The myth of communication skills | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 31, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:58 PM, May 30, 2019

The myth of communication skills

It is considered to be common knowledge that extroverts are great communicators. Interpolating from that, it is widely believed that people who take the lead on group discussions spontaneously display reliable leadership skills. Banking on these myths, Dhaka has cultivated professional communications trainers and life coaches who train you to break your shell. Many flock to these sessions hoping it will help them build a better impression. Exorbitantly flamboyant styles are adopted during presentations by students hoping to earn some extra credits. While communication skills are indeed an important set of skills to have, we often make the mistake of equating extroversion with being skillful. For effective communication, here are some common myths you should be careful about.

Improvisation is everything

Interviewers can be greatly impressed at your ability to adapt if you improvise and handle any impromptu situations. But what impresses them even more, is diligent preparation. If you come across as someone who appears to tackle questions on a surface-level without a deeper understanding that comes with preparation, you’ll also come across as ignorant and lazy. You don’t want to be the student who always answers questions of faculty members by japing. So it’s best to have a strategy and researched preparation before any interactive class or job interviews. Preparation can be done for curveballs too, if you give the effort. Everyone can tell when you’re prepared and when you’re aimlessly winging it.

Interruption is boldness

Bold figures make great leaders and leading discussions in any sector will help you stand out. However, interrupting whilst someone else is speaking is not bold. Often, it is noticed that, students who are probably more knowledgeable in a certain topic prefer to interrupt other students while they are speaking to share their version of information that they think is important. This not only comes off as rude, but also tells the listeners that you are someone who is too ignorant to learn from others. 

The more the merrier

In their quest to deliver as much information as possible, interviewees and students often speak beyond their allotted time limit. Interviews usually don’t have stopwatches calculating your speaking time, but any answer that exceeds one minute, unless the interviewer specifically asks you to elaborately describe something, is considered unnecessary. Concise answers that carry relevant information are preferred, as they are easier to keep track of and boasts of your time management skills.

Communication is a one-way street

If you are leading a program at your office and you conclude your speeches in meetings without engaging your group members, then you are doing it wrong. Even as a member who is just expressing their opinion on an issue, it is always best to frame your opinion with an ending that invites questions and opinions from others. Don’t make the mistake of becoming a nonstop chatterbox in your quest to seem like a productive contributor, as a good communicator always listens first and speaks later.

Introverts are bad communicators

Effective communication is not just verbal communication. It can be non verbal, it can be in written form, and it can even be expressed in art. How you want to impact your audience depends entirely on you and your best skills are suited for this job. Introverts are often discouraged from taking on leadership roles or becoming influencers because of this myth. You don’t need to radiate confidence and speak vocally, if you can effectively master some other method of communication.

Noshin Saiyara is an aspiring conservationist who is deluded into thinking that she can save the planet from dying. Reach her at nsaiyara12@gmail.com to bring her back to reality.

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