Soft Skill: Communication Skills

Effective communication is an indispensable asset for graduates entering the professional world. Mastering this skill empowers you to pitch ideas, build relationships, and make a lasting impact.
Soft Skill: Communication Skills
Editorial Writer
Soft Skill: Communication Skills

Communication is more than just words – it's the bridge that connects ideas, builds relationships, and facilitates understanding. In the context of the workplace, effective communication is essential for conveying ideas clearly, collaborating with team members, resolving conflicts, and presenting yourself confidently. It's a key tool that empowers you to foster positive interactions, gain the trust of colleagues and superiors, and advance your career.

In addition to the professional benefits, strong communication skills also positively impact your personal life! They enable you to navigate conversations, build meaningful connections, and express yourself with clarity and empathy.

Read on for our tips on how you can develop your communication skills as a student and demonstrate them to graduate employers too. 

How to Enhance Your Communication Skills

Developing effective communication skills is an ongoing process that requires self-awareness, practice, and a commitment to improvement. Here are some areas to focus on:

  1. Active Listening 

Develop the habit of attentive listening. Avoid distractions, maintain eye contact, and demonstrate your interest in the speaker's message.

Active listening involves not just hearing the words, but fully engaging with the speaker. To do this, focus on maintaining eye contact, nodding occasionally, and refrain from interrupting or responding prematurely. This demonstrates your genuine interest in understanding the speaker's perspective before offering your own.

      2. Clarity and Conciseness

In the working world, you will have to explain complex concepts or ideas to others. Practice breaking down your thoughts into clear, concise statements. This will not only help you communicate effectively, but also impress potential employers with your ability to simplify intricate information.

During your group projects, club activities, or internships, practice explaining complex ideas to others using simple statements. By avoiding jargon and overly technical language, you ensure that your message is easily understood, making you a more compelling communicator.

     3. Body Language

Body language is a powerful aspect of communication that complements your spoken words. Your nonverbal cues can greatly impact how your message is received. Pay attention to your posture, gestures, and facial expressions, ensuring they align with the message you're conveying.

Practice presenting yourself confidently through your posture, gestures, and facial expressions. These cues can enhance the credibility of your verbal communication. A good tip is to observe how confident speakers behave and then mirror their nonverbal cues to create a more impactful connection with your audience.

     4. Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

Effective communication goes beyond words – it also involves understanding the emotions underlying the conversation. Showing understanding and consideration for others’ perspectives is key to getting your point across and building strong working relationships. People are more likely to listen to you when they feel like you understand them! 

To practice demonstrating empathy and emotional intelligence, actively listen for emotional cues and respond with the appropriate sensitivity. Acknowledge the feelings of others and offer support, particularly in challenging or sensitive discussions. If you are unsure what feelings are at play, you can try directly asking others to describe what they are feeling as well.

    5. Getting  Feedback

The final part is to make sure your listener(s) actually understand what you are trying to get across! Check in with them to ensure they fully understood what you have said. Give them room to ask questions or clarify any doubts or uncertainties they may have. If things are still unclear, then try a different method of getting your point across. 

You should also seek feedback from colleagues, peers, or supervisors and reflect on your interactions.  Get them to identify areas of improvement or how you might be able to better convey your thoughts in the future. This practice will gradually help you identify areas for growth and refine your communication style.

How to Showcase Your Communication Skills to Employers

Throughout the job search process, you will have numerous opportunities to showcase your communication skills to employers. Do your best to make the most of each chance! Here are some suggestions:

  • Job Applications and CVs

Your CV, cover letters, and job application statements are initial opportunities to demonstrate your communication prowess. Write them using clear and concise language. Highlight instances where your communication skills were pivotal, such as leading a team project, presenting complex information, or mediating conflicts. 

Quantify your achievements whenever possible – for example, you could describe how your communication strategies managed to help the team finish a project ahead of the deadline.

  • Job Interviews

Prior to interviews, conduct thorough research on the company and the role. Then showcase your communication skills on the day by tailoring your responses to describe how your skills align with their specific needs, keeping things focused and relevant to your audience. 

Prepare compelling anecdotes that utilize the STAR framework: describe the Situation, the Task you undertook, the Action you executed, and the Result achieved. This structure will help you convey all the necessary information to recruiters in real-world scenarios.

Don’t miss out the chance to ask recruiters questions too! Interviews are all about two-way communication, so take the time to clarify things or clear up any gaps in your understanding.

  • Group Exercises and Assessments

During group activities, focus on collaborative communication. Demonstrate your active listening skills by engaging with others' ideas and building on them. Showcase your ability to contribute constructively by acknowledging differing viewpoints and suggesting solutions that consider everyone's input. 

Ask relevant questions to tease out more information from your quieter groupmates. Keep discussions on track by identifying the real issue on hand and focusing attention on that.

  • Presentations

If you are asked to give a presentation, your communication skills will be judged by: what you say and how, how you sort and order your presentation points, and the content of your slides. Make sure you pay attention to all three aspects.

When presenting, your argument must be persuasive, your delivery style engaging, and your slides should contain just the right amount of information while being easy to read. Maintain confident body language even if you’re feeling nervous, and move your gaze around to make eye contact with your audience instead of focusing on just one spot. 

  • Follow-Up Communications

After interviews or networking events, send personalised follow-up emails. Express your gratitude for the opportunity to connect, mention specific points from the conversation that resonated with you, reiterate your interest in the position or organisation, and ask about possible next steps if there are any. 

Responses like these show that you understand the importance of following up and providing feedback as a listener – both of which are key hallmarks for a good communicator.