Communication

Attributes, Skills and Barriers

Personal Attributes

Specific Skils

  • Technical knowledge - having a good understanding of the job is obviously something that an employer would value very highly, and sometimes essential to the job.
  • Health and safety - being responsible is important to an employer. Behaving like a child can be dangerous in a working environment, especially one with dangerous machinery, and is not desirable.
  • Working attitudes - being enthusiastic about the job and having a good work ethic are two traits that are very sought after by employers, since they represent your ability to get the job done.

General Attributes

  • Planing skills - being able to compartmentalize a work day in to tasks that can be managed individually, with each assigned their own amount of time is a very valuable skill. An employer would have more confidence in someone to get a job done before the deadline if they could display good planning skills.
  • Organization - having everything you need together and being ready to get started is essential for maintaining a job. Without organizational skills, other parts of a job are compromised as you may not be able to do them up to standard. For example, a job in mechanical engineering would require safety equipment. Not bringing said equipment due to poor organization would hinder one's ability to perform the job and restrict use form most, if not all machines.
  • Time management - it's important to know how hard to work on something in order to get it done in time. An employer cannot trust an employee if he/she can't do assigned tasks on time, or spends too much time on one but not enough on another.
  • Team working - the ability to work effectively within a group is absolutely essential to some jobs and therefore it's among the most important things to consider for a lot of employers. Being unable to do so can bring the whole team down, so an employer would not be looking for someone that they don't have confidence in because it's not just one under performing employee at that point. It's an under performing team.
  • Verbal skills - possibly a deal breaker for some jobs. Some jobs, such as a salesperson or customer service wouldn't be possible if you couldn't effectively communicate with someone. It's also just a basic skill in life that one needs, therefore an employer likely wouldn't even hire someone if they were barely cohesive in an interview.
  • Written communication skills - again, specific to certain jobs, but also an essential life skill. Employers would be checking your CV for decent grammar and spelling, as it's a good way to measure somebody's intelligence.
  • Numeracy - important to almost all jobs, even if it doesn't appear to be at first glance. It's also an every day skill. As long as you are proficient at it, an employer would likely be satisfied. But, the more you excel at it, the more intelligent you appear, therefore an employer would definitely value good numeracy skills.
  • Creativity - a very good skill to possess, as it really defines you as a person, or at least in an employers eyes, depending on the job. In a software development job, an employer would almost exclusively hire creative-thinking people. It's essential for finding solutions for unusual problems in programs.

Attitudes

  • Determined - showing an employer that you are hardworking and possess the right amount of determination to pull through an a job that can get difficult can be a good way to land a job. Appearing determined to get a job in an interview is a good way of displaying this to an employer and they would likely be impressed by it.
  • Independent - team work is key in some jobs, but employers also need to know how well you can work on your own, with minimal support. Critical thinking without relying on other people is something an employer would very much appreciate.
  • Integrity - something that says a lot about the kind of person you are and the person the employer wants to hire. Staying composed and being honest is a good display of integrity that would most certainly impress an employer more than lying on a CV.
  • Tolerance - being able to tolerate a job when it's particularly boring even tolerate a colleague that is particularly annoying is something an employer would value highly because it's very closely tied to professionalism.
  • Dependable - certainly one of the most important attitudes that you would want to convey to an employer. If you can't be depended on then you can't be trusted to do the job. It's as simple as that and an employer would not keep someone around if they can't trust them.
  • Problem-solving - one of the more unique attitudes but also one of the better ones, as not a lot of people make it their business to solve a problem that doesn't directly effect them. Being able to solve everyday problems and looking proud of it will tell the employer that you can be a valuable asset.
  • Leadership - employers aren't always the boss of the company, but if they are then they obviously can't be around at all times to make sure business is running smoothly, therefore they are looking for people that can. Displaying to an employer that you can lead as well as be instructed will give you an edge over the competition. It's also important to climb the ranks in a company, as promotions won't be offered for leading positions to those that can't lead.
  • Confidence - being timid in an interview or around colleagues can be seen as weakness. Therefore it's important to be confident but not arrogant. An employer would almost certainly hire someone with a firm tone and a keen interest over someone that sits back, listens and doesn't offer feedback.
  • Motivation - it's important to let an employer know what your motivation is and appear ready to work at all times. There's a saying "leave your problems at the door", which essentially means any negative thoughts form your personal life should leave your mind as soon as your on site. An employer will not hire someone that doesn't appear motivated for the job because they have something entirely unrelated bothering them.

