Every job today demands top notch communication skills. George Bernard Shaw once said, “The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” You may have been on the receiving end of this illusion once or twice. Developing communication skills is a great career booster.

Types of Communication

Let’s first examine the different types of communication. Often, when people think of communication, they automatically thinking of speaking. However, there are other types of communication as well.

Verbal skills are what you say and how you say it. This could be in front of a group of people or one on one. Brushing up on public speaking skills should be on your professional “to do” list. Look for comfortable opportunities as a starting point. There are also groups, such as Toastmasters, which focus on improving members public speaking skills.

Listening skills is often an overlooked type of communication. Instead of waiting for your turn to talk, focus on listening to understand the speaker. This activity leads to better communication all the way around.

Today’s jobs require good writing skills. Writing to make a lasting impression is essential for any professional career. Brushing up on writing skills generally involves getting feedback from others with a strong writing background. It also involves paying close attention to grammar, punctuation and proof reading.

Body Language

Body language can be considered a type of communication. Body language plays an important role in our everyday communication. It is not only limited to face to face communications, but extends other communications as well. For example, customer service phone training often involves participants practicing a smile over the phone because it can be heard on the other end.

Paying attention to your body language during critical interactions is important. Do you fidget when you are nervous? Do you bite your lip when you want to argue? Even when speaking over the phone, pay close attention to your body language.

Which Communication Type to Use

A hot topic these days is knowing when to use which communication type and how to use it. If you use written communication, will it be in the form of an email, a text or a customer report? Knowing the medium makes a difference. Also, knowing when to talk to someone instead of email or knowing when to meet someone face to face instead of conversing over the phone is becoming more important in today’s professional environment.

Although there are not hard and fast rules for these decisions, growing your emotional IQ will help. Emotional IQ means understanding your emotional self-awareness in dealing with others. Strengthening your emotional intelligence will, in turn, strengthen your interaction with others regardless of the type of medium you use.

When you develop effective communication skills, you gain control over what you can achieve and how you are perceived. This transferable skill sets you up for success regardless of your job.