27 Communication Skills & Tips for Your Life & Career in 2024

22 May
22 min read
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Communication is among hiring managers’ favorite skills in almost every industry. 

That’s to be expected, considering that communication skills have a huge impact on the work environment. 

Communication skills define how you convey and receive information, interact with others, and even tackle issues such as potential conflicts in the workplace. 

And, in today’s digital age, communication skills are even more essential than before.

You should know how to effectively exchange information through email, Zoom meetings, and social media, as well as in person, if you want to keep up with the shifting work dynamics.

So, how do you improve your communication skills and leverage them in a way that’ll make hiring managers love you?

Read this article to learn:

  • What Are Communication Skills?
  • The Top 15 Communication Skills for Any Job
  • 12 Tips to Improve Your Communication Skills

…and more!

Let’s dive right in.

What Are Communication Skills? 

Communication is defined as the act of conveying or sharing ideas and feelings.

So, communication skills refer to the ability to convey information effectively. If your communication skills are good, the intended message will be understood by the recipient.

Several experts agree that communication skills include: 

  • Conveying messages without misinterpretation or misleading others.
  • Effectively communicating with a range of people from all walks of life.
  • Navigating from casual or informal communication to formal communication.
  • Showing language mastery and command.

With this in mind, it’s not surprising that effective communication and interpersonal skills are some of the top skills employers are looking for in potential candidates.

Things like active listening, clear articulation, appropriate body language, and the ability to adapt your communication style to different situations and audiences can all be lifelines in the workplace.

Strong communication skills are absolutely essential for building relationships, resolving conflicts, and achieving both personal and professional success. 

But what exactly does effective communication in the workplace look like?

What Are the Types of Communication?

There are four main types of communication you’re likely to use at work. These are:

  1. Verbal. This involves the spoken exchange of information. Skills for effective verbal communication include active listening, clear articulation, and brevity.
  2. Written. Anything you need to write, such as emails, reports, proposals, and other documents, is a form of written communication. Clarity, proper grammar, and an appropriate tone are all essential for effective written communication.
  3. Visual. Whether you’re a graphic designer or a project manager working on a presentation, visual communication is a tool you need to master. This can include charts, graphs, diagrams, and presentations, as well as infographics, marketing banners, illustrations, or even photographs.
  4. Nonverbal. The final and less obvious form of communication includes body language, facial expressions, gestures, and other non-spoken cues that can communicate emotions, attitudes, and underlying messages. The two most important skills for this form of communication are self-awareness and empathy.

Why Does Communication Matter in the Workplace?

Communication affects everything, from the environment you foster with your coworkers to the way you write your resume to apply for potential roles.

Ideally, communication in the workplace should create a free flow of information that runs between various stakeholders at all organizational levels and helps produce impactful outcomes.

Some of the benefits of effective workplace communication include: 

  • Improved productivity
  • Increased morale
  • Higher employee satisfaction
  • Greater trust in management
  • Stronger teamwork
  • Higher employee engagement

Consequentially, a lack of effective communication leads to:

A global study from a professional human resources consulting firm even calculated the numbers, finding that companies with effective internal communication strategies are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers. 

So, when employers hire good communicators, they are also investing in their long-term success. It’s easy to see that communication skills are and will continue to be essential - which means you should start working on improving yours ASAP!

Top 15 Communication Skills for Any Job

Your ability to communicate depends on a wide range of sub-skills that are each essential for both the workplace and the hiring process that will get you there.

So, here are the top 15 communication skills that are most in demand in 2024:

#1. Picking the Right Medium

The first step to communicating effectively is choosing the best way to get your message across.

There are different mediums for communication, such as face-to-face conversations, calls, meetings, emails, instant messages, and more. It’s essential to understand the appropriate medium for your message and your audience.

For example, if you need to make a quick clarification, that might be conveyed best through an instant message. But if you’re delivering critical feedback or sensitive information, a face-to-face meeting might be a better idea.