Principles of Effective Communication

General Communication Skills

Professionally, if you are applying for jobs you will almost certainly need to demonstrate good communication skills. For example, the ability to speak appropriately with a wide variety of people whilst maintaining good eye contact, demonstrate a varied vocabulary and tailor your language to the listener, listen effectively, present your ideas appropriately, write clearly and concisely and work well in a group all require good communication skills. Many of these are essential skills that employers seek.

Interpersonal Communication Skills

Interpersonal communication skills are essential to developing other key life skills. Being able to communicate well with others is often essential to solving problems that inevitably occur both in our private and professional lives. Good interpersonal communication skills enable us to work more effectively in groups and teams, which may be either formal, like at work, or informally like in social situations.

Written Communication Skills

The ability to be able to write clearly and effectively is key to communication, this set of skills should not be limited to journalists or professional authors. Poor written communication can be frustrating for the reader. Incorrect use of punctuation, bad grammar and incorrect spelling can make you seem uneducated and less professional. It's also important to be be formal when the situation requires it. Using emotes or slang when talking to your boss can be interpreted as friendly or unprofessional. It depends on the kind of person that your boss is and it's important to be consciously thinking about that.

Barriers To Effective Communication

Background Noise

Background noise can distract you from a conversation and make you come off as rude. Consciously ignoring background noise can be an effective technique for communication because if you don't make any attempt at all there's a good chance it will subvert your attention. Taking a conversation to a more secluded location will also help.

Distractions

It is important to maintain focus on speaking or listening, especially the latter. Looking away or fidgeting while someone is speaking can be interpreted as rude, even if you listen to every word that is said. Looking at your phone can and will annoy people that are speaking to you. A good way to look engaged is to make eye contact regularly, smile when you're expected to agree with something and don't look bored.

Physical Barriers

Being in a different room, city or country to someone you're communicating with can prove difficult because there is a loss of perception due to not being able to see their body language. This is especially true if you are conversing with text, rather than speech, since it's hard to detect sarcasm or sincerity while reading. A good way to overcome this is to establish a way of communicating that's appropriate to the relationship with the other person. If it's your boss, using the least amount of sarcasm possible would be a good idea. Whereas a friend that knows you better may be able to pick up on those things without having to see your body language or hear the tone in your voice.

Location

The place in which communication takes place can play a big part in how effective it is, due to how comfortable people are in different situations. For example, a conversation in a living room would be a lot smoother and more relaxed than the same conversation taking a place in the middle of a crowded street with constant noise whizzing past. It would quickly degenerate to an exchange of "what" and "I can't hear you". It's important to remember that not everyone is comfortable having private conversations in public too. The best way to avoid this is to stick to simple conversations that don't require much thought or speaking in public places, and stick to only having full blown conversations when you are in a reasonably quiet location with some privacy.

Lack of Concentration

Being surrounded by distractions can effect your concentration, therefore isolating yourself from them will help you to communicate. It's not just environmental distractions that can bar communication either, it's personal distractions. Such as your phone, what's on your mind, if your hungry or thirsty, etc. Being in a good mood with a full stomach and being completely quenched of your first will allow you to communicate much more effectively, as you will have less on your mind to subvert your attention.

Health and Well Being

Being in a bad mood or ill is a barrier to communication because it affects how much the other person(s) is going to want to talk to you. Snapping at someone or coughing and sneezing constantly simply isn't pleasant for them. To improve communication when you're not feeling good, remember that the person you are communicating with is a person just like you and remind yourself of how you get annoyed when people take their anger out on you or cough and sneeze on you.