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« Crowdsourcing to Get a Great Strategy Sketch | Main | Can Communities Focus? »

August 16, 2008


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Ari Herzog

Very true, Rachel, but let me ask you why job ads asking for people with communication skills of any caliber don't stress the importance of online dialogue.

I wonder how many people who compose job ads, let alone hiring individuals use LinkedIn, for instance, not just as a resume depository but to actively network with prospective employees, partner and vendor organizations, and peers. Because by experience, unless if one works in the PR or tech fields to stereotype, the familiarity of LinkedIn is nil.


Excellent article. I feel the same way and always have - I always think, I don’t know anymore than any of these people do, why are they always looking to me? :). The way I explain it is the way I have explained it in job interviews before and has seemed to resonate. Some people have job/skill expertise which obviously is absolutely important (I mean, I’m never going to program anything). But I think most people can learn pretty much most jobs/skills with some basic grasp of what needs to be done. But what cannot be taught in my opinion is people. This is more than "I have good people skills;" it’s the ability to read people, meet them at their level, find synergies (hate that word :)), figure out how to reach them/communicate with them, and determine what best motivates each different person. I think this what makes a good communicator and leader and is a skill in and of itself. Its hard to explain this without sounding like you are saying I have good people skills so thanks for giving me some words that can help.

Joann  Sondy

Excellent article and relevancy of topic. I’m curious how the usage and popularity of text messaging, twittering and other condensed versions of communicating will impact how we communicate with each other. Will we be speaking in acronyms? Abbreviated sentences that required decoding? I look forward to further posts on the topic because it is too important to our society as a whole.

Dr Wright

In a job application, excellent communication skills means you understand and do exactly what your boss said.

Dr. Wright
The Wright Place TV Show

Rachel Happe

Thanks for the great comments - the issue of online communication skills is an interesting one. I'm not sure how it is going to ultimately change things although I feel old now when I get a 'How R U?' message and wonder why the person can't take the approximately one second to type out the words :)

As for job applicants...not sure about others...but I want employees who can think for themselves and have some conviction although I don't like argumentative employees either...and there is a difference.

Thanks for stopping by and for the comments!


Dennis Howlett

Cap Gemini has a useful if scientific view of this issue: which they skew towards 'influence.'

Scott Germaise

There's one point you listed that maybe requires another as a prerequisite.

"Ability to simplify and use analogs to help people understand complex issues or arguments"

To do this, you usually have to be a good listener. The only way to get an effective analog / metaphor is to be able to bridge the gap between a speaker and a listener. This means either some cross-over domain knowledge, ability to empathize or some other hook into others' world view. And in any case, (assuming you're not the original message sender / talker), the ability to interpret what is really being said.

Anyone who's ever heard a conversation or interjected into a conversation something like, "oh, oh... wait... what he means is..." can easily grasp this point. As can anyone who gets a sense a listener isn't 'getting it' and says, "let me give you another example..."

Of course, we all know some are more effective at this than others; either naturally or training.


Rachel Happe

Dennis - thanks for the great link and Scott, for pointing out a major element (perhaps the over-riding one)that I did not directly articulate which is active listening, absolutely critical to many of these points.


It is such an asset to have good communication skills. Don't mind much of the spelling as long as you can communicate effectively. Though it might become a factor for some miscommunication. I admire people with such skills because you can handle situations easily.

Kate Brodock

Rachel -

Great point. One of the interesting things here is that your list of good communication skills is something that these job-seekers could actually distinguish pretty well in one or two interviews before they reach a hiring decision.

However, looking at your list of excellent communication skills, which is what they claim to be looking for, I would be very surprised if they could sense most of those in the short time they give candidates to showcase their skills. They may then be able to glean a little more info from references, should they get that far, but still, I don't think, enough to really get a sense of communication skills.


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