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Communication skills definition says that these are both verbal and non-verbal interpersonal skills that influence the quality of information flow. They determine the ease of establishing and maintaining relations with others. Communication skills belong to the category of soft skills, more specifically interpersonal skills. They consist of many abilities that affect establishing, developing and maintaining relationships with other people.
Such skills are a remarkable asset for any workplace. Good relationships between employees contribute to effective work and a healthy atmosphere. This makes them extremely important for any workplace. Why? It’s because communication skills can affect workflow, safety, moods and morale of employees, and all of these impact the overall success of a company. Communication skills can be innate (e.g. the ability to carry on small talk) and acquired (like the ability to speak different languages). The proficiency of communication skills may be related to character traits, nevertheless, communication skills, just like many other skills, can be acquired, developed and improved.
In this article, you will learn types of communication as well as communication skills examples, including CV skills examples for specific jobs. We will also talk about the importance of communication skills for career development and how to improve communication skills for personal and professional growth.
Communication skills examples
Communication is a broad umbrella term consisting of many synergetic elements. The combination of these components allows you to interact more effectively not only in the workplace but also in your private life. What's more, it will improve the quality of your interactions. They can highly improve your performance and even increase the chances of getting hired. After all, your CV, cover letter and job interview, all require you to showcase your skills! See the list of communication skills and their definitions below.
Listening is one of the fundamental elements of communication and key interpersonal skill. It is by being a good listener that we can better understand the gist of many issues and prevent potential misunderstandings or conflicts. Active listening includes focusing on the conversation and listening with understanding, asking questions to confirm you have a good understanding, asking for further clarification when in doubt.
Choosing the right channel
With today's communication options, choosing the right medium is vital. Team members can be contacted personally in a face-to-face conversation or team meeting, but also by phone call, video call, email, message on an office communicator, etc. All this multitude of possibilities includes written or verbal communication. The medium you choose to communicate messages at work can determine the impact of your message and its effectiveness. Sometimes a brief, informative email can bring a better outcome than an hour long team meeting.
Among the various interpersonal skills, body language is one of those less obvious communication skills. Body language includes movements, gestures, facial expressions and even the frequency of eye contact. Your body language can affect how you are perceived by the person you are talking to. Many recruiters pay close attention to the body language during job interviews. How you behave during a conversation can give your counterpart information about your level of interest or reaction to their message.
The ability to evaluate objectively and give effective feedback without creating feelings of frustration or injustice is a very important quality, especially for those in management positions or aspiring to such positions. Feedback, used skilfully, is a great tool for development and learning. Both the ability to formulate constructive, objective feedback and the ability to receive it in a professional, open manner are important.
Not everyone has to like you - that's a fact - but by being polite and friendly you will find it much easier to make connections and build honest relations. Friendliness in the workplace translates into a healthy, open atmosphere. A positive attitude helps communication and enables accurate reception of information without bias. This in turn contributes to building mutual respect.
Communication skills to put on a CV
In some professions, communication skills play a particularly important role. Imagine the importance of being able to communicate clearly verbally and speak in front of a group in the teaching profession. Empathy and active listening, further interpersonal skills that facilitate effective communication, are crucial in the professions of therapists and psychologists.
That said, usually when writing a CV, you include 6-8 different skills (both hard and soft) in the skills section. Most often people just give a broad term: communication skills, and then elaborate a little more on them only in the cover letter.
Remember that both your CV and cover letter are your first form of communication with a potential employer and therefore an opportunity to demonstrate well-developed presentation and verbal (in this case written) communication skills. Plus, both the CV skills section and a personal statement are perfect opportunities to mention your communication skills
Communication skills examples for a teacher:
- Active listening
- Giving constructive, objective feedback
- Public speaking
- Visual communication: effective using of charts, graphs, images
- Choosing the most appropriate and effective medium of communication for the audience
Communication skills examples for a branch manager:
- Maintaining an efficient workflow by delegating tasks effectively
- Monitoring the performance through reports
- Mediations and problem solving
- Body language: both observing others’ behaviour and controlling your own gestures and movements
- Ability to establish and maintain the authoritative position.
