The Importance of Effective Communication Skills

This article could have been entitled, "Ain't Nothing to it, but to do it." After all, is that not what most people think? The prevailing thought being there is nothing to effective communication but to get up and do it? To that, one should hear a resounding, Wrong!! The reality is most of us are not as good as we think we are. We have much to learn but we are not alone. We just need to be aware we all could be better communicators. This is so important.

How Important Are These Skills
Recently, one wrote, "being able to communicate effectively is the most important of all life skills." More, "it is not only an important skill, it is a vital skill in both personal and professional success" (Communication Skills, 2017). According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers hold good communications skills as important to technical skills. (National Association of Colleges and Employers, 2016).

This importance in your professional career cannot be understated. An author asserts; "the ability to communicate effectively with superiors, colleagues, and staff is essential, no matter what industry you work in" (Doyle, 2017). Good communications skills will get you hired, land promotions, and lead to success throughout your career.

Good Communication in The Military
This is certainly the case in the Air Force. I can recall in 1979, as a young Officer, I was completing Squadron Officers School. It certainly seemed like the greatest attention in the course was given to developing effective communication skills. I cannot imagine it has changed in the years since. The Air Force holds developing effective communication skills is an important part of our professional military education.

Yet, I dare say you can ask any senior military leader and they will have a horror story about their first briefing or public speaking event. We all have those stories we can tell. This is because effective communication skills are just that- a skill. One cannot go out and just "wing" it. It needs to be learned and practiced. The more you practice the better you become. Like Dr. Dale Carnegie says, one needs to Practise, practice, and then PRACTISE (Carnegie, 1915).

Effective Communication Requires Practice
Practice not only helps you to form good habits, but it will help you to overcome the anxiety of being before an audience. That fear is often the difference between an effective communicator and a poor one. It is a matter of self-growth and developing your own personal voice.

As we develop our own voice we must not forget that we become even better communicators the more we learn to listen. Active listening is a skill that many of us need. The more we understand what our audience wants the better we can align our communication with their needs. This is the essence of effective communication.
Read important conversation tips

Finding a Place to Practice
So, the question becomes where can we practice and develop the skills we discuss here. Most of us do not have such opportunities readily available. A quick scan of the course offerings from our local universities is not very encouraging. This is hope, however.

Adapted from Ronald K M Williams-Garcia, JD  a Conflict Coach and an Alternative Dispute Resolution Provider. He is a Psychotherapist and a Certified Mediator/Arbitrator. He is a Fellow in the National Anger Management Association, member of the Association for Conflict Resolution, and Competent Communicator with Toastmasters International.

You can reach him at

The Importance of Effective Communication Skills The Importance of Effective Communication Skills Reviewed by Harry on 23:39 Rating: 5

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