April 09, 2013

Communication is much more than a message between two parties; it is the channel used to get the message across, the audience you are communicating to and facial and body gestures.  When it comes down to it, the better you are at communicating, the better chance you have of achieving your goals. Whether these goals are personal or professional, you have the power to entertain, persuade, motivate, share ideas, and give advice to those around you. Overall, most IT pros can practice these skills more and develop them daily.

Audience       

Make sure to research your target audience as well as the intended goal for the message before communicating with them. Having your audience understand the message is the main  component in achieving effective communication. In the IT field, being aware of your audience and their goals will help you communicate more efficiently and your audience will have a better understanding of the direction of the message. Let’s say you need to talk about a project’s requirements: would you talk to someone on the business side in the same way you speak with a software developer? Probably not. Before you prepare the message, you have to consider what language will work best with him or her.

Message

Message is one of the most crucial aspects of communication because both sender and receiver need to share a common understanding. Not only does the message need to reach an audience, but it also needs to provoke the receivers to do something with that message. Suze Orman’s Forbes article shares, “Too many people want to impress others with information so others think the speaker is intelligent. All I care about is that the information empowers the viewer or the reader.” You could have interesting statistics to present at a meeting, but will providing that information help the business? You need to communicate a message that’s both interesting and relatable to the listener.

Listening

The ability to be a good listener is just an important as sending a message. The way people interpret a message can change their attitudes in just a few moments.  In Toni Bower’sTechRepublic article about communication skills, she states, “I’d go further and say incorrect assumptions are the bane of the speaker too. Do you know how many opportunities there are in the average conversation for meaning to be misconstrued? Seemingly unimportant words can put a sentence’s meaning in a totally different light.” Being an attentive listener is essential in communication which is why many times messages get lost. How well are you responding and listening to others? Remember listening is just as important as sending a message.

By evaluating your own skills, you can change communication within your personal and professional life.  If you see yourself lacking certain communication skills, you begin to build walls with your co-workers as well as with important people in your life. Stated in How to Tap IT’s Hidden Potential article in the Wall Street Journal “Too often, there’s a wall between a company’s information-technology department and everything else. That wall has to go.” With proper business-IT alignment your organization should work harmoniously with IT and business workers. Having open communication channels, active engagement between parties and good listening skills can help your company achieve its overall goals and objectives.

Make sure you practice your communication skills, whether it is a presentation or just holding a conversation with a co-worker.  How do you see yourself in the conversation? Effective communication skills go a long way and by adopting these skills you will be able to achieve even more success.

What are your thoughts on the value of communication skills? Please share your thoughts below!

Posted By: Melissa Zeman

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