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The Demand for Communication & Analytical Skills
Communication skills are still in demand, along with analytical skills.
There’s been a growing focus on analytical skills and people’s ability to find solutions for problems of advanced complexity.
So much emphasis has been given to analytical skills - such as critical thinking, problem solving and information-to-knowledge conversion - that people don’t pay adequate attention to improving their communication skills. In fact, communication skills, such as the ability to confidently and clearly express an opinion or being convincing, are often considered secondary to allegedly more important skills.
Analytical skills will allow you to efficiently process information and arrive at a solution or conclusion but, without being an eloquent, effective speaker, these findings won’t be of any value to you. That’s why it’s necessary to hone your communication skills so as to be able to take full advantage of your potential in both your professional and personal life.
The following communication skills are in high demand at the present moment and are especially critical in our technology-based world where communication is more pervasive and central than it has ever been, and when you often have only a few seconds to grab someone's attention.
Sticking to the Point
Have you ever talked with someone and felt as if, no matter how much you tried, they just couldn’t focus on the matter at hand? Being focused and staying relevant when discussing a topic is a learned skill. Negotiations often suffer from the lack of this skill. If you cannot understand and focus on the matter at hand, you’re frustrating the person you're talking to and are more likely to reach an impasse.
Give people what they’re after. Understand their expectations, listen to their views, and offer solutions and viewpoints that are pertinent and useful. To achieve this make sure you widen your own focus and move away from your own convictions, to allow room for other opinions to be expressed.
Speaking and Writing with Clarity
Expressing your views with clarity takes practice but, once you achieve this, your conversations will be much smoother. Speaking with clarity gets a point across easily and helps the other people in the conversation empathize with you even if they don’t agree with you. What is more, clarity signifies a series of other skills, such as analytical skills and your ability to explain complex concepts in everyday terms.
Clarity also shows expressiveness. Clarity makes your speech or writing convincing, giving you the upper hand in most negotiation contexts. Improving your vocabulary using software like Ultimate Vocabulary is a good way to gain the skill of speaking and writing with clarity.
The funny thing is that confidence is not something you need to possess to show it. You can pretend to be confident, and still convince everyone that you’re the most confident person in the room! Even if you think you lack public speaking confidence or confidence in one-to-one situations, the good news is that the other person doesn’t need to know that. You can adeptly hide your lack of confidence through a façade of dynamism and poise.
The good news is that by practicing and acting out confidently, you will truly gain confidence in yourself and your abilities, and you'll no longer have to pretend.
For any attempt to communicate, you need to be able to mindfully listen to others. Communication is not solely about what you say, it's also about what others say to you. Many people can seem impatient, giving you the feeling like they think the other people in a conversation have nothing of value to contribute. You definitely don't want to leave this impression. If you don't listen to other people, it makes you appear snobbish and it’s more likely to break down communication and make the other person defensive.
Active listening might seem like a weakness, but in fact it’s a very powerful skill. Listening helps you empathize with the other person and shows how interested and respectful you are of their views - even if you’re strongly against their opinions.
Communication skills cover a wide spectrum of abilities but it's useful to focus a bit on language itself, the heart of communication. To have remarkable communication skills you need to be a master of language. Vocabulary, word choice, syntax, and pronunciation are all things people will judge you by during the conversation.
Your language ought to be engaging, context-appropriate, and effective. This can be partly achieved by varying your language. Pitch, volume and mood should be constantly changed so that you don’t bore your listeners.
Apart from regularly animating your language with colorful and expressive words, you should also pay attention to the visual message you’re sending out. While online communication through email, social media, and other channels doesn’t always require the visual dimension, when talking face to face or through video calls it’s important that your body language fully complements your words.
Have you ever talked with someone who sent out confusing messages? Body language and words need to be in perfect sync. If you’re mad at someone, don’t smile; if you’re congratulating them on an achievement, don’t cross your arms as this shows defensiveness.
Mixed messages can lead to misunderstandings and communication failure. Luckily, your body language, eye contact, posture, gestures, and facial expressions can all be used consciously for amplifying and enriching your verbal communication. Practicing in front of the mirror or in front of loved ones will allow you to improve your body language and make it more expressive.
See also: Non-verbal Communication
Communication is something that helps form the basis of a successful and growing community. Even as the media and channels of communication change and advance, the basic premise remains unvaried. Consciously working on your communication skills will allow you to be more effective in in-person negotiations, close deals more easily, and have a better professional image others will respect and admire.