Soft Skills Training Tip for the Day: How to Become a Stellar Communicator


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Soft skills: The inter­per­sonal skills that go beyond tech­ni­cal acu­men, prod­uct knowl­edge, and sales savvy, are often viewed as dif­fi­cult to train; employ­ees either have strong soft skills or they don’t, is the com­mon refrain.

While it may be dif­fi­cult to teach peo­ple how to be warm or to have charisma, you can improve soft skills by help­ing your team be bet­ter at com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Whether you are super­vis­ing a team of sales pro­fes­sion­als, call cen­ter employ­ees, or even fel­low man­agers, improv­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills will facil­i­tate the job tasks, both within your orga­ni­za­tion and for the cus­tomers you serve. For today’s soft skills train­ing tip of the day, take note of the fol­low­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion tac­tics, and make sure to share them with your team.

Soft skills com­mu­ni­ca­tion tip #1: Mul­ti­task­ing is great. Just not when you’re hav­ing a conversation.

Per­haps it’s because we’ve all become so adept at mul­ti­task­ing when doing every­thing – dri­ving, watch­ing TV, or work­ing, that we feel we can also mul­ti­task while car­ry­ing on con­ver­sa­tions. This is not the case, how­ever, and attempt­ing to check your email while you talk to a cus­tomer is one of the eas­i­est ways to com­mu­ni­cate that you really don’t care that much, and that you are not that invested in what your cus­tomer (or co-worker) has to say.

Give com­mu­ni­ca­tion a high pri­or­ity. Focus on the per­son you’re talk­ing to, and focus on that per­son alone. Don’t surf the web, be orga­niz­ing your desk, or be scrolling through text mes­sages. Give the other per­son your undi­vided atten­tion, and you’ll be amazed at how much eas­ier it is to truly lis­ten, ask rel­e­vant ques­tions, and help solve prob­lems. Attempt­ing to mul­ti­task while car­ry­ing on con­ver­sa­tions wastes your customer’s time and yours.

Soft skills com­mu­ni­ca­tion tip #2: Take notes dur­ing your conversations

The sec­ond soft skills tip may seem like a con­tra­dic­tion to tip #1 – don’t mul­ti­task, but it’s actu­ally not. Take notes of the con­ver­sa­tion you’re hav­ing (don’t take notes relat­ing to your gro­cery list, in other words), not­ing impor­tant points, any follow-up that needs to take place, and a sum­mary so that you can take action after the con­ver­sa­tion. Often dur­ing con­ver­sa­tions, we become so focused on our next point, that we stop pay­ing atten­tion to the actual dis­cus­sion tak­ing place. Tak­ing notes will help you record impor­tant points or sum­ma­rize what the other per­son said, which will allow you to bet­ter focus on the con­ver­sa­tion in real time. You don’t need to put pres­sure on your­self to mem­o­rize con­ver­sa­tions – no one will give you an award for that. Instead, take notes so you can focus and remem­ber the impor­tant points.

Soft skills com­mu­ni­ca­tion tip #3: Read the entire email. No, really.

If your inbox is bar­raged with emails (and really, whose isn’t?), you may feel like skim­ming emails is a good way to boost your pro­duc­tiv­ity. Skim­ming emails and cor­re­spon­dence is a bit like doing only half the job – it’s too easy to miss impor­tant points, or to for­get to respond to ques­tions if you are only half pay­ing atten­tion to the email. It’s well worth it to take the time to care­fully read emails, espe­cially those from cus­tomers, so that you can craft a clear response. Make sure you address all of the points directed at you (bul­let points are great). Tak­ing time to read emails and respond thor­oughly will save you time in the long run, as it often saves mul­ti­ple emails back and forth to cover points that weren’t addressed.

Soft skills com­mu­ni­ca­tion tip #4: Be delib­er­ate about when you respond

Do you ever feel over­whelmed by all of the cor­re­spon­dence that you receive? Do you put off responses for days, or do you try to respond to every­thing at once, which causes you to neglect other high-priority aspects of your job? Cre­ate a com­mu­ni­ca­tion sched­ule, which dic­tates when you will respond – for exam­ple: all emails within 24 hours, phone calls within 4 hours, text mes­sages within 2 hours, etc. By giv­ing your­self time­frames, you will be able to pri­or­i­tize what you respond to, and you will give your­self bound­aries for get­ting back to cus­tomers in a timely man­ner. Try it – you’ll be amazed at how much eas­ier your day goes once you have a sim­ple com­mu­ni­ca­tion struc­ture in place.

Great com­mu­ni­ca­tion takes work

Being a great com­mu­ni­ca­tor doesn’t come nat­u­rally to most of us – and even for those who seem to have a nat­ural knack for com­mu­ni­cat­ing, you’ll prob­a­bly notice that there is a method to their mad­ness. Start putting into prac­tice our above soft skills com­mu­ni­ca­tion tips, and see the dif­fer­ence it makes. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, like most things in life, takes aware­ness and prac­tice to be truly great.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joanna Jones
Joanna Jones is a professional copywriter and marketing strategist who has partnered with Impact Learning Systems for two years. As a marketing professional, Joanna works closely with customer service teams and helps companies improve their B2B and B2C communications and strategy.


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