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A Cornerstone of Life


          It is human nature to want to share our ideas, thoughts, wants, and needs with others. Many times, it satisfies a primal need to answer, “What is in it for me?” Effective communication skills are what our relationships and lives are built upon. Remember, communication is more than speaking—it is written, musical, nonverbal, verbal, and movements that convey meaning.

          In our personal lives, communication is the glue of nurturing relationships. Our friends and loved ones base their desire to be with us on our ability to communicate. If you couldn’t convey messages to your significant other, would they want to be with you? When your mother hugs you after a long day, do you feel the message of love coming across? If you paint a picture of an event, aren’t you communicating the messages and importance of that day?

          In business, our livelihoods depend on our communication skills. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) says communication skills are the most important quality in job candidates—higher than teamwork and problem-solving. In your professional career, you may prepare and present proposals for nonprofits, convince your manager you should be given a raise or promotion, work with clients to grow your business, convey appreciation about growth in the business, unveil products to consumers, or even tell employees they will not receive a raise this year. All of these examples require you to effectively communicate. 

          Consider your career and specific examples of what information you need to communicate:

  • Medical Doctors:

    • Explaining a procedure to your patient or to their family.

    • Trying to find out what is wrong with your patient in the 10-minute office visit you are allotted during the day.

    • Explaining to the nurse in the operating room what needs to be done to save your patient’s life.

    • Presenting to a congressional committee your thoughts on how health care can be provided for all citizens.

    • Accepting an award for your meritorious service to Doctors Without Borders.

    •  Discussing with the pharmacist the medication you ordered for a patient.

  • Dentists: 

    • Explaining dental procedures to help a patient understand the best oral care required.

    • Explaining to the patient the process for the oral surgery the patient needs.

  • Nurses: 

    • Talking with patients to see where they hurt.

    •  Speaking with patients about a wellness plan.

    • Speaking with clients about dietary restrictions.

    • Attending to patients to deliver the medication they need.

  • Personal Trainers: 

    • Explaining the need for a physical fitness plan for the client.

    • Showing how to use the equipment in the gym to a client.

    • Explaining to a prospective client what the facilities of the gym offer to them as a member.

  •  Engineers: 

    • Talking with the board members at a large company about the drone prototype you have built and why they should purchase it.

    • Showing the project manager how you want the next phase of the building to be done.

    • Presenting to your superiors your drawings and how they expedite the process of building the item.

    • Talking with the news media about the bridge project you designed.

    • Showing the area customers your idea for how the continual flooding of their homes can be eliminated.

  • Scientists: 

    • Expressing your concerns about how the destruction of artifacts impacts history.

    • Showing penguins to a third-grade class and explaining the different types.

  • Computer Systems Analysts: 

    • Providing solutions as to why the computer network at your company is not working correctly.

    • Working with users over the phone to troubleshoot software or hardware problems.

  • Attorneys: 

    • Arguing your case before the state supreme court.

    • Asking a client to recount the accident in detail for your case.

    • Successfully defending your client in a court of law.

    • Asking the paralegal for research to be done on other cases similar to the one you are defending.

          What are some examples in your life? The ongoing study of communication is an asset to everyone’s personal and professional lives. 

Review Questions

1) Why is communication important in personal relationships? In business relationships?

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