The Importance of Soft Skills: Communication

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We always hear about the importance of developing hard skills to “make it” in today’s workforce. From knowing programming languages like R and Python to making pristine presentations, these skills are in many tool belts of your everyday tech worker. For this blog post, however, I’m going to touch on the other side of that coin: soft skills. In particular, the skill of communication. I am a firm believer that communication skills are often the most underrated and overlooked skill that someone can have.

Whether you’re working at your job, put into groups for a class, or volunteering at an organization, this skill applies to you. As one of my professors would so often say, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast every day of the week.” If you don’t have the right culture, it’s nearly impossible to execute your strategy. Communication is a subset of culture, and if you can’t communicate well with your coworkers or group members, you are going to output sub-par work. It seems simple, but how do you communicate well?

Communicating effectively calls for an extremely high emotional intelligence. You need to not only think before you speak, but understand who you’re speaking to, and what you’re saying. Is it being said in the most efficient and concise way? Are you being absolutely clear in your intentions and goals? Are you being receptive and conscious of the other person’s body language? When you can answer yes to these questions, you’re doing something right.

So what happens when you can communicate well with your peers and superiors? Everything becomes second nature, stream-lined, and ingrained into the group and company culture. Everyone’s working on the same wavelength because you have all (hopefully) established a unique language and set of expectations, which stems from that high emotional intelligence and ability to communicate well. The way I see it, the best employees are multilingual. They know how to use what language and set of expectations when appropriate. Simply put, bear a high emotional intelligence, and be extremely observant in all conversations you have.

Happy communicating!

Steven Yang is a 3rd year undergraduate student at the Haas School of Business. Contact him at [email protected] for further contact/inquiries.

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