Improving communication skills can have a substantial impact on how well you do in your career. Take this communication skills quiz and find out how good your skills are!
What are good communication skills?
Without a doubt, good communication skills are among the most valuable life skills you can possess. (Recruiters agree!) They are the oil that greases every relationship.
Good communication skills involve the ability to craft a message and transmit it clearly so that the recipient understands what you mean and, if appropriate, can act on that information. It’s good to remember, however, that the communication process is a two-way street. It also involves the ability to listen to other people’s messages and discern their meaning. A good communicator not only has the ability to express thoughts and ideas but also to listen carefully to the messages of others.
The basic communication skills
Before you take this communication skills quiz let’s go over the basics: speaking, writing and listening skills. You may have great writing skills but not do so well when trying to convey your ideas in person. Or you may be able to communicate with large audiences but have trouble when it comes to listening skills. Your goal should be to attain a balance between all aspects of communication. (And obviously, a good way to measure how close you are to this goal is to take this communication skills quiz.)
Elements involved in the communication process
In a great article, Mind Tools, an online platform that offers wonderful career tools, explains the eight elements involved in the communication process. This is a great starting point for a conversation about improving communication skills.
Source: The person originating the message. In this case, you.
Message: The content you want to communicate.
Encoding: The process of transferring the information in a form that can be decoded by the receiver.
Channel: Method you use to communicate: Telephone, in person, video conferencing, email, etc.
Decoding: Understanding the content of the communication, unpacking the meaning.
Receiver: The individual or individuals to whom you deliver the message (and others who may receive it even if they weren’t the intended receiver.) As Mind Tools wisely points out, each of these receivers comes into the communication equation with their own set of ideas, experiences, and feelings that affect their ability to understand the message. You should always take this into consideration when crafting your message.
Feedback: It’s the information that comes back from your audience via verbal and nonverbal reactions.
Context: The situation in which your message is delivered.
Understanding these different elements can be useful in identifying where there might be a breakdown in communication. For example, given the lack of context, misunderstandings often take place via email or text message. As a rule, the moment you realize someone misinterprets something you said (mistaking humor for criticism, for instance) you should pick up the phone and clarify your intent. Context is easier established face-to-face where the other person can see your expression and gestures and perceive your tone of voice.
In addition, dissecting the communication process can provide insights on how you could communicate more effectively. If you notice that the lack of context often gets you in trouble, next time you could decide to provide more context in your written communications.
How to communicate effectively
Learning how to communicate effectively in the workplace can be the difference between having a great career or a mediocre one. As a matter of fact, in most cases, good communication skills are more important than intelligence. The difficulty arises, however, when you are not aware of your own shortcomings— something we are hoping to solve by offering this communication skills quiz.
Over the past few years, there has been a substantial increase in communication methods (channels.) Yet there’s little in terms of instruction on how to update your communication skills to fit the various new modalities. For instance, since the advent of text messaging, emoticons have replaced the non-verbal messages humans pass between each other during in-person interactions. But have you ever wondered if using a winky face on an email to a company executive is appropriate? How do you figure out how to communicate effectively without putting your job at risk?
Why improving communication skills is key for career growth
It’s a fact that we all have different communication styles, and in general women have an altogether different style than men. This can lead to misunderstandings. (Think about women being called “too emotional” because they express their feelings about a decision that angers them.)
Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for women to have difficulty advancing in their careers due to the mere fact that they express themselves differently. Improving communication skills can help you convey your message in a way that it is heard. And this doesn’t mean you have to forgo your style to adopt a masculine style. Only that improving communication skills can contribute to your messages being decoded the way you intended.
So let’s get to it. Take the communication skills quiz now, and find out how great your communication skills are. With the results, you will receive additional ideas on how to communicate more effectively.