Choosing the wrong way to communicate can lead to mistakes, misunderstandings, or even conflicts, so it’s important to consider the pros and cons of your options to make sure you can convey your message clearly and effectively.

#2. Oral Communication

Verbal communication uses words to convey information, and that includes both written and oral communication.

Oral communication skills mean that you can speak clearly, concisely, and without misinterpretation. That’s an essential skill, even if your job isn’t centered around speaking.

Let’s say you’re a server at a restaurant. Having good oral communication skills is a must if you want to establish rapport with your customers and provide good service.

In addition to the words you choose, it's also important to be mindful of your tone and volume.

Use an appropriate tone that matches your message and the situation. You don’t want to address your teacher with the same tone you’d address your best friend.

Similarly, speaking too softly or loudly can also get in the way of your communication and lead to misunderstandings.

For example, if you’re a bar manager at a busy cocktail lounge and you want to tell the bartender something important, you shouldn’t be too soft-spoken if the music is loud. They might mishear what you’re saying if they hear you at all.

#3. Written Communication

The other side of verbal communication is when it’s written instead of spoken.

While there may be a few jobs that don’t require writing a single word, in 90% of cases, you’ll need to master this type of communication when:

  • Writing emails to your coworkers
  • Drafting a report or proposal for your boss
  • Communicating with customers via email or chat

Like with oral communication, there is proper etiquette that comes with written communication. Choosing the right tone matters here, too, but instead of watching your volume, you should pay attention to:

  • Grammar. Always check for spelling and grammar errors before sending what you write. Any mistakes can undermine your professionalism and make you look inattentive.
  • Response Time. Be sure to respond promptly to any emails or instant messages you receive at work, so you maintain good communication flow.
  • Vocabulary. Avoid using overly casual language or abbreviations that could be misinterpreted, especially if you’re messaging someone you don’t know well.
  • Check Attachments. When you need to send any attachments or links, make sure they’re included properly. You don’t want to send an email declaring that your amazing project is ready only to notice you forgot to attach it.

Of course, writing is also crucial when you’re looking for a new job.

Your resume and cover letter both testify to your written communication skills and give the hiring manager an idea of how well you can communicate.

And if you’re skilled at a particular type of writing, such as content writing, copywriting, or editing, make sure to mention that on your resume or during your job interview.

#4. Presentation

No, having “presentation skills” doesn't just mean you’ll do well giving a PowerPoint presentation in front of your coworkers.

Presentation skills are also about how you present your ideas and intentions in the workplace or about how you present yourself in a job interview. So, it’s another must-have communication skill, whatever your field of work might be.

Presentation skills are useful in all sorts of situations, including:

  • Explaining how your project works
  • Presenting your research or findings to other employees
  • Convincing a potential client why they need your product

#5. Active Listening

Active listening is all about paying close attention to the speaker and engaging with them to make sure you’re getting the essence of the conversation. It can also involve removing all other distractions and asking clarifying questions to make them feel heard.

But active listening doesn’t just come in handy in jobs like customer service or interior design, where understanding clients and making them feel heard is integral.

Active listening is also necessary if you want to successfully interact with your coworkers, succeed in the workplace, or even ace your job interview.

So, active listening skills give you extra points as a candidate, no matter what your profession is, and you should consider adding them to your resume.

#6. Nonverbal Communication 

Communication consists of much more than just speaking and writing. It involves body language, posture, gestures, eye contact patterns, and facial expressions, among others. 

This type of communication can help more in inciting trust among your coworkers or from clients than verbal communication can.

At the same time, nonverbal communication makes it possible for you to see beyond what a person is saying and right into what they mean or feel.

So, it goes without saying that nonverbal communication is a skill that comes in handy for the vast majority of professions, especially when it comes to sales or leadership roles, not just the world of business.

But nonverbal communication isn’t a provable skill you can just add to your resume, per se. Instead, try to demonstrate that you have it during your job interviews. For example, try maintaining eye contact, avoiding excessive hand gestures, and controlling your facial expressions.  

