Communication skills are consistently listed in the top skills sought after by employers. Data Scientist might be the sexiest job of the 21st century, but without good communication skills, it’s completely ineffective.
And there’s research to back this up. According to Willis Towers Watson, companies that communicate effectively are three and a half times more likely to significantly outperform their industry peers than firms that don’t.
But good communication is a skill. It’s not something we’re all able to do just because we’re capable of speech. Many organisations are made up of poor communicators because they don’t continue to invest in professional development.
This is a critical mistake.
The modern business world moves at an incredible pace. Organisations must take the continued professional development of their workforce seriously in order to stay agile, relevant and competitive. Those who don’t continue to invest in updating and expanding their communications skill set will get left behind.
If you haven’t already, set your New Year’s Resolution to improve communication skills in your organisation. Here are 4 reasons why now’s the time…
1. Better communication means happier customers
This is a no brainer for customer-facing roles. Effective communication means happier (and returning) customers. Why? Because great communicators listen to customers. They’re able to understand what they want and quickly. They’re good diplomats. And they provide the right help at the right time.
These skills are essential for improving the customer experience (CX). According to NewVoiceMedia’s 2018 Serial Switchers report, brands are failing to create the positive, emotional experiences that drive customer loyalty.
63% of respondents said that a positive emotional connection with a customer service agent would make them more likely to do business with that company again.
When asked what constitutes feeling emotionally connected, the following were listed as top factors:
- Ability to reach the company through any channel.
- Access to a highly knowledgeable contact.
- Getting a personalised experience.
These are all aspects of great communication.
But it’s not just customer-facing roles that can benefit from effective communication training.
2. Great communication inspires and motivates others
What about the leaders within your organisation, what sort of communicators are they? Do they motivate and inspire their teams?
Let’s take Apple as an easy example. Steve Jobs was a great communicator. And as such, he was an inspirational figurehead for the trillion dollar company.
Jobs had an awe-inspiring ability to speak with passion. Not only that, he made his ideas understandable and memorable through the power of storytelling.
Jobs walked freely around the stage. He always looked relaxed, personable and engaged. It would seem that it all came so naturally to him. However, he’s known to have spent hours practising his presentations and speeches. It’s true – great communication does take practice.
And don’t forget, Apple was close to bankruptcy in 1997. Steve Jobs turned Apple around by communicating the idea that it was good to be different. That’s what great communication can do.
3. Great communication makes you memorable
The last PowerPoint presentation you attended, can you remember any of the key points? For many of you, the answer is probably no. Far too many team presentations rely heavily on slideshows filled with data that is instantly forgettable.
Great communication can help you to combat the “forgetting curve”. This is the time it takes to forget new information after being told it. And it’s one of the reasons why so many training and development programs aren’t delivering ROI.
Storytelling, as a communication technique, is said to be 22 times more memorable than simply providing facts. Why? Because we’re hardwired to understand information that’s delivered in a story format.
Stories are how we learn as children. They’re how we relate to one another and understand complex concepts. Steve Jobs used them to great effect. In fact, any great communicator you can think of engages their audience by telling a story – whether it’s through words, sound, or visuals.
Stories are the single most impactful way to get your message across, whatever it may be.
Managers need strong communication skills to perform the responsibilities of their role effectively. For example, task delegation, conflict resolution and relationship building are all improved with effective communication.
In a nutshell, when managers are strong communicators, they manage their teams better.
Communication skills are more than simply speaking. Managers that undertake professional communication skills training also learn how to encourage those around them to communicate better. They become a facilitator, opening strong and effective channels around them.
Communication skills training also creates better listeners and team players. Active listening, an essential part of communication, helps colleagues to have more open and useful exchanges. In meetings, great communicators can have more impact and therefore be more efficient with their time. All this leads to a more positive work environment and improved productivity.
Remember: communication skills can always be improved. And with a new year now underway, there’s no better time to focus on team performance and invest in world-class Corporate Communication training. Our program can be tailored to your organisation’s needs to ensure every participant can excel in their roles in 2019.
The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and Coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.
Alison Carter is a facilitator and coach at The Colin James Method® and Inner Profit Pty Ltd, a vibrant leadership development company in Australia. She is a qualified Chartered Accountant who has spent over 15 years in senior financial and communication roles. She now loves to share her passion for the design and delivery of effective and engaging communications.