Improve Your Communication Skills in 2014, Part I

Whether you are a 10-year employee or beginning your career, sharpening your communication skills can take you where you want to go.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook for the Class of 2014, the number one skill that the most-desired employers look for is the ability to work in a team structure. What does it take to effectively work in a team structure? Communication skills top the list.

Beyond working effectively in a team environment, other benefits of improving the way you communicate include:
• Getting what you want
• Building your value in the company
• Increased self-confidence
• Fewer mistakes and less chaos
• Increased productivity
• Effective networking (inside and outside of your company)
• Lasting relationships
• Career advancement

So, what should you consider doing to improve your communication skills?

The essential elements of communication are verbal, nonverbal and written communication. Listening skills and presentation skills round out the list. Let’s first look at strengthening your verbal communication.

Start reading more. It doesn’t matter if they are books you hold in your hand or read on your Kindle. Just read. Look up words if you don’t know their meaning. Read magazines related to business. Subscribe to a couple and commit to reading 3 articles in each magazine. Not only are you building your vocabulary but you are building a knowledge base related to business trends and new ideas. Sign up for Twitter and follow industry leaders and business management gurus. Start sharing what you are reading. Articulate it in a way that makes others want to learn more.

We’ll look at other ways to bolster your communication skills in the next blog. In the meantime, read!