Being able to communicate is a basic life skill that proves beneficial to all of us. Moreover, being able to communicate effectively is an extremely vital skill that can behoove us in all facets of life. For students, communication is one of the most vital life skills to be mastered: at all levels of education, they must be able to communicate effectively. Without well-developed communication skills, students run the risk of falling behind their peers, becoming emotionally overwhelmed, or even withdrawn from school.
Effective communication skills can help make better impressions on others, and enable individuals to engage in clear conversations, in both oral and written form. With an ever changing global society, developing interpersonal skills like deft communication abilities can help students compete in the changing career landscape, digital advancements, and increasingly difficult competition in both colleges and the workplace. Academic success depends on solid communication skills, whether it be oral or written.
Effective Communication Skills That Benefit Students
To communicate is to express yourself, in either written or oral form. Communication can also be in a nonverbal sense, through gestures, body language, or other physical forms of communicating a point or expression. Regardless of the type of communication, communicating effectively comes down to the innate ability to convey information to others in a clear, effective, efficient, concise manner.
Communication can take on many forms, and is often referenced in more formal settings, such as speeches or presentations, or even reports or forms of communication in the workplace. As a society, we are constantly communicating, and there are several ways to master the art of effective communication. For college and postsecondary students, improving communication skills will pay dividends later on.
When it comes to verbal communication, a critical piece is the tone and articulation of how you speak to others. How we sound when we talk is a component of communication that is extremely unique to us as individuals. Communication can take on different forms, meanings, and context all based on the tone of our voices in conversation. Additionally, unclear articulation can lead to a lack of understanding, while clear and slow articulation can lead to your audience clearly understanding the meaning of your message. Communicating pleasant tones and a clear message breeds confidence, particularly in interview or classroom environments where pressure situations exist.
A somewhat forgotten piece of communication is proper body language. Oftentimes, we as people can communicate just by our body language in ways such as eye contact, hugs, and firm handshakes communicate positivity and an upbeat attitude. Vice versa, crossing your arms, furrowing your brow, frowning, or standing aggressively, just to name a few. These nonverbal tactics allow people to get their point across, without speaking. Effective communication skills through body language include holding your shoulders back, and standing up straight.
Listening and Authenticity
Another example of an effective communication skill actually has nothing to do with speaking and instead involves being an active listener. As an active listener, focus is shown and displayed to the speaker, and in turn, improves one’s ability to respond and interpret the message being delivered. The art of conversation is one that has changed rapidly. Becoming an active listener can actually help develop better communication skills, and lead to deeper and more meaningful insights, which can particularly serve students in interview settings.
Finally, a key communication skill essential to students in a postsecondary world is the art of being authentic. In the education profession, students know when teachers or school leaders are not being genuine. Real relationships come from transparency, originality, and a genuine connection to one another. When we communicate, we must use our true, authentic voice, one that shows others who we really are, and in turn, is more readily understood and accepted. Being able to communicate is half the battle.
Communication is Needed Everywhere
Expertly communicating with knowledge and clarity makes up a large part of what is considered effective communication. Whether presenting as part of a group project, job interview, or some type of group setting, sharing information and ideas must be done in a clear and precise manner, in which ideas and topics presented are clear to the audience. Additionally, stringing words together that have no connection or meaning to one another, simply to make oneself sound more educated is a flaw that many succumb to when presenting or communicating to others.
Communication skills are highly valuable, particularly to postsecondary students. As a student, the formative years in postsecondary education can help to form great habits and work ethic that will benefit you later in life. Communication is a skill, and one that needs constant practice because strong interpersonal skills, like being able to communicate, are valuable skills in any aspect of life.
For college students, one way to practice these skills, and be challenged in other areas, is to take a public speaking course. Many colleges and universities offer these classes, and students learn the various strategies in communicating to others on specific topics. Additionally, speech and debate courses help students hone communication skills, in an environment where topics are typically challenging, hot-button issues that require advanced research and a strong knowledge base.
In the end, there are so many benefits to being an effective communicator, and having strong communication skills as a student. Although communication skills can help in the obvious manner as a student in classes or interviews, having strong communication skills can help to be a better listener, develop empathy to others by making true connections through communication, develop critical thinking skills, understand and perform better in group settings or in the workplace, and have more confidence in social settings, and prospective job openings.