Communication skills – verbal, written and listening – come up consistently in the person specifications for jobs and are the top skills employers look for. To be successful in your future career, developing your communication skills is a good move. Aside from it being almost a prerequisite for a job, effective communication is also a vital life skill and supports good personal and social relationships.
What is communication and why is it important?
At it’s basic level, communication is getting your message across to others clearly and the way you intended.
We probably underestimate how important communication is because we do it everyday without thinking. However, writing emails, essays and reports, giving presentations, participating in seminars, and developing and maintaining good relationships with others all require good communication skills to be effective.
We live, study and work in a fast moving technological world where we rely heavily on sharing information. To be productive in a work environment, good communication is vital for getting information across quickly and accurately and avoiding mistakes and misunderstandings.
It’s about more than just exchanging information though. It involves effort both on the part of the person receiving the message to pay attention and the sender to communicate clearly. You know you are communicating well when the person you are communicating with understands what you are saying, writing or depicting in the way you intend them to understand it.
As with anything, practice makes perfect.
3 things you can do while you are at uni to develop your communication skills
1. Find out where you are at and where your gaps might be
This is a good quiz to take to get you thinking about how you communicate and there are more resources if you want to dig a bit deeper.
2. Get involved in co-curricular activities
There are a load of co-curricular activities you can get involved in at Goldsmiths and pretty much all of them will help to develop your communication skills. As well as being able to get recognition for doing them on your HEAR, they are also good examples for job applications and great talking points at interviews. Here are a few: Student Ambassador, Student Media Contributor, leadership roles in Students’ Union sports clubs and societies. The full list is available on the HEAR area of learn.gold.
3. Explore these resources
The Frame: Skills for Success is a directory of opportunities to develop your skills. If you identify any gaps in your communication skills, for example if you want to brush up on your presentation skills, there are loads of resources to help you.
Honest Communication is an interesting psychological take on the roots of our communication style by The School of Life
The Art of Meaningful Conversation is a Ted playlist of 7 thought provoking talks including videos on how to speak so that people want to listen and how technology impacts our communication.