Become an excellent communicator with a communication skills course
In an age where AI can write for us, do we still need to be skilled communicators? Will a communication skills course improve your messaging?
This article covers:
- why being a good communicator is so important
- what makes effective communication so challenging
- how to improve your professional communication skills.
Why being a good communicator is so important
For businesses, good communication is vital for success, with benefits for your employees and your clients.
Good communication skills enable your teams to work together effectively. Employees can use these skills to share ideas, seek feedback and pursue company goals with a unified approach.
These skills will save your teams time too. The better your team communicates, the fewer emails they’ll have to send to confirm a project’s details or clarify a new approach.
You might even make more money. Good communication skills enable people to express innovative ideas clearly and persuasively. This makes it easy to consider how viable these ideas are and to decide whether or not to pursue them.
As for your clients, good communication skills can help you build and maintain their reputations with them. And clearly written communications, such as emails and letters, result in fewer complaints from customers.
Your communication with clients plays an important role in whether clients will spend their money with you. You may find that clients are more likely to open their wallets if you communicate clearly to:
- understand your customers’ needs
- persuade your customers that they need your product or service.
Taking the time to develop your writing skills will also pay dividends for people with disabilities or low literacy levels. This allows as many people as possible to read and understand your content, and sends an important message about your commitment to accessibility, diversity and inclusion.
What makes effective communication so challenging
You understand exactly what it is you want to say. But the challenge is communicating it in a way that the other person understands. It’s easy to fall into the traps of poor communication, such as including too much detail, using the wrong tone, adding confusing jargon or being too vague.
Including too much detail. This first trap is a common one for most people who write for work. Remember to only include what your reader needs to know to understand and act on your communication. For example, if you’re asking a colleague to send you a client’s contact details, lead with the request rather than the reason for the request. If the reason is important, you can include it later in your email.
Using the wrong tone. Writers often use an official tone when writing for work because they think it makes them sound more professional. But using an official tone can make you seem less human and slow down the reader, meaning it takes them longer to reply to you! Instead of: ‘Receipt is acknowledged of your recent communication, whose contents have been noted’ try: ‘Thank you for your email and for the comments you make in it.’
Turn writing at work into writing that works with our ISO-aligned plain language system.
Adding confusing jargon. For internal communications, jargon might be a convenient kind of shorthand. But when communicating with clients, you’ll need to use simpler alternatives that everyone understands. Use common, everyday terms so that clients can easily grasp your meaning without reaching for the dictionary. Plainlanguage.gov reminds us to ‘write to communicate, not to impress.’
Being too vague. To get the best results from your communications, be specific. Being vague and imprecise can confuse a reader and delay their response to you as they try to figure out what you’re asking for. Put yourself in their shoes and give them the information they need in a way that’s clear and unambiguous.
How to improve your professional communication skills
To improve your communication skills, we recommend:
- using plain language
- attending one of our workshops
- consulting our style guide.
Our solutions to the 4 communication traps we described above are all principles of plain language:
- prioritise what the reader most needs to know
- use the right tone
- keep words short and simple
- be specific.
Plain language is the cornerstone of clear communication, and we can teach you how to use it.
We offer a range of workshops that cover all kinds of documents and communication skills training. Some of the topics we cover include:
- media, communications and web writing
- board paper, audit, report and investigation writing
- legal writing
- policy and procedure writing.
All our courses align with Plain language – Part 1: Governing principles and guidelines (ISO 24495-1).
Contact our friendly sales team today for help finding a workshop that suits your needs and schedule.
Finally, to help make your written communication clear, consistent and error free, use our free Australian Style Guide. This resource covers the most common style questions for Australian:
- communication specialists
- professionals writing at work
- students and academics.