#7. Feedback

Providing and accepting feedback is a skill that goes hand in hand with several other components of communication, such as active listening, respect, open-mindedness, and teamwork.

Truly encouraging feedback can only happen when you really understand what the speaker means, respect their opinion, and keep an open mind.     

So, for example, if you receive feedback from a supervisor, you should listen and accept the evaluation without judgment, even if you don’t agree. You shouldn’t interrupt them but wait until the end to ask clarifying questions to make the process as constructive as possible.  

On the other hand, if you’re the one giving feedback to a coworker, you should do so through a fact-based evaluation and offer them time to respond. Additionally, you should also consider their needs and offer negative feedback discreetly.

Being able to give and receive feedback is pretty much a guarantee for career success. It’s a communication skill that’s tied to the willingness to learn, the ability to adapt, the openness to accept constructive criticism, and the critical reasoning that it takes to provide it.

#8. Respect

Respect is one of the fundamentals of successful communication, and it’s one of the most important things you could bring along in a job interview. It involves active listening and patience, and it’s vital if you want to be considered for or keep any type of job.

Being respectful is all about letting others speak and knowing when to initiate a conversation or respond. Little gestures can go a long way toward showing respect to hiring managers and coworkers alike.

For example, staying focused, removing all distractions like headphones or mobile phones, or just being polite are among the many things you can do to show respect while communicating.

When it comes to job interviews, there are a few critical mistakes to watch out for. Interrupting hiring managers or wasting their time by going off-topic are signs of disrespect and will most likely cost you the job. 

#9. Confidence

You might think of confidence as a quality, but since it can be learned, we’re counting it as a skill.

Confidence is a crucial ingredient in making a good impression during a presentation, conversation, or successful job interview.

But confidence doesn’t mean arrogance. You can be respectful and confident at the same time, and the two qualities are equally important, not mutually exclusive.

Confidence shows you’re sure about your words, actions, and decisions, and that’s something that people respond to positively.

If you’re not naturally confident, don’t worry; most people aren’t. There are methods to appear confident even when you don’t feel like it.

Some tips include:

  • Maintaining eye contact with the person you’re speaking to
  • Sitting up straight with open shoulders
  • Speaking in a friendly but firm tone of voice
  • If possible, preparing in advance so you don’t stumble on your words

If, on the other hand, you’re the naturally confident type, try not to overdo it with bravado. Sometimes, too much confidence can come across as arrogance or disrespect, and that’s not going to sit right with most people. 

#10. Clarity

Clarity is one of the most important parts of verbal communication. It involves structuring your thoughts logically and using the right words to convey them as effectively as possible. 

If you can’t communicate clearly, whether due to a hectic thought pattern or inappropriate language, there will be consequences in your personal life and career.

Imagine, for example, giving a complicated answer to a simple question or using street jargon in the wrong environment.

This could lead to confusion with coworkers, misunderstandings with your boss, and flunking job interviews. So, try to keep your words as clear as possible to improve your communication.

#11. Honesty

Honesty is another quality that we’re adding to our list of communication skills because honesty can also be learned and honed to perfection.

Honesty in communication is something that you should strive to incorporate in all aspects of your professional life.

As a rule of thumb, honesty should characterize your work ethic for a lot of reasons, the most important being that lying about your skills and qualifications is the least dependable method for success. You can rest assured that, at some point, the truth will come out if you lie. 

Being honest with your coworkers and supervisors about anything work-related, on the other hand, shows that you value transparency. It also proves that you are confident enough to accept your mistakes and take responsibility for your actions.

But honesty should always be delivered with tact. If you dislike something in your workplace or if there’s something about the potential job that may become an issue down the line, convey this delicately. Don’t be too aggressive or uncompromising in your distaste for what’s bothering you.

For example, if the job you’re applying for turns out to include night shifts and you may not be able to work for health reasons, politely say so. The hiring manager might be able to arrange an exception for you or determine you’re not right for the job.

Either way, it’s better to share your concerns upfront than be stuck at a job where you’d be miserable or take a toll on your health.

