Communication skills are abilities that allow you to clearly convey ideas, whether it be through writing, talking, signing, or body language.
Being able to communicate effectively is one of the most important life skills to learn. Communication is defined as transferring information to produce greater understanding.
It can be done:
- vocally (through verbal exchanges)
- non-verbally (body language, gestures, pitch of voice, and tone)
- through written media (books, websites, and magazines)
- visually (using graphics, charts, and maps)
All of these means of communication are essential soft skills that are vital for a successful career.
VERBAL COMMUNICATION – When we communicate verbally, it involves not only speaking but also requires non-verbal communication skills including listening, eye contact and body language. Mispronunciations, insufficient language skills, or struggling with diction can greatly hamper a person’s ability to get their message across. Also, delivering too much information can be as counter-productive as delivering too little. How we communicate is dependent on the context of the situation too. A different approach is needed for different situations in order for the information to be meaningful to the listener.
NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION – Body language needs to be in line with the verbal content. When used effectively, facial expressions, gestures and posture can greatly improve the listener’s understanding of the verbal information being presented. It can also add interest, and help to maintain the listener’s concentration. Eye contact between speaker and listener is important too. If a speaker actively seeks out eye contact when talking, he or she is judged to be more believable, confident and competent. However, too much eye contact can make the listener feel uncomfortable, or think the speaker is rude, hostile and condescending; and too little eye contact can make the listener think that the speaker is uneasy, unsure or insincere. How much eye contact is considered appropriate though will always depend on the situation, the setting, cultural expectations, gender, and personality types. Your body posture, hand gestures and eye contact all express a meaning, often saying much more than the words you speak. For instance, standing or sitting with your arms and legs relaxed and open will convey a friendly impression that will invite others to interact with you.
MEDIA – In the communication process, a medium is a channel or system of communication i.e. the means by which information (the message) is transmitted between a speaker or writer (the sender) and an audience (the receiver). The plural form is media, and the term is also known as a channel. The medium used to send a message may range from an individual’s voice, writing, clothing, and body language to forms of mass communication such as newspapers, television, and the internet. With the advent of 24-hour news channels on cable, people can check in hourly or at any point in the hour to find out the latest news. Now, with social media platforms and smartphones in our pockets, people can check news and happenings—or be alerted of them—constantly throughout the day. This puts a lot more news upfront just because it’s the most recent. News outlets and channels looking for people’s eyeballs on their content (and their advertisers) have a lot of pressure to keep those updates coming to people’s feeds. Something short gets read more widely than something long.
VISUAL – Visual communication is the transmission of information and ideas using symbols and images. Visual communication is believed to be the type that people rely on most, and it includes signs, graphic designs, films, typography, and countless other examples. There are many types of content of visual communication, with examples including infographics, interactive content, motion graphics, and more. The possibilities are endless. But no matter the medium, all incorporate at least some of the following elements: interactivity, iconography, illustration, supporting text, graphs, data visualisation, and animation. Which type of visual communication is right for your company or campaign depends on the goal(s) you’d like to achieve. It also depends on your target audience. Examples of where visual communication can be used include conferences and trade shows, websites, social media posts, office presentations and meetings, and so much more. That’s why, today, the definition of content marketing success includes visual communication. So when updating your content strategy, make sure your organisation isn’t left behind. Explore the articles below to learn how to implement visual communication across your organisation.