From all the interpersonal skills important in life, communication is undoubtedly of primary import.
Why, you ask?
Well, communication is the basis of all human interaction. It is how we pass information to other people, and in turn, receive and interpret what is being said back to us.
This process is not unique to human beings. Animals–as well as plants–have their own way of communicating with members of their own species, and it is this medium of sharing information and knowledge that allows most species to thrive and survive in the environment.
For human beings, who are social creatures at their most basic level, communication is of even more importance.
Communication is an indispensable component of life, be it in a professional or personal setting.
In the professional setting, effective communication helps enhance employee productivity, boost team-building, and reduces turnover rates. In the personal setting, communication helps foster stronger relationships, build better trust, and provides new opportunities.
We will delve deeper into these points below. But first…
What is communication?
What does communication mean to you?
Now whatever answer you came up with, imagine a world without it, and you will get a pretty decent idea of what communication at its essence means.
A more dictionary-esque definition of communication is ‘Communication is the act or process of transferring information from one place, person or group to another.’
For communication to take place, there must be three essential components: the sender, a medium, and the receiver.
There are many different types of communication. These include:
- Verbal Communication: Sharing of information through verbal means i.e speech.
- Non-Verbal Communication: Community that takes place through means other than spoken language. For instance, body language, eye contact, posture, etc.
- Written Communication: Communication that takes place where the encoding of a message is done in written form i.e through pen and paper.
All three forms of communication play a key role in our life. Two broad areas of life where effective communication skills play a key role are workplace and everyday life. The importance of communication in these two areas has been elaborated on below.
Importance Of Communication In Workplace
1. Increases Employee Productivity
Effective communication enhances employee productivity and motivation. Employees who receive regular communication from leaders tend to be more motivated, interested, and productive than the ones who are left to their own devices and receive a negligible amount of guidance.
Also, effective communication between employees and different departments makes for the smoother functioning of an organization, thereby increasing its overall performance and productivity.
2. Improves Crisis Management
Crisis is an inevitable part of life. It is especially common in workplaces that operate in dangerous or risky environments.
Effective communication is imperative to successfully get through any potential crisis that might occur in the workplace, be it one rooted in the physical world or the mental one.
The key to effective communication during a crisis is to have conversations with the involved stakeholders. Whether it’s our team mates, customers or a third party, we need to build up the ability to listen with intent instead of waiting for our turn to speak. We’ve created an entire video on how we can listen without arguing which we highly recommend you check out:
3. Boosts Knowledge Sharing & Innovation
Knowledge, if kept to oneself and never shared with the world, tends to lose its worth. It is only by sharing ideas, information, and knowledge that one can expand and improve on them, as well as figure out how to apply them to everyday life.
Effective and regular communication, between different departments as well as between the management and employees, is key for sharing & expanding knowledge as well as applying this knowledge for generating innovative ideas.
4. Promotes Team Building
Team building is an essential component of any workplace or organization.
And the basis of this process is communication. It is only through effective, honest, and regular communication that members of a team–be it a permanent or temporary one–can learn to trust each other and work effectively.
Breaking down of communication between members is often a sign of breaking down of a team.
5. Enhances Employee Satisfaction
We all know that consumer satisfaction is imperative for the success of any company. However, equally important is the satisfaction of the employees that contribute to the effective functioning of the organization.
If employees are not allowed to have a voice and feel like their opinions are not being given due importance or simply heard, then there is a drastic drop in employee satisfaction.
This will ultimately lead to the company suffering in the long run, as dissatisfied employees tend to face a decrease in work motivation and overall productivity.
6. Reduces Absenteeism and Turnover Rates
Another reason why communication is of utmost importance in a workplace is that it plays a key role in reducing employee absenteeism as well as decreasing turnover rates.
Employees that receive honest communication tend to feel more valued, involved, and important. Not only this, but relationships are key for making a worker feel more connected to their place of work.
It is only through regular and meaningful communication that employees can build strong relationships with each other, which is of primary importance in any workplace.
Importance Of Communication In Everyday Life
1. Building Trust & Relationships
One of the primary reasons why communication is imperative is because it helps foster stronger relationships and build trust between people.
A key thing to note here is that communication is not a one-way process. That is, while speaking is an essential component of communication, listening is also an indispensable one.
So, if you wish to forge stronger relationships with people, don’t just talk to them, but also listen to what they’re saying.
2. Opens Up New Doors Of Opportunities
Communication is not just a medium to share and receive information, it is also a skill set that is highly appreciated and sought after in all fields of life.
Effective communication skills are given primary importance while selecting job and college applicants.
Not only this, but simply being more effective communicators makes it easier to seek out opportunities yourself, and to grab an opportunity when it presents itself.
3. Develops Your Personality
Another reason why communication is imperative in everyday life is that it helps build and enhance your personality and self.
This is because, through communication, you are better able to navigate the world and exploring new and challenging situations. You also meet new people, many of whom might have different opinions, views, and experiences.
This makes you grow as a person, and discover who you truly are.
