As we move out of the pandemic, many of us will still be adapting to changes in the workplace. Some people will be challenged with keeping a team motivated without being in an office; others will be wondering what new skills employers are looking for in candidates. In our increasingly complex world, communication is not just important, it’s vital to preparing for the future of work.
The most-valued communication skills
Communication is what connects us. Through good communication, we can bring people together, create shared understanding, build trust, and more. Interpersonal communication is the sharing of ideas, information, feelings and intent, both verbally and nonverbally. We all do it everyday – whether we’re sitting face-to-face with somebody or explaining a point on a video call.
Those who are skilled in interpersonal communication possess skills such as mindful listening, collaboration, and empathy. Particularly as many companies move towards a new model of hybrid working, these skills will be crucial in fostering a sense of community and inclusivity. If you are a manager, for example, your ability to convey feedback constructively and clearly will help you to keep your team motivated and engaged, even in a remote setting.
Rapid changes in the workplace, and in our environment, require strong leadership skills to steer a company forwards. A strong leader will be able to instil loyalty and trust in their employees by modelling the company’s core values. To do that – you need to be a clear and confident communicator.
We look to the top for qualities such as problem solving and decision making, positive influencing and thought leadership. As a leader, you will also need to be able to get your message through to a lot of people in a way that resonates. Public speaking skills and presentation skills are essential, allowing you to align various teams to one common goal and lead with impact.
Listening and empathetic communication
We might associate these skills with certain roles – HR manager for example – but listening is one of the most underrated and powerful tools we can possess. Think about it: no matter how knowledgeable you are on a topic, if the colleague or client you’re speaking to is disengaged, that information will not transfer.
Effective communication is about putting the listener’s needs first and considering what action you would like them to take. By making listening a conscious act at work, you will gain a better understanding of your colleagues, prevent conflict arising, and encourage open communication.
Conflict handling skills
Many conflicts begin with miscommunication. To some extent, they are a normal part of life, but left unresolved they can have a negative effect on morale and productivity. Many aspects of the workplace will change in the future as certain functions become automated, but conflict resolution will always be a necessary skill.
So what is the correct approach? And what if you naturally shy away from confrontation? The role of a mediator in these situations is to defuse tension and drive towards a positive outcome, all the while taking a calm and objective stance. Our conflict handling workshop helps you develop the right strategies, to handle challenging people and disputes with confidence.
How our Professional Skills workshops can help
The British Council’s Professional Skills workshops are designed to meet the demands of the modern workplace, equipping participants with the skills to stand out as candidates and advance in their careers. Our workshops cover specific, in-demand skill areas and can be delivered flexibly, either face-to-face or online. Following our interactive sessions led by trainers with extensive subject knowledge and corporate experience, participants are offered post-programme support to reinforce learning, ensuring real, actionable results.
Discover which professional communication skills we cover in our full-day workshops.