#12. Empathy

You might not think of empathy as a skill, but it’s also something you can practice to perfect your communication skills.

Empathy involves understanding and considering the other person's perspective, emotions, and circumstances. When you approach communication with empathy, you’re better able to tailor your message and delivery in a way that resonates with the other person.

For example, if you’re a cashier and you’re dealing with a frustrated customer, try to see things from their point of view. Empathy can help you solve the issue faster by communicating what you need to say in a way the customer will understand, which makes it an essential customer service skill, too.

Empathy also allows you to build rapport, establish trust, and create an environment where open and honest dialogue can happen. It’s especially important when communicating with coworkers and managers because it’s essential for strengthening teamwork.

Without empathy, your communication runs the risk of coming across as insensitive, disconnected, or tone-deaf, which potentially leads to misunderstandings or strained relationships.

Showing empathy demonstrates respect, helps you build stronger connections, and increases the chances of your intended message being received positively.

#13. Friendliness

Much like respect and confidence, friendliness and professionalism can go hand in hand.

And in certain situations, such as job interviews, you should always be friendly.

Being friendly during your job interview can show hiring managers that you’re polite, cooperative, open-minded, and a potentially great team member - all qualities that are likely sought after in employees of every industry.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to go overboard to show that you are a friendly person. Sure, when you’re establishing rapport with your coworkers, asking about their hobbies and interests or what they did over the weekend is great.

But more often than not, a warm smile, a genuine greeting, or wishing a good day are enough to show your friendliness when you’re communicating.

#14. Emotional Intelligence

The ability to control and manage your emotions is a critical skill if you want to communicate effectively.

Emotional intelligence means recognizing your thoughts and feelings and being able to hold them back when necessary. This involves being self-aware, knowing your emotional triggers, and responding rationally instead of reacting impulsively.

When you maintain composure, even in challenging situations, you can communicate clearly and objectively without letting your emotions cloud your judgment or compromise your message.

Emotional intelligence also means being able to recognize others’ feelings or emotional triggers, and keeping your composure if the person you’re talking to isn’t able to. It’s a skill that fosters professionalism, builds trust, and makes sure that your communication remains focused and productive.

Overall, emotional intelligence leads to better decision-making and conflict resolution and helps establish strong, respectful relationships in both personal and professional contexts.

#15. Public Speaking

And we’re down to the final communication skill you should master.

Public speaking is many people’s worst fear. In fact, studies show that public speaking is often feared more than death

And, to be fair, even the most extroverted among us will get an increased heart rate and sweaty palms when they need to address a crowd.

But public speaking is one of the most important communication skills out there. Whether you’re doing a presentation at work or telling a story to your friends, you will need to address a crowd at one point or another.

Some of the reasons public speaking is a great skill include:

  • It allows you to effectively convey ideas, information, and messages to a large audience.
  • Strong public speaking abilities show confidence, leadership, and expertise, which can help advance your career and increase your credibility.
  • It enhances your ability to clearly articulate your thoughts, structure logical arguments, and deliver persuasive presentations.
  • Developing public speaking skills improves your overall communication skills, including your body language, vocal control, and audience engagement.
  • Many professional roles, from business to teaching to politics, require you to be comfortable with and compelling at public speaking.
  • Public speaking provides opportunities to influence, inspire, and motivate others through thoughtful speech.

So, mastering public speaking can strengthen your communication skills while adding to your gravitas and your ability to command a room - all useful skills that can help you in different areas of life.

There’s a wide range of skills out there! Explore what might be useful to you with our guide to essential skills to put on a resume!

12 Tips to Improve Your Communication Skills 

Just like pretty much everything else in life, communication skills can also improve with practice.

So if you’re worried about yours not being up to par, just follow the tips we’ve listed and keep in mind that practice makes perfect.

#1. Learn to Listen

Have you ever been in a conversation where you felt as if you were talking to a brick wall? Then you know how frustrating it is when someone just won’t listen.

