Top 10 Communication Skills Employers Want Most

What are communication skills? And we’ll do it by explaining the top 10 communication skills that hiring managers say they are looking for new employees and emerging leaders.

Top 10 Communication Skills Employers Want Most

Content Summary

Public speaking and presentation skills
Persuasive skills
Interpersonal skills
Listening skills
Communicating with empathy
Providing and accepting feedback
Teamwork and collaboration in groups
Nonverbal communication skills
Phone skills
Written skills
Wrapping up

Public speaking and presentation skills

This is probably the most recognizable communication skill of all time. It could be a big presentation or speech, but it could also mean standing up to share a three-minute message in front of a small group at a meeting. Unusually, entry-level employees are great at this unless they majored in communication and college. But on the flip side, if you are a strong stand-up speaker, you will instantly separate yourself from the crowd. People see good public speaking, and they say to themselves, “That’s a leader.

Persuasive skills

Persuasive skills are crucial because we are constantly making requests for approval and support. The most effective persuasive communication usually involves explaining to listeners that there is some need or problem and then asking them to support your proposed solution. This certainly happens while you’re standing up presenting, but this could happen one-on-one as well, or in a group meeting, even in an email or written proposal.

Interpersonal skills

This is that type of one-on-one communication we do with our friends and significant others. At work, we interact one-on-one with colleagues, supervisors, and subordinates. There are constant demands on task-related communication, like dealing with facts, figures, and spreadsheets, all while working under pressure. This context makes it all the more important that we take the time to also interact in supportive and respectful ways to create mutual understanding and satisfying connections.

Listening skills

This is perhaps the most underrated communication skill I know of. Good listening is a hidden superpower. This involves removing distractions, tuning in, and preparing yourself to absorb the other communicator’s message. This could be listening carefully to learn a new skill or important information. Or it could be listening to be a supportive ear and build genuine relationships at work. I have heard it’s said that good leaders are good listeners.

Communicating with empathy

This cuts across all communication contexts. Empathy is our ability to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes to feel what they might be feeling. That empathy helps us understand where people are coming from, and it builds trust. When we care and keep other people’s interests in mind, we are very likely to create more helpful outcomes.

Providing and accepting feedback

As a supervisor, you will have to provide your employees with feedback to help them develop. And we can’t just point out their mistakes. Constructive feedback should include some specific coaching to help people make improvements. It’s equally important to hear and receive feedback. It’s easy to get defensive, especially when feedback is not explained helpfully, but if you can learn to be open to feedback and find something helpful in it, others will count it as a valuable communication skill.

Teamwork and collaboration in groups

Working in teams is exponentially more complicated than working one-on-one. People who are good in groups have good task skills, like asking good questions, providing helpful information, offering a point of view. And relationship dynamics are also important, like encouraging, and supporting others, and staying positive. Nowadays, it’s hard to picture getting promoted if we aren’t good with groups and teams.

Nonverbal communication skills

Our nonverbal communication creates a powerful impression on others. Our non-verbals give off a vibe that shades everything we say and do. I know a guy who frequently rolled his eyes and made frustrated facial expressions at meetings, and his supervisor finally talked to him about it. And he honestly didn’t even realize he was doing it. Our nonverbal communication and body language can be so automatic, but like the others on the list, we can make improvements with some self-awareness and practice.

Phone skills

Since we are not face-to-face on the phone, we notice other people’s tone of voice and timing much more than usual. If somebody pauses for too long, it can create the impression that something went wrong. So somebody with good phone skills might fill that pause with helpful information and say, “Give me a moment, I’m looking something up.” People with good phone skills make small adjustments in their words and their tone to create a helpful, more well-rounded interaction.

Written skills

This could be emails, reports, a proposal. People will give you credit for good written skills if you’re organized, clear and concise, just like the other communication skills. Now, unlike the other real-time communication skills, you can put a written message aside, and come back to it later, and revise it before sending it. So a word to the wise never sends the first draft of an important message. Set it aside and revise it before you click send.

Wrapping up

Let’s look at this whole list. Yes, there are certainly other communication skills, but when people ask the question, “What are communication skills?” this list gives you the top 10 that employers believe are most important. So the question of the day, which skill do you think is the most important for you to work on?