The Most Important Skill for Any Job

By Marina Krivonossova on June 29, 2021

What skills do bankers, authors, marketers, and computer engineers have that are different from each other? I’m sure that if I asked you this question, you would be able to give me more than a handful of answers. At first glance, when it comes to the professional world, we rarely tend to think there is much overlap. Bankers work with money, authors write books, marketers advertise products, and computer engineers design programs to complete tasks. Everyone is different, and everyone utilizes a unique set of skills in their profession.

But what if I asked you which one skill all these professionals do (or should) have in common? It’s not a trick question, I promise. The one skill all these professionals ideally have in common — a skill that will most certainly prove useful in any field or career path — is effective communication. No matter where you go, and no matter what you do, effective communication will always be of utmost importance.

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So, what do I mean by effective communication? When it comes to effective communication, I’m not just talking about the basic ability to engage in some small talk with a colleague. Although that can be integral in ensuring a positive work experience, effective communication extends beyond that to include in-person discussions, emails, phone calls, video calls, and every little thing in between. The scope of communication also goes past the surface level concepts to include not just the words we say, but also our tone of voice, inflection, and facial expressions when we say them.

Why is effective communication so important in every profession? Odds are, no matter what you choose to do as a career or where you choose to work, you will have to work with people. People are the backbone of every business, and being able to communicate effectively will serve you well no matter where you find yourself. Effective communication allows you to get your idea across better so that others can understand you, which makes for more efficient collaborations, projects, discussions, etc.

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How can you work on your communication skills? Just as with anything, practice makes perfect. Take the time to talk to friends, colleagues, family members, and everyone around you. Pay close attention to your own words, emotions, and expressions, and how they add to or take away from your intended message. In the process, don’t forget to pay close attention to how your conversation partner(s) is/are reacting to everything you say and do. When it comes to written communication, ensure that you are responding to emails, text messages, and social media messages in a manner that gets across your point in the best way. And, as always, pay attention to the response you receive. Communication is a two way street, and you can’t process the effectiveness of your own communication skills without noting how others react to you.

There is no “one size fits all” piece of advice when it comes to perfecting your communication skills. There are so many nuances that differ based on who you are, whom you’re communicating with, your relationship, the topic at hand, the platform of discussion, and so much more. However, if you’re looking for some beginner pointers, the Walden University website offers some great suggestions on how to be an effective communicator in 7 easy steps.

Are you convinced that the most important skill for any job is being an effective communicator, or do you think there are other skills that are more important to have? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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