Communication skills are crucial to your success in our new digital world.
For one, we’re collaborating more than ever. Ideas, information and feelings need to be accurately exchanged. Moreover, we’re all broadcasters now. Each of a us a brand, telling our story. And we’ve got a dizzying number of platforms through which to communicate.
On top of that, it’s all moving so fast. In today’s world you need to communicate quickly and efficiently.
Communication Skills Are Thinking Skills
Perhaps the most important skill is the ability to boil down your ideas to their essence. You need to make things clear, simple and logical. This requires some mastery of abstract and critical thinking.
Communication Skills are Writing Skills
Related to your critical thinking skills is your ability to write. As the saying goes, you don’t really know what you think until you write it down.
This is more important than ever because we’re writing more than ever: emails, tweets, presentations, blog posts, you name it. Even video, which we think of as a visual medium, is actually a narrative medium. Its power lies in how well it’s written.
Communication Skills are Design Skills
In our new world we’re not only communicating in words. We’re also communicating with pictures and graphics. Here too you need to learn how to reduce a whole host of data down to its core. That means understanding the logic of design and developing a coherent design point-of-view.
Communications Skills are Creative Skills
Your ability to think, write and design can be thought of as creative skills. But being creative is more than that. It’s also the ability to suspend judgement. You need to be able to move forward on a task or project when you’re not sure exactly where you’re heading. It’s about being comfortable with experimentation and uncertainty.
And it means being able make decisions. Decision-making is what enables you to turn a jumble of ideas into a coherent communication.
Communication Skills Are Technological Skills
You can’t connect with others without understanding the technologies you’re using to communicate. That means knowing creative technologies like Adobe’s Creative Suite. Publishing platforms like WordPress. Broadcasting tools like Ustream. Social media tools like Hoot Suite. And of course, SEO.
You also need to understand how your communication is performing. You should be familiar with tools like Google Analytics or StatCounter.
Communication Skills Are Emotional Skills
Now we’re getting into the skill broadly known as emotional intelligence. This is about understanding the tonality of what you’re communicating. It means understanding who your audience is and how it feels.
All In All, Communication Skills are Leadership Skills
The job of a leader is to have a vision of where things are headed and to communicate it effectively. Forming that vision can be viewed as an act of communicating with oneself. As I noted earlier, you don’t really know what you think until you write it down. Your ideas are just a mess of stuff until you create something concrete.
Then comes the task of sharing that vision with your company or followers or partners. This requires employing all of the communication skills I’ve outlined above.
Fortunately Communication Skills Can Be Learned
Mastering all of these skills might seem overwhelming. Fortunately you can learn them. To some degree they are variants of one another. Master one, and the others will come a lot easier.
Moreover, the more you practice the better you’ll get.
Just start right now, at whatever level you are. I guarantee you’ll be more successful in short order.
The Creative Organization can create a customized Communications Skills course just for you.