Listening is literally half of the communication process. Just like it takes two to tango, it takes a clear speaker and an active listener for effective communication to happen. 

However, listening takes way more patience than talking, and actually listening instead of pretending to listen is something very few people do.

Naturally, this puts a real strain on communication both inside and outside of work.

But just like you’d choose a friend who’s a good listener over someone who just wants to put in their two cents, you should practice active listening as much as possible to improve your communication.  

Here are some tips to be a better listener:

  • Focus on the speaker by giving them your full attention
  • Avoid all other distractions, like your phone, laptop, or something else you might be interacting with
  • Ask follow-up questions to keep the conversation engaging
  • Summarize and paraphrase the speaker’s words to make sure nothing gets lost in translation between you

Can you follow a conversation in more than one language? Learn how to list languages on your resume with our article.

#2. Read Nonverbal Cues

Studies have claimed that nonverbal communication accounts for up to 93% of the impact of any verbal message. This means that when someone is talking, they’re saying much more through their body language than through their words.

Knowing how to understand the different types of nonverbal communication of the person you’re speaking to will significantly improve your communication skills.

Of course, this isn’t easy. People read books and take classes to learn how to properly read body language.

But you can start improving by paying attention to your own nonverbal cues when you speak. Here’s how:

Questions When Observing Yourself:
  • Do you make and keep eye contact with the speaker? 
  • How do you position yourself? Are you sitting up straight or slouched?
  • Are you fidgeting or playing with your hands?
  • Do your position and tone of voice depend on who you talk to?
  • Are you being reactive or overtly emotional?

The same applies to observing the cues the people around you give during conversations.

Questions When Observing Others:
  • Do certain people make you feel heard more than others? 
  • What do those people do to make you feel that way?
  • Do certain people make communication unpleasant, and what is it they do to make you feel that way?

These observations can help you pinpoint the exact nonverbal cues that have a positive and negative effect on communication and can be a good starting point for improving your nonverbal communication skills.

#3. Practice Verbal Communication

We take our verbal communication skills for granted, but you can never be too good at speaking and writing.

We spend our entire lives using words, so we rarely stop to think about whether our verbal communication is effective at all. Instead, we tend to blame the listener for not understanding us, or we just assume that we have different opinions.

This is why you should never stop improving your verbal communication. Again, the first step involves observing yourself and others. 

Then, start paying attention to what you’re saying.

Questions When Observing Yourself:
  • Do you make your point effectively?
  • Do you take too long to get to the point?
  • Do you convey your thoughts clearly?

#4. Tailor to Your Audience

Another tip on how to improve your communication is to tailor your message to your specific audience.

You should always consider who you're communicating with to keep your message from falling flat or being misinterpreted. 

Here’s how:

  • Take into consideration your audience's background, level of expertise, and how familiar they are with the topic. Then, adjust your language and the depth of your explanation accordingly.
  • Consider the potential biases, preferences, and communication styles of the people you’re communicating with. For example, some people prefer direct language, while others appreciate a more diplomatic approach.
  • Identify the needs, interests, and potential objections of the people you’re communicating with. Make sure to frame your message in a way that addresses their concerns and priorities.
  • Be mindful of cultural differences when you have a diverse audience. Different cultural customs could define their communication norms, the way they interpret body language and different sensitivities.

Communication is also crucial to expanding your professional network. Learn about all the networking skills you need with this guide.

#5. Use Eye Contact

As we previously mentioned, eye contact plays a big role in effective communication.

Looking into someone’s eyes can help build trust and create a sense of connection between the speaker and listener. When you’re maintaining eye contact, you’re showing the other person that you are focused and engaged in the conversation, which in turn makes them feel valued and heard.

Eye contact also allows you to pick up on subtle non-verbal cues like small changes in facial expressions and body language. These cues can provide valuable context and even deeper meaning behind the spoken words.

Additionally, being able to make eye contact is a sign of confidence. It shows that you’re assertive and comfortable expressing yourself, which can command respect and credibility, whether you’re addressing an individual or a group of people.