Communication skills examples for a personal assistant:
- Excellent phone etiquette
- Good command of the spoken and written language
- Proficiency in minute-taking
Communication skills examples for a receptionist:
- Ability to provide clear, precise information
- Proficiency in providing and receiving information by phone (for example booking details)
- Active listening
- Patience and friendliness
- Good writing and editing skills to manage professional mail
Communication skills examples for a babysitter:
- Active listening
- Ability to adapt the message to the age of the recipient
- Mediation and negotiation
- Non-verbal communication
- Objective, constructive feedback
Communication skills examples for a mortgage broker:
- Eloquence and assertiveness
- Excellent written communication
- Impeccable phone communication
- Ability to analyse information and draw conclusions quickly
- Mediation and negotiation
Communication skills examples for a bartender:
- Friendliness and the ability to conduct small talk
- Persuasion and upselling skills
- Active listening
- Ability to receive information in difficult circumstances (noise, bad pronunciation)
- Decisiveness and assertiveness
Communication skills examples for a bookkeeper:
- Drafting reports
- Excellent written skills – managing professional mail
- Empathy and great customer contact
- Ability to adapt information to the recipient’s level of expertise
- Command of technical vocabulary
Communication skills examples for a sales assistant:
- Friendliness and approachability
- Eloquence and upselling skills
- Good presentation and public speaking skills
- Persuasion and negotiation
- Good command of written and spoken communication
Types of communication skills in a workplace
The issue of communication is such a fascinating topic that many people decide to further explore it. Recruiters look for them in candidates’ CVs and employers expect well-developed communication skills from their employees. Because communication and related skills are so crucial and affect many aspects of work and private life, several types of effective communication have been identified.
Most commonly, due to the medium of communication, we distinguish:
- verbal communication skills, during which we use words. It covers both spoken and written communication and includes skills such as public speaking, formulating text messages, conversation etc.
- non-verbal communication includes sending a message by the use of gestures, movements, facial expressions, graphics and observation of behaviour to convey a message.
To utilise our social skills, we use various channels. The appropriate channel usually is chosen based on the type of message, its priority, receiver and other, more situation-specific factors. We use different channels to send different kinds of communication. Speaking of which, communication in a workplace can be divided as follows:
- formal communication includes all interactions between employees through formal channels. This formal communication can take place along the management chain, e.g. passing tasks from the manager to the employees or reporting to the superior. Then we talk about vertical communication. On the other hand, formal communication between departments or team members is called horizontal communication
- informal communication includes all information communicated without official channels through the so-called grapevine. We are talking here about rumours and speculative information concerning work. This form of communication usually allows for a fast but uncontrolled flow of information
- unofficial communication, which is the most casual form of communication between employees. Includes any non-work related contact that takes place outside the workplace, for instance when having dinner together.
How to improve communication skills
The ease with which you relate to other people is a result of your personality. For extroverted people, small talk with a stranger in a lift can be an everyday occurrence. Frankly, this is how they often initiate contacts, including the business ones, while for others it would be a scenario straight from a nightmare. But communication skills are much more than just talking to others. Although they are partly the result of character traits, like the interpersonal skills, communication skills can be developed and improved.
To improve communication:
- be respectful and open-minded
- concentrate on the conversation and the information you are receiving
- listen actively – face your counterpart, repeat or paraphrase to make sure you understand
- don’t interrupt when the other person is speaking
- practice giving constructive criticism or feedback, think of the sandwich method (say something positive before and after the criticism to alleviate the recipient’s frustration)
- pay attention to your body language
- read the business press to practice tone of voice and professional vocabulary
- always proofread your emails, messages or reports
- if you need help or further clarification – ask
- use short, precise messages instead of overly elaborate and complicated ones
How to improve listening
The following tips will help you to improve your active listening skills and will translate not only into a better understanding of the information you are receiving, but also into making your interlocutor feel open and respected:
- Face your conversation partner and ensure that you keep an open posture
- Maintain eye contact, don’t look at your watch or phone as you may appear bored or impatient
- Don’t interrupt, but when appropriate, ask questions to make sure you understand
- Focus on what the person is saying. If you have trouble focusing, consider practising mindfulness, e.g. through digital detox or meditation
- Don’t plan your answer in advance. Listen first and then give yourself time to think and come to a conclusion.
