Communication can be defined as the ability to actively seek and deliver information, articulate ideas, effectively listen, and connect to various audiences, settings, and situations; it is key to your success in relationships, in the workplace, as a citizen of your country, and across your lifetime. For the purpose of this course, you will focus on developing your skills in professional communication.
In the workplace, communication can be thought of as a problem-solving activity in which individuals may address the following questions:
There are infinite reasons why communicating well is essential in professional settings; however, the following represent some of the primary purposes that effective communication at work can fulfill.
2a. Communication Influences Your Thinking About Yourself and Others
When you communicate, you share meaning in what you say and how you say it, both in oral and written forms. If you could not communicate, what would life be like? A series of never-ending frustrations? Not being able to ask for what you need or even to understand the needs of others?
Being unable to communicate might even mean losing a part of yourself, since you communicate your self-concept - your sense of self and awareness of who you are - in many ways.
EXAMPLEDo you like to write? Do you find it easy to make a phone call to a stranger or to speak to a room full of people? Part of your self-concept may be that you express yourself through texting, or through writing longer documents like essays and research papers, or through the way you speak.
On the other side of the coin, your communication skills help you to understand others— not just their words, but also their tone of voice, their nonverbal gestures, or the format of their written documents. All of these instances of communication provide you with clues about who people are and what their values and priorities may be.
2b. Communication Influences How You Learn
When you were an infant, you learned to talk over a period of many months. When you got older, you didn’t learn to ride a bike or drive a car in one brief moment. You need to begin the process of improving your speaking and writing with the frame of mind that it will require effort, persistence, and self-correction.
You learn to speak in public by first having conversations, then by answering questions and expressing your opinions in class, and finally by preparing and delivering a "stand-up" speech. Similarly, you learn to write by first learning to read, then by actually writing and learning to think critically. Your speaking and writing are reflections of your thoughts, experience, and education. Part of that combination is your level of experience listening to other speakers, reading documents and styles of writing, and studying formats similar to what you aim to produce.
As you study business communication, you may receive suggestions for improvement and clarification from speakers and writers more experienced than yourself. Take their suggestions as challenges to improve; don’t give up when your first speech or first draft does not communicate the message you intend. Stick with it until you get it right. Your success in communicating is a skill that applies to almost every field of work, and it makes a difference in your relationships with others.
2c. Communication Represents You and Your Employer
You want to make a good first impression on your friends and family, instructors, and employer. They all want you to convey a positive image, as it reflects on them.
In your career, you will represent your business or company in spoken and written form. Your professionalism and attention to detail will reflect positively on you and set you up for success.
In both oral and written situations, you will benefit from having the ability to communicate clearly. These are skills you will use for the rest of your life.
Positive improvements in these skills will have a positive impact on your relationships, your prospects for employment, and your ability to make a difference in the world.
2d. Communication Skills Are Desired by Business and Industry
Oral and written communication proficiencies are consistently ranked in the top 10 desirable skills by employer surveys year after year. In fact, high-powered business executives sometimes hire consultants to coach them in sharpening their communication skills.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (2017), the following are the top 10 personal qualities or skills potential employers seek:
Source: This content has been adapted from Lumen Learning's "Why Is It Important to Communicate Well?" tutorial.