How to Demonstrate Good Communication Skills

Updated on January 4, 2018
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Sally is a business communications coach who gives workshops on how to keep your professional reputation squeaky clean and drama-free.

The job I am applying for requires good communication skills. How do I prove I have what they are looking for?

Have you ever appeared on TV or in a radio interview? Dealing with the media is a good communication skill to have.
Have you ever appeared on TV or in a radio interview? Dealing with the media is a good communication skill to have.

What are good communication skills?

Almost every job posting these days says candidates must have good communication skills. Here's how to show your future employer you've got what they want!

Communication skills can be broken down into different components. Here, we'll look at ways for you to think about how you can show your future employer that you are competent in all of these five categories:

  • Written Communication Skills
  • Social Media Skills
  • Etiquette and Decorum
  • Public Speaking and Presentation Skills
  • Interpersonal Communication Skills

Read through the questions and try to identify ways that you can show your job interviewer or prospective employer that you have a balanced set of communication skills that will help you perform exceptionally well at your next job.

Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.

— Robert Frost

Written Communication Skills

When people try to identify whether or not they have good communication skills, public speaking and writing skills are usually the first place they look when doing an inventory of what they have to offer. If you have had jobs in the past that required you to create advertisements, write business letters, edit company newsletters, then you've got a head start in the good communications skills department. Here are some things you might want to review before as you prepare for your next job interview.

  • Are you a good writer with a strong attention to detail? Does spelling and grammar matter to you? Make sure that every document or writing sample you submit to your future employer is accurate and free of errors.
  • How many different types of written content have you worked on? Manuals, web content, newsletters? Identify those writing projects, find strong samples to include in your portfolio and and describe the concrete results that were derived from each project. For example, if you wrote fundraising letters for your last job at a charitable organization, include a sample letter in your portfolio and highlight the impact of your letter on the overall fundraising campaign (i.e.; dollars raised, new donors acquired, past donors retained, what the funds raised were able to do for the organization, etc.).

Social Media Skills

Good communications skills aren't measured just by how many followers you have. Make sure to highlight how you engage with the public online. Demonstrate that you know how to represent your brand or the brand of your employer online in a professional manner.

  • How do you communicate on social media? If someone looked at your public social media activity, what would they see? Someone who knows how to behave and act professionally online, or someone who has poor boundaries?
  • Can you identify your social media skills and how they’ve had a positive impact on others?

Do you have professional boundaries when it comes to using your social media accounts? If you do, that's an indicator that you've got good communication skills!
Do you have professional boundaries when it comes to using your social media accounts? If you do, that's an indicator that you've got good communication skills!

Etiquette and Decorum

  • Are you polite and well-mannered? Would your past or current boss and co-workers describe you as agreeable and easy to get along with?
  • Are you culturally sensitive and aware? Have you traveled for work and interacted with diverse audiences and cultures? Have you ever had to communicate with people whose first language wasn’t English? In today’s global economy, demonstrating that you have the competency to deal with customers around the world is key to your success.
  • How do you behave in meetings? Do you pay attention? Are you alert? How much space do you take up in the meeting?
  • Do you have good phone etiquette? Do you respond to messages promptly? Are your phone messages clear, direct and concise?
  • Do you send thank yous and acknowledgements promptly?
  • Do you pay attention to your own personal visual presentation. Are your grooming and dressing habits professional and appropriate for the occasion? Is your hairstyle fresh and up-to-date?

Do you dress appropriately at work and for various social functions? Paying attention to your grooming habits is one indicator that you know how to communicate effectively.
Do you dress appropriately at work and for various social functions? Paying attention to your grooming habits is one indicator that you know how to communicate effectively.

Public Speaking and Presentation Skills

  • Do you know how to prepare visually appealing presentation materials?
  • How do you use variety to make your presentations interesting?
  • Do you know how to use good-natured, non-offensive humor in your speeches and presentations?
  • Are you able to read the room, gauge interest, and respond to the audience’s needs?
  • Can you build rapport with your audience? Are they alert and attentive to what you are saying? Are they asking questions and making comments? Are they interacting with you?
  • Are you committed to improving your communication skills? If so, how? List courses you’ve taken and any educational programs or associations you are involved with (i.e.; Toastmasters).

How do you conduct yourself during formal and informal meetings at work? Do you dominate the conversation? Or do you facilitate meaningful dialogue and allow everyone a chance to speak?
How do you conduct yourself during formal and informal meetings at work? Do you dominate the conversation? Or do you facilitate meaningful dialogue and allow everyone a chance to speak?

Interpersonal Communication Skills

How you interact with people on a day to day basis can reveal a lot about your communication skills. There are so many different facets to being a good communicator. From managing conflict to having difficult conversations with co-workers to making small talk without sounding inane, how you deal with people in everyday situations is one way to assess how good your social skills are.

  • Can you give constructive feedback? This is an incredibly important communication skill to master, particularly if you want to move up and take on more leadership roles. For your interview, think of a few anecdotes about having to give feedback to someone, particularly difficult feedback. Reminder: when sharing anecdotes, be sure to protect people's privacy. Don't give away details that might reveal the identity of the people involved in your conversation.
  • Are you able to use your interpersonal communication skills to build bridges, solve problems, resolve conflict, motivate people, give constructive feedback?
  • Are you assertive? How so? What kind of language do you use to express yourself assertively?
  • Are you a good listener? Can you make people feel as though they are the only one in the room when you are talking to them or does your body language tell the other person that you are distracted and bored?

Which of these communication mistakes would embarrass you the most?

See results

Image Credits: Pixabay.com

© 2016 Sally Hayes

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