Just don’t stare intensely at the other person. Too much eye contact can make people feel uncomfortable, so the key to using eye contact lies in finding the right balance during conversations.

#6. Avoid Distractions

We live in a time where everything is competing for our attention, so it’s no wonder that we tend to get distracted.

However, avoiding distractions is essential if you want to communicate effectively. If something derails your focus, you can miss important information or show a lack of interest in or respect for the other party.

Potential distractions include:

  • Phone notifications from texts, emails, or social media
  • Background noise like coworkers, traffic, or television
  • Cluttered environments that are visually distracting
  • Internal distractions like anxious thoughts or daydreaming

So, what can you do?

Here are a few tips to help you avoid distractions while communicating:

  • Keep your phone on silent mode and put it away during important conversations
  • Find a quiet, private space for sensitive or high-stakes discussions
  • Keep your workspace clear of any unnecessary clutter
  • Practice mindfulness techniques to quiet your inner mental chatter
  • Politely ask the other person to pause so you can re-center your attention if you lost focus

#7. Keep It Brief

Time is an extremely valuable asset, and we waste it too often.

A good verbal communicator is someone who can get their point across briefly. This means giving just the right amount of information for the other person to understand without taking too much of their time.

Rambling or providing excessive, irrelevant details can cause the listener to lose focus and get bored. Instead, convey your key points concisely while providing just enough context for your audience to understand you.

The best way to do this is by thinking before you speak. This applies anywhere - in your personal life, in the workplace, but also during your job interview.

It’s important to know what you want to say in advance. We don’t mean following a script but having a clear idea can significantly help get your point across. And in most cases, it’s absolutely okay to ask the other person to give you a minute to think about your answer.

Keeping things short and sweet shows that you value the other person’s time while communicating effectively. Of course, this doesn't mean you need to oversimplify complex topics, but finding that ideal balance between brief and thorough is what can make your communication skills stand out.

The mantra “short and sweet” usually applies to your resume, too. Learn how long a resume should be with our dedicated article.

#8. Record Yourself

This might sound unusual, but one great technique you can use to improve your communication skills is to record yourself speaking.

Whether you’re practicing for an important presentation, recording a mock job interview, or just capturing a casual conversation with a friend, recording yourself lets you review your own verbal communication, and it can be incredibly insightful.

While it may feel awkward at first, recording and assessing your communication skills yourself can be a game-changer and pave the way to becoming a more polished, impactful communicator.

By recording yourself, you can gain an outsider's perspective on things like:

  • Pace. Do you speak too rapidly or slowly? Are there any awkward pauses?
  • Filler Words. Notice if you use filler words like "um," "ah," or "like."
  • Tone and Inflection. Does your tone come across as confident, engaging, shaky, or monotonous?
  • Body Language. If you record a video, you can notice if you’re too static or if you use any mannerisms while talking.

This self-evaluation can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to oral communication. For example, maybe you need to slow down because you talk too fast.

#9. Remove Conversation Fillers

Filler words like "ah," "uh," "um," and similar parasitic phrases such as “like” don’t provide substance to your communication.

Excessive filler words make you sound unprepared, unsure of yourself, or undermine your authority on the subject. These tiny phrases can chip away at a listener's confidence in what you're saying.

To put it bluntly, you don’t want to deliver your dissertation while sounding like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

An occasional filler can be natural, but overusing it can really undermine your credibility and distract from your message. Try to remove these verbal crutches to become a clearer, more confident communicator.

Filler words also disrupt the flow and pace of your speech. They create awkward pauses that break the rhythm and make your communication sound fragmented instead of smooth and polished.

Eliminating filler words from your conversations and presentations instantly elevates your presence. Your ideas come across with more impact, and you sound more assertive.

Polish your vocabulary to make a good impression. Check out a list of action verbs and power words you can use to boost your resume and cover letter!

#10. Summarize Main Points

Make sure you and the other party are on the same page by summarizing the main points you’re all discussing.