4. Helps Solve Conflicts
Communication is the best way to solve any conflict that might arise in your life or relationships.
Not only this, but in most cases, communication is an excellent way to avoid any conflict from arising in the first place.
Communication also helps gain better knowledge and understanding of another person. It helps you get your point across clearly. Effective communication also helps avoid any misunderstanding and to quickly solve any that might arise.
Indeed, effective, honest and regular communication is the basis of any successful and long-term relationship.
5. Helps Express Your Ideas & Personal Needs
Another important reason why communication is so important in life is rooted in the basic definition of communication itself: it helps clearly tell others what you want, and express any ideas you might wish to share with them.
This is not a trivial requirement: if you are unable to express your ideas and wants, you won’t be able to achieve them.
So, say, if you have an awesome idea about how you can level up the trip you’re going to be taking with your friends tomorrow…
Well, you can’t very well do anything about it until you actually tell your friends about it, right?
6. Makes You Stand Out From The Crowd
There are many things that set a leader apart, however, communication is definitely one of the most important skills that you require in your life to become a leader. Think of every great leader from history, and you’ll most likely end up discovering that they were great communicators.
There are many reasons why leaders require good communication skills, and why these skills are in most cases the pre-requisite of landing a leading position in life. Most of these reasons have been listed in the points above.
7. Helps Improve Decision Making
In almost every sphere of life, decision-making is a process that plays a key role. People make decisions every single day for a variety of purposes.
However, the quality of those decisions is not always the same. That is, not every decision that people take will lead to the desired outcome. Sometimes, our decisions might backfire and lead to an undesired outcome as well.
One way of reducing the chances of our decisions leading to undesired–sometimes even negative outcomes–is through developing our communication skills.
This is because, when you communicate effectively, you receive more information than you otherwise would’ve. Not only this, but the quality of your information also increases.
This increase in the quantity and quality of information ultimately leads to the quality of your decision-making to improve, as you now have more information to draw upon before making your decision.
6 Easy Tips To Develop Your Communication Skills
1. Develop Active Listening
Active listening is different than listening or its counterpart, hearing. Active listening not only involves simple listening but also engaging with other people by responding to what they’re saying and asking follow-up questions to show that you’re actually listening.
This process is an excellent way to develop not just your listening abilities, but also boosts the quality as well as the quantity of your interaction with others, which ultimately boosts your communication skills.
2. Ask For Feedback
Another way to develop your communication skills is by asking people about them. And no, we’re not asking you to hand out questionnaires to strangers.
Rather, what we want you to do is reach out to people whom you’re close with and feel comfortable around, and ask them what they feel about your communication with them.
Take into account everything they mention, and use the information to improve the quality of your next interaction.
3. Practice Public Speaking
Public Speaking is a great way to develop your communication skills. This is because the basis of a public speaking event–say, delivering a speech in front of an audience–involves effective communication between the speaker and the audience.
So, don’t pass on any opportunities to speak in front of a crowd, even if the idea seems a little intimidating at first.
In fact, I’d suggest you actually look up public speaking opportunities and begin your journey to become an awesome communicator!
4. Pause Before Speaking
When someone is talking with you or asking you a question, don’t say the first thing that pops up in your mind. Chances are, it doesn’t sound as good in the real world as it did in your head.
Instead, let the other person finish. Pause for a second. Take a moment to understand what they’re actually trying to say. Then respond.
This is a great way not just to boost your communication skills, but to also avoid any misunderstandings from occurring because of ineffective communication.
5. Pay Attention To What Your Body Is Saying
Non-Verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication. However, you’ll be surprised at how many people neglect this important component of public speaking.
In fact, sometimes the body-language language of a person can say even more than what the person is actually saying. Indeed, it can sometimes even contradict a person’s actual words.
So, next time you’re communicating with someone, pay attention to your body language. Ask yourself: what is your posture or eye contact saying that you’re not, and how can you use it more effectively to improve your communication with this person?
For more information on the importance of body language in communication, check out our article on Body Language And Its Contribution To The Process Of Communication.
6. Developing Empathy
Empathy is different from sympathy, as it involves actually putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and seeing the world from their perspective.
It is an essential skill in many areas of life. However, in the world of public speaking, it becomes even more imperative.
This is because understanding how other people feel will help you better understand how to communicate your ideas in such a way that the other person is able to derive more meaning from them. It also helps you improve your understanding of what another person is saying.
There are many ways of developing your empathy.
For example, actually visualizing yourself in someone else’s shoes is one way of improving your empathetic skills.
To sum up, communication skills are imperative in almost all spheres of life. In professional speaking, communication skills are often the basis of the organization itself.
They’re imperative for the smooth functioning of the institution, to improve employee productivity, and to provide them with a better experience, as well as for the overall success of the institution.
In personal life, too, communication skills are essential to foster better relationships, avoiding misunderstandings, achieving a better position, and growing and developing as an individual.
Thus, it would not be erroneous to say that the importance of communication skills goes beyond merely effective communication.