It’s going to be pretty difficult to get a promotion or move up in your organization if you can’t communicate your desire for advancement, write a decent report or talk about your ideas and achievements. You may not even be able to land a decent a job in the first place if you don’t study various forms of communication when you have the chance. Being an effective communicator touches your career in many different ways.
Communication is effective when all parties involved in the exchange understand the message being delivered. Successful interviews occur, for example, when recruiters understand your willingness to work hard, how your background and abilities ideally suit their needs and why you want to work for them. Your boss understands that you’re gunning for a promotion when you can let her know your goals and how you need her support. Customers buy your products or services when they understand the benefits. Your career depends on your ability to get others to understand where you are coming from and where you want to go.
A vital part of communication is the ability to listen. Communication can’t take place in a vacuum; you need at least one person to talk or write and others to listen or read. If you can’t pull your share of the listening part of the communication game, then you won’t even be aware of what it takes to advance your career. You might get passed up for a new job if you can’t follow directions and you’ll have difficulty being trained for new opportunities if you can’t listen. Interpersonal and social skills rely heavily on your ability to listen too. You need to be able to pay attention and absorb your coworkers’ words and body language to work well with others and be a part of a team.
Communication at work usually involves a back and forth exchange between you and your boss or you and your coworkers. To effectively communicate with them, you have to be able to ask questions to clarify what you understand they are saying. It’s not enough to just listen and then walk away confused and unsure of your next move. Without the ability to question your superiors or seek out information that will help you be successful, your career will suffer. No one is expected to know everything and without the back and forth questioning that takes place during interpersonal interactions, you’ll never be sure if you’re on the right track or being slated for the cutting board.
By studying the humanities, which includes courses in writing and other forms of cultural and diversified communication, you develop your ability to reason out problems and develop important workplace connections. In a void, any field of study is empty if you can’t communicate with others outside your main field of interest. For example, if you are a studying to be a biological researcher and you don’t learn how to effectively write grant requests or talk to the administration at your job, you won’t be able to do your scientific research as well. Well-rounded individuals can communicate with a broad range of people. The more you diversify and include communication training in your background, the more successful you’ll be in any line of work.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."