When communicating, pause now and then to briefly restate your key points. You want to make sure you’re getting your message across, and this allows the listener to point out anything they might have missed or misunderstood before you move on.

But you should also try to summarize what the other person is communicating to you. This can show that you’re an active listener and facilitate a productive conversation.

For example, you could say:

  • So what you’re saying is…
  • If I'm understanding correctly, your primary concern is…
  • You mean to say that…

Summarizing the key points of the conversation also lets you shift the discussion's focus when it goes off track since you can recap the original topic and easily realign the conversation.

By making a habit of summarizing key points throughout discussions, you ensure everyone remains on the same wavelength. This mutual understanding paves the way for clearer communication, stronger relationships, and more effective collaboration.

#11. Ask Questions

Asking thoughtful questions helps you fully comprehend what the other person is trying to communicate, and it also shows that you’re engaged and interested in the conversation.

When you don't understand a particular point, instead of nodding along, just ask for clarification. A simple "Sorry, can you elaborate on that?" or "I'm not sure I understand; could you rephrase that, please?" can let the speaker know where you’re at in the conversation and clear up any misunderstandings.

Asking follow-up questions also lets you dive deeper into the topic, find the underlying context of what’s being communicated, and give you deeper insights.

But beyond understanding what’s being said, asking questions is also a sign of respect. It shows the person across from you that you value their perspective enough to try and truly grasp their viewpoint before giving your two cents.

#12. Adapt to Changes

If you want to communicate effectively, you need to adapt to changes as the situation unfolds.

Using a rigid, one-size-fits-all approach can lead to missed nonverbal cues, misunderstandings, and overall strained conversations. By staying attuned to any changes in context, you can adjust your communication style to match.

For example, maybe a conversation starts formally, but it becomes friendlier over time. Matching your conversation partner’s tone can help build rapport.

In another case, if the topic goes from planning something work-related to addressing someone's personal frustrations, it’s crucial to recognize when that happens. Leverage your empathy and emotional intelligence to address whatever’s necessary and delicately shift the topic back to what you originally wanted to discuss.

Really listen to the person you’re communicating with. Have the emotional awareness to adapt your communication style, tone, volume, and topic to take the conversation where it needs to go, and refine your communication skills.

Adaptability is also one of the most transferable skills for any profession. Learn more about transferable skills in our detailed article!

Tips to Make Your Communication Skills Stand Out

Being a good communicator is one thing, but making sure your prospective employers know it and appreciate you for it is a whole other story.

Here are some of our top tips to make your communication skills stand out during a job search

  1. Match your communication skills to the job. Check the job description and keep an eye out for any of the communication skills highlighted in the requirements. Only list the ones that are relevant to the job you’re applying for on your resume, whether that’s intercultural communication, teamwork, or conflict resolution.
  2. Use the job interview to your advantage. With most communication skills, it’s more convincing when you show instead of just tell. So, don’t bother listing “confidence” or “friendliness” on your resume. Instead, be confident and reasonably friendly during the job interview, and show the hiring manager how good your communication skills are. 
  3. Keep it up after you’re hired. Getting the job doesn’t mean you stop showing the best of your communication skills. On the contrary, the workplace is exactly where those skills will really be put to the test by coworkers, supervisors, and customers alike. Keep practicing your communication skills at work, and don’t miss a chance to show them by being an active listener at meetings, respectful towards your coworkers, and open to accepting and providing feedback.

Key Takeaways

  • Communication is the ability to convey or share ideas and feelings effectively.
  • There are four different types of communication - oral, written, visual, and nonverbal. Good communication skills mean knowing how to navigate all four of these.
  • Effective communication is essential in the workplace because it builds rapport, establishes trust, improves productivity, and leads to better outcomes. Consequently, bad communication can lead to frustrated workers and higher employee turnover.
  • Some of the most important communication skills for any job are presentation, active listening, nonverbal communication, and the ability to give and receive feedback.
  • There are different ways you can improve your communication skills, such as by avoiding distractions, tailoring to your audience, and practicing your oral communication by recording yourself.