Why is communication important?
Good communication skills in the workplace are vital for conveying information to people clearly and succinctly and in a way that they can understand. Communication is a two way process and good communication is about being a good listener as well as a good speaker. You need to be empathic, so that you can understand how others will interpret your words and behaviour.
Is all communication the same?
How you communicate at work often depends on your job. If you’re a nurse, for example, you need to use a whole host of different skills, including written, spoken and body language. You need to be empathic, but also commanding. Being able to tailor your communication skills to different situations is important as different environments and audiences will need to be handled slightly differently.
Written communication also needs careful consideration and can easily be misinterpreted, particularly when using email or text. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are important, but so is your use of words and sentence structure. Always re-read an email before you send it and think about how the other person will interpret what you have written. Choose words that are appropriate for the situation, like you would if you were speaking, and think about how you finish the email – you probably wouldn’t want to finish an email to your boss with a smiley face.
How do I improve my verbal communication skills?
To improve your communication skills you could complete the OU OpenLearn unit, Key skill assessment: Communication.
Investigate good examples of effective and ineffective communication from further units on OpenLearn, Communication in the healthcare sector and Intercultural competence in the workplace.
Take the quiz on communication and read other useful information about communication at MindTools.
For more general support in literacy, grammar and punctuation why not revisit the UNISON College Learning resources: English, maths and IT | UNISON Learning and Organising