How to improve spoken communication
Regardless of the channel, the vast majority of communication at work is verbal spoken communication, and this includes a combination of soft skills that help during small talk but also public speaking, verbal reports, telephone as well as video calls and more.
To improve the quality of your spoken communication skills:
- Work on your diction and volume
- Use short sentences and statements. The longer the sentence, the easier it is to get lost in it
- Observe your audience and adapt your tone and pace to their reactions
- Make sure you are well understood. You can do this, for example, by asking the audience some questions
How to improve written communication
Written communication at work consists of written reports, emails, official letters, chat messages or comments in drafts. To improve the quality of your written communications consider:
- Adjusting the tone of your speech to the medium and the interlocutor: you will formulate an email to a superior differently from a message to a colleague e.g. on Slack
- Using clear messages. Long, convoluted sentences and complicated vocabulary may sound nice, but simple messages are the most effective
- Proofreading your messages. This will help you avoid potential errors or typos
- Reading more business press. This way you will become more familiar with industry-specific jargon and style of expression.
The importance of communication skills
The importance of communication skills is the importance of effective communication itself. It is impossible to establish any kind of relationship with others anywhere, either in personal or professional life, without communication, verbal or otherwise. However, the best flow of communication is possible only if we have two equally engaged parties: the sender and the receiver of the message. This means that for effective communication, the ability to receive the communication correctly is as important as the ability to send it.
Why do the skills requirements in almost all job ads talk about communication skills? Imagine starting a new job, and there is no one to tell you where your desk is, what your tasks or responsibilities are, or how to complete them. What’s more, no one responds to your attempts to make contact. Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? Well, I don’t know about you, but I’d be writing my CV and looking for a new job.
Or another situation, imagine a workplace where your boss or supervisor delegates some assignments by email, some by phone, and others verbally during a coffee break. He or she then sends you additional task requirements – again without paying attention to the contact route or maintaining continuity of communication. Before you know it, you get lost in the number of tasks, deadlines and requirements for each one. Choosing the right channel of communication is such a simple detail that can support or disrupt the performance of a whole team.
Communication skills in the workplace are crucial on a few levels:
To establish working principles – Work would not be possible without communicating the rules of cooperation, the management chain, work techniques, objectives or remuneration. It also helps to identify and support positions of authority. An effective leader is expected to have, among other crucial skills, good communication skills. Examples of communication skills aimed at establishing and maintaining work regulations are the ability to understand a contract or to negotiate its terms and conditions.
To have a good workflow – Effective communication skills facilitate clear, unambiguous information, team management, receiving and delegating tasks, reporting or monitoring results.
To maintain a good working environment – Open, honest communication in a team promotes a good atmosphere, boosts team morale and helps prevent conflicts and problems that otherwise can arise from misinformation.
To ensure safety – Health and safety rules are very important for the well-being and comfort of workers. Workplace safety messages are communicated using a range of communication skills: from verbal, during initial safety training, to written, such as emergency exit signs, to non-verbal (drawings, icons, colour coding).
Good communications skills - key takeaway
Now that you have learned communication skills examples, you will certainly have a better understanding of the definition and importance of communication skills. What you should remember after reading this article is that communication skills can be divided into verbal and non verbal communication skills.
Verbal communication skills include written and spoken skills, such as effective telephone contact with customers, mediation or leading team meetings. Non-verbal communication skills involve using body language, gestures, symbols or colours to convey messages.
Communication skills, like many other CV skills, can be developed and improved through training.
Good communication skills are crucial for exchanging information and maintaining a smooth workflow.
SEO Content Writer, Translator
Jagoda Obszarska is a certified copywriter, Polish language translator and career advice expert. She never stops improving her skills and learning new things. Over the years, she has worked as a copywriter and translator with people from over 50 countries worldwide and completed nearly a thousand projects.