Cover Story Part IV
Cover Story | Part IV: Secret Weapon of Soft Skills - Communications

Secret Weapon of Soft Skills - Communications

Part IV- Secret Weapon of Soft Skills - Communications

One of the best kind of soft skills to master is communications skills. It takes various forms that requires expertise in different contexts and scenarios.

Oral Skills

When most people think about communication, they think about speaking. While this area is only one part of communication, it is a very important one. Speaking well matters, whether you are a manager delivering motivational speeches to inspire your team, a bookkeeper explaining a client’s financial situation, or a public relations specialist interacting with members of the media.

Having good public speaking skills helps you to talk to others and persuade them from your brand’s point of view. Your speaking skills will help you to command others’ attention. You can showcase your excellent speaking skills while promoting your personal brand, so make the most of the opportunity.

Telephone Skills

You will not have the pleasure or ease of meeting everyone whom you want to pitch your personal brand to in person. Half of the time, it may be on the phone or via e-mail.

While good speaking skills go some way toward enabling you to be competent on the telephone, phone communication skills are skills unto their own. Without the visual cues of face-to-face communication, telephone speakers must take pointers from what they are hearing and express themselves only through their voices.

The more you use the telephone, the more comfortable you will feel. Try to resist the urge to simply text friends or inquire about something through customer service online. Pick up the phone to communicate instead.

Listening Skills

Sounds ironic when you think of communicating as speaking, but it also entails the other spectrum of communication – listening.

While speaking to others is important, you cannot claim to be a good communicator unless you have good listening skills. One of the best ways to listen is a process called active listening because it reinforces what a speaker has said to you. Active listening helps clear up any areas of confusion and highlights the message in the listener’s mind. You can improve your active listening skills by practising it when someone speaks to you, whether it is at work or during your leisure time:

  • Focus on what the speaker says.
  • Notice the speaker’s body language.
  • Wait for the speaker to finish, without interrupting.
  • Ask questions to clarify any unclear points.
  • Repeat the message you heard back to the speaker. Phrases such as “I understand you want to ...” and “What you are saying is ...” are good starting points.

People love when others listen to them. When you demonstrate active listening, you are making others feel valued. You are also learning what they need from you, which will help to fine-tune your brand as you go along.

Written Skills

While spoken communication is important, communicating using the written word is important in many instances, especially when you communicate via e-mail to stakeholders, clients, or those who determine if you are hired or accepted.

Practice is one of the best ways to become a better writer. Start writing regularly on a blog or in a journal, and you will find the process becoming less daunting and starting to feel more natural. Focus on your ideas flowing smoothly as well as technical aspects such as grammar and spelling. You may also want to enrol into a writing course if you feel your writing needs some special attention. Free online specialist business and technical writing courses are good considerations.

Searching for a job will give you plenty of opportunities to showcase your written skills. Write a custom cover letter for each position you apply for consideration. Make sure the letter is persuasive, concise, and free of spelling or grammatical errors that could undermine your application.

Show a prospective employer that you have mastered these communication skills, and you will prove that you and your brand could be an asset to any place of business operating in any industry.