Communication skills are high on the list of essentials for many recruiters and employers today. But these very skills can also hold people back from growing in their careers. Research commissioned by Logitech a few years ago found that nearly 32% of British workers “would consider calling in sick or feigning an emergency to get out of presenting at work.” Interestingly, despite these fears, two-thirds of people said that being a good presenter could help them earn up to 15% more.
Both research and experts agree that communication is one soft skill that can help give you more authority and credibility. In this article we look at research-backed reasons why communication skills can help you in all areas of your career.
Enhance Your Professional Success
As more workplaces embrace diversity and collaboration, communication and interpersonal skills are as important for graduates securing their first job as they are for seasoned professionals striving to further their careers.
According to recruitment experts Hays, ‘strong interpersonal and communication skills’ is one of the top 5 soft skills that employers today are seeking.
Effective communication skills can also help you build your profile in organisations where there may be other high performers competing for promotion opportunities and leadership positions.
According to IBM’s executive research titled Advancing Women at IBM, one of the ways to build your own distinct identity in a crowded corporate setting is by volunteering for speaking engagements, press interviews and panel discussions. Your ability to communicate and present with confidence, credibility and impact is clearly a crucial skill if you want to stand out in a crowd and get ahead of the pack.
Create a Lasting Impression at Business Presentations, Pitches and Events
These days, if you want to progress your career as a senior executive, no longer can you get by on technical skills and acute business sense alone. You also need to be able to sell, market, network and negotiate with the best – and to do this well, you must be a good communicator.
In a survey by Barco, a networked visualisation solutions provider, 95% of respondents said that presenting well has a wider impact on a person’s career. 60% of people said a successful presentation can help build one’s personal reputation, whilst 45% of people said that a strong presentation had helped them win new business. Finally, 50% of those surveyed believed impactful presenting skills could boost their organisation’s profile.
Ultimately, effective communication and presentation skills can help drive success at at every level – personal, professional and business.
Improve Your Persuasion Skills
Being comfortable and confident presenting to an audience – be it to one person or 1,000 – means you are far more likely to get others onboard with your ideas. Whether you are promoting the benefits of a new software program to your team, trying to get support from senior executives to fund a significant project or looking to persuade your clients to ‘sign up’ for your latest product/service/solution, your success lies largely in how you deliver the message.
With this in mind, it’s hardly surprising that in a recent LinkedIn survey that rated the top 10 most in-demand soft skills, Communication Skills topped the list.
In a survey by HBR 332,860 professionals were asked which skills ‘have the greatest impact on a leader’s success’ and all of the top five – Inspires Others, Honest, Problem Solves, Results Driven and Powerful Communicator – are all skills that are integral to influencing and persuading others.
Become a Better Networker
If you’re someone who finds networking difficult (or even terrifying), improving your communication and presentation skills can make a huge difference. It will give you the confidence to strike up or join a conversation, even with people who are more senior to you or with those that are thought-leaders in your industry. Having the self-belief that you are an effective communicator will help you share your thoughts or ideas without fear.
In the 2018 Workplace Learning Report, communication skills was rated by executives second (only behind leadership) as the most important skill for employees to learn. When you communicate well, there’s a better chance of you getting noticed by the right people and making connections that matter. You’ll also expand your knowledge – instead of staying on the outer edge and missing out on all the opportunities in the room.
Progress Your Career Faster
With technology driving rapid change and remote working becoming the norm, the future of work will undoubtedly look quite different to how it does today.
For this reason, employers are now placing a higher value on the human qualities that cannot be automated or performed by machines, as these ‘soft skills’ will remain relevant in the face of technological change.
In the many studies and surveys rating the most in-demand soft skills employers are looking for in their people, communication is always right up there on the list.
In a recent analysis by online learning provider Udemy, communication was ranked in the top 5 soft skills for the future of work. Other skills ranked highly were conflict management, time management, and stress management.
Investing in Learning and Development can be a Game-changer
While much is changing in the world of business, the importance of communication skills in the workplace remains the same. So, if you’re still wondering if better communication skills will have a tangible impact for your people and your business, invest in world-class training and you’ll see, and hear, the difference for yourself!
Could your team benefit from developing their communication and presentation skills? secondnature’s practical and specialised suite of business presentation skills programmes can help your people take their skills to the next level and achieve powerful and long-lasting results.
To find out more, contact our team today.
Written By Belinda Huckle
Founder and Managing DirectorRead Bio
Belinda is the founder and managing director of secondnature. With a determination to drive a paradigm shift in the delivery of presentation skills training, she is a strong advocate of a more personal and sustainable presentation skills training methodology.
She believes in a training approach that harnesses people’s unique personality to build their own authentic presentation style and personal brand.
Belinda is currently helping to transform the presentation skills of people in organisations such as BBC Worldwide, DHL, ESRI, Heineken, MARS Inc., Moody’s, Pfizer, Roche, Triumph and Walmart – to name just a few.