The Importance of Being a Good Communicator at Work

Plenty of job postings call for good communication skills, but what makes them so important?
The gradsingapore Team
Dawn Yip
Senior Writer
The Importance of Being a Good Communicator at Work

In the time you’ve spent looking for a job, you might’ve noticed that just about every listing will call for at least a handful of soft skills in their list of requirements. But a particularly popular standout is often the request for strong communication skills. It’s so popular that it not only once topped a ranking of most sought-after skills among employers, but a report also found that recruiters were more confident about hiring graduates with limited work experience so long as they were proficient communicators.

But what is it that makes this particular soft skill so important to employers? 

Clear communication, smooth sailing

Your communication skills define how you convey and receive information, interact with others and how you’ll deal with conflict at work. In fact, most of your tasks will likely involve communication in one way or another, ranging from a simple catch-up meeting with your colleagues to pitching a new project to stakeholders. 

But for companies, how well you (and your fellow employees) are able to communicate can make or break their chances of success. With poor communication, time is often wasted in seeking clarity and clearing misunderstandings up, which means less time actually focusing on other tasks. Plus, in more severe scenarios, blunders in communication can lead to broken trust and monetary loss for the company. 


Improving communication skills

Now that you’re aware of its importance, how does one improve their communication skills? For starters, here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to be heard and understood clearly:

1. Be an active listener

Communication is a two-way street, and a big part of being good at it is knowing how to be a good listener too, with about 45% of our time spent doing so. That means making a conscious effort to hear not just the words being spoken, but to understand the concrete message being communicated.

To start, give the other party your undivided attention (put away your phone, etc.), and let them know that you’re listening to them. Simple acknowledgements, whether that’s a simple nod of your head, maintaining eye contact, and asking follow-up questions are great indicators of your engagement in the conversation. 


2. Don't overcomplicate things

In most cases, the best messages are the simplest ones. Not only is it easier to get your point across quickly, but it also makes it much easier for people to understand your key message and in turn, easier for them to remember. 

One way to do this is to write down what you want to say, and try to break it down into key points. If you’re sending an email, you can even break your content down into bullet points for easier readability.


3. Work on your body language

It’s been established that about 55% of meaning is conveyed through body language. In fact, your facial expressions, gestures and body language can (and often do) say more than your words, with people being more likely to believe non-verbal signals over spoken words if the two are mismatched. This in turn can lead to tension, distrust and confusion – which can be especially bad if it’s their first impression of you!

As such, if you want to be a better communicator, it’s important to be aware of not just the body language of others, but your own as well. 


4. Practise emotional awareness

As much as people try to put their personal feelings out of their job, the truth is that emotions can influence the way they communicate, especially strong ones. Being able to understand and manage those feelings, as well as your own, can help stop conflicts and disagreements before they even start, or at least prevent them from escalating further. 


While communication doesn’t always come easy for any of us, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t stop learning how to do better. Remember, effective communication can go a long way in helping to deliver high-quality results, gaining and strengthening valuable relationships and, in time, help make your career development a much smoother journey.