company of others; sociable.” Showing gregariousness during a conversation more or less translates to enthusiasm. People desire to feel like you want to be talking to them! To be gregarious in conversation (even if it’s not your natural inclination), focus on bringing positive energy, engaging back and forth, and making the other person feel valued. The best way to be more gregarious is just to rip the band-aid off and do it! Try reaching out to people you admire on LinkedIn and set up a Zoom call. You will naturally be excited, so it will be easy for your inner-socialite to shine.
Excellent communication is a learned skill that we all must practice and improve upon daily. By purposefully trying to strengthen these pillars of communication, you will be investing in yourself and your future.
Once you’ve mastered communication, which soft skill will you work on improving next?