Title Card - Opinion: My Most Important Skill

Opinion: My Most Important Skill

There are many important skills in the workplace, and you will find many of them in job descriptions repeated ad nauseum. There are some skills that apply to any workplace, like conflict resolution, teamwork, or time management, and there are others that are industry-specific, frequently seeing HTML or Javascript in the web development positions or Customer Relationship Management software in sales and marketing. Each skill has its place, but there is one skill that I feel has been falling to the wayside, and is even more valuable when you find someone who has it.

I’m talking about both verbal and written communication. Especially in my home field of information technology, finding people who are able to speak the language of computers while also being able to talk to people using clear and plain language is becoming more and more difficult to find. It’s not even just my own observation, it comes from several hiring managers who have said so in several interviews I have attended.

Obviously, this isn’t just limited to computer science, but it is the field with which I have the most experience. Communication skills are diverse and extremely important tools in any organization, even if you aren’t dealing with other people directly and have deliverables that largely only reach your supervisor.

Allowing others to clearly understand your meaning can make all the difference when it comes to productivity. Less time explaining and more time doing will only help your team in the long run. Clear communication in writing also leads to increased productivity, both in emails and documentation. If you have written very clear and readable documentation for others to use, that is less time required for explanation and projects get completed faster.

One practice that should be a best practice in any organization is to regularly meet with teams to discuss how things can be done better. Continuous improvement practices allow your organization to constantly evaluate its operations and procedures to ensure it is as efficient as possible. This requires – you guessed it – clear and concise communication with your entire team. It also requires your team to be willing to participate and subscribe to the model of continuous improvement, for it can only prove fruitful if there is actual effort put into it.

While some prefer collaborative meetings, continuous improvement can also take the form of an anonymous suggestion box, where anyone can feel welcome to express their opinions without the worry that their idea is too silly to attach their name to it. When it comes to improvement, all ideas should be welcomed, no matter how silly they might seem at first! Because while some ideas may not be fully developed and cannot be implemented directly, they could lead to excellent brainstorming sessions that do produce excellent results.

At the end of the day, fostering a welcoming and open environment for friendly communication is often the key to success in many organizations. Developing your skills as a strong communicator will often set you apart as a leader in your field, and you will be surprised at just how often you will get called upon to present your ideas.