Communication skills training is key

Communication skills training helps reduce the barriers erected because of language and cultural differences.

Many of us have experienced first-hand the results of poor communication. Teams work in silos, often with their own perspective of tasks, which can lead to conflict when they are forced to collaborate with others. Think about the amount of time you  spend resolving problems that have occurred due to a written or spoken miscommunication.  Think about the challenges to effective communication caused by our current technology. To avoid costly miscommunication, leadership needs to provide training on proper communication skills.

Good communication skills entail more than just the ability to make small talk or continue a social conversation. Those who receive communication training are not only more confident in their ability to converse with coworkers, clients and partners, but also to express themselves in written reports and emails and be a positive ambassador of their brand. 

An increasing number of organizations are seizing on the competitive advantages presented by employing diverse teams. While this presents numerous benefits such as enhanced problem solving and a wider array of perspectives, diverse working environments can also create challenges in communication. 

Communication skills training helps erode the barriers created by having many distinct cultures and languages in the workplace. Training also helps avoid the confusion that can occur from miscommunication, and helps increase cohesion between team members of diverse backgrounds. Each culture can have its own behavioral expectations that those unfamiliar with it may find strange or surprising. Communication training helps even the playing field, so everyone understands how to effectively share his or her opinion and contribute to the task at hand. 

If your organization has yet to offer employees the opportunity to improve their communication skills, you could be falling behind the competitive curve, according to the a recent survey performed by the American Management Association (AMA). The AMA's poll showed that communication skills are the most common areas of improvement targeted by training programs.

When asked the question "If your organization makes an effort to develop individual contributors, which of the following kinds of content are included in such programs?", 66 percent of 700 organizations responded that communication skills are their main focus. In fact, training on communication skills beat out many other popular topics, such as leadership training and development, and even specific skills related to an individual's role. 

"Being able to frame ideas and share them with colleagues in both writing and speaking is so fundamental that these are most often a starting point in professional growth and development," explained AMA's director, Jennifer Jones, in a press release announcing the results. As fewer school systems teach grammar, and more young people enter the workforce without this educational background, employers are increasingly called upon to teach effective written communication.

The survey results show that an increasing number of organizations are realizing the important role that communication skills play in building, strengthening and retaining business relationships. Communication skills must be part of your employee training plan.