In a January 2023 social media post, the Project Management Institute team asked, "What’s the most underrated aspect of being a project manager?"
Project managers from the community responded with an overwhelming number who cited the importance of soft and communication skills.
We've found this to be true in other aspects of ICT – whether in ITSM, cloud computing, AI or even cyber security. At the Australian Information Security Association (AISA) Cyber Conference in Canberra last March 2023, some of our staff joined the team at ISC2. There, we received feedback from cyber security leaders about the large gap in communication skills.
Consultants and internal cyber security teams need guidance and the confidence to build partnerships with stakeholders, present strategies and provide updates on vulnerabilities.
Thrive Global shares:
"Even if your position is based around technology, all jobs require interaction with other people such as coworkers. Collaboration is very valuable. Your teammates will be able to help you solve problems that you would be unable to find answers to alone."
Training is another important part of interpersonal communication. At some point, you will be required to transfer knowledge to others. If you are a support specialist, you will have to communicate with clients and help them understand computer software without any technological jargon. This is a very valuable skill that can take years to develop.
How to improve communication skills
Regardless of your industry or specialisation, there are some practices you can immediately adopt to improve your communication skills. You can apply these tips to your written communication, presentations, and day-to-day conversations with different stakeholders.
Think about your audience.
This involves putting yourself in your audience's shoes and identifying the best communication method. Consider their department’s projects or problems and how your proposal will support or solve them. How do these all align with the organisation's goals?
Your relationship with the person and seniority are considerations for the level of formality or informality in your language. End users may not understand technical terms. And acronyms may have different meanings for different specialisations.
Be clear and concise, but specific.
Less is often more. A famous internet phrase says, "Explain like I'm 5." The implication is that we need to explain the matter to someone with a limited understanding of the issue, much like professionals with deep technical knowledge outside our own.
This forces us to simplify our word choice, remove filler words, focus on the logic and flow of our arguments and prioritise details most relevant to the project's current phase.
Manpower Group writes:
"People want to know that they are being heard. Really listen to what the other person is saying, instead of formulating your response. Ask for clarification to avoid misunderstandings."
The Harvard Division of Continuing Education recommends more tips on active listening:
Rephrase or paraphrase what you’ve heard when making your reply
Ask open-ended questions designed to elicit additional information
What is communication training?
Many often ask what's involved in training to improve communication skills in the workplace. We share details on what to expect as well as courses you can explore.
Communication skills training in Australia helps you overcome common communication roadblocks. Students can learn theories and get opportunities to practice. During the courses, they can apply what they learn about effective written communication and presentation skills. They can also build connections and influence.
Lumify's professional development soft skills training provides teams with practical skills and tools in communication. These are delivered in partnership with organisations like PD Training, ENS, and Illuminate Group.
This training is a fun and interactive half-day course offering practical skills and knowledge on building relationships and listening with intent.
Business Writing for the Digital Era
Improve written communication skills with this training. Gain a solid understanding of how specific documents should be approached, designed and edited. Technology-enabled communications (emails and texts) should also be considered.
Learn strategies for overcoming common communication barriers and essential skills like active listening, effective use of voice and tone, investigative questioning skills and exploring the importance of body language and non-verbal communication from others.
Conflict Resolution: SOS Conversations
Learn how to manage high-stakes conversations and understand critical principles of negotiations.
Expert Negotiation and Influencing
This course is a rigorous two-day master class for small groups. The training provides personalised coaching and mentoring for your current challenges.
Influence and Persuasion at Work
Gain a deeper understanding of the nuances of persuasion. Pick up techniques for influencing and persuading others, such as storytelling, neuro-linguistics, planning conversations, mirroring, matching, etc.
This course is recommended for anyone tasked with managing groups of people in the workplace, especially for multi-disciplinary projects.
Presentation and Communication Skills
Gain in-depth knowledge and skills in planning, preparing and delivering engaging presentations.
What are short courses for professional development like?
Lumify Work (formerly DDLS) offers flexible learning solutions for communication training with Lumify Anywhere.
In Australia, communication training is available from our campuses in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth.
If time or distance prevents you from coming to us, we can train your team on your premises or deliver state-of-the-art remote instructor-led training. Full HD video and audio create a virtual classroom experience and access to our expert instructors.
Wherever you do business in Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific, Lumify is getting more local to you daily.
Delivery modalities provided by Lumify include:
Traditional classroom delivery (Instructor-Led Training or ILT)
Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT)
Hybrid VILT delivery
Enquire with us about Professional Development courses today.