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Communication Competence

Qualified education, networked thinking, good organisational skills – these are all factors that can lead to success and which ease the path of a career. Yet, successful collaboration with other people demands far more – it demands good communication. The ability to contribute your own ideas by interacting appropriately.

Modern Means of Communication

Our working habits keep developing. Forms of online and multimedia collaboration are becoming more and more important. For this reason it is important to be aware of the different means of communication and know how to use them appropriately. In a face-to-face meeting or during a video conference, you not only have to pay attention to your choice of words but especially to your gestures. In forms of communication where gestures are absent, such as in audio communication, intonation becomes more important. When writing messages various points considering the form of the text must be taken into consideration. The shorter the message, the more precise it must be, otherwise misunderstandings can occur. A short text message must be more precise than a message in a messaging-system, to which you can add more detail. Also the respond time is important. In urgent cases it might make more sense to make a telephone call than to write an e-mail.

Social Aspects

Next to the different means of communication psychological aspects are of great importance. It is vital to have understanding for the other person’s way of thinking – empathy. How does my interlocutor understand/interpret what I am saying? Imagine a possible course of discussion and try putting yourself into the other person’s shoes. Try to imagine what he might be interested in and to which point he will be prepared to make compromises. Pay attention to different types of conversation cultures, as these can vary from country to country. Always inform yourself in advance about the cultural background of your discussion partner. Especially in delicate matters it is important to signal consensus without losing sight of your own goals. Your points of view will more easily be accepted if you instead of simply stating them, can prove them. You can do this by using graphs and spread sheets. 

Communication and Application

All these factors are important also in the application process. A clear and concise language should be considered in cover letters and telephone interviews.

Communication and Leadership

People in executive positions must deal with the issue of external motivation. The motivation for people to work does not solely stem from the interest of earning money. Create a working environment where employees are respected and their work is valued. Regular feedback and appraisal interviews bring you and your employees closer to achieving goals. Do not be reluctant of doing a task now and again that does not match your qualifications. Keep promises, stick to agreements and set a good example.

Can good communication be learnt?

Various offers of further education and training courses on rhetoric, presentation skills and communication methods can be found on the market. Learning in these cases often means becoming more aware of actions and reactions. It is for instance useful to analyse a discussion you have just had. Ask yourself why the discussion took this course and not another. Can you remember how the other person reacted and why she/he reacted that way? Create a mental profile of every person. This will enable you to react appropriately to individual characteristics and use criticism for your personal advancement. Remember that you are always communicating and that you cannot ‘not communicate’. Empathy is very helpful, as well-managed communication creates motivation.


For more information also read our Checklist Communication Competence.