Advance your Career by Mastering these Communication Skills

JobStreet content teamupdated on 27 July, 2023

In this competitive job market, a mere seven seconds is all it takes for a hiring manager to decide whether a jobseeker is a good fit, while 68% scan resumes in less than two minutes. Therefore, a jobseeker needs a compelling resume to capture employers' attention and showcase the relevant skills and the potential value they can bring to the company.

To acquire many skills, you need good communication skills to comprehend and articulate what is important to the other person, be prompt and responsive, and foster a positive and constructive relationship.

In your personal life, effective communication skills can lead to the following:

  1. improved social, emotional, and mental health
  2. result in stronger existing connections
  3. foster new bonds based on trust and transparency and
  4. improved problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills.

Communication skills in the workplace

Office colleagues enhancing their communication skills through meeting outside the office

Effective communication hinges on ensuring clarity and consistency in your messages while maintaining respect and courtesy toward the other person. Business strategist and author David Horsager emphasises in his lectures that people base their impression of your competence on how clearly you can express yourself. Allison Shapira, recognised expert in public speaking and communication in leadership, agrees. She also adds that leaders need to master communication skills in order to build trust.

Likely, an organisation where colleagues can easily, openly, and effectively communicate is an organisation that is primed for success and meaningful growth. Effective communication in the workplace helps to:

  • manage employees and build teams,
  • accelerate your organisation's growth and retain employees,
  • encourage creativity and innovation, and
  • develop strong relationships and attract more opportunities for you or your organisation.

What is the role of communication in achieving organisational goals?

The success of any organisation, whether product or service-based, depends on its people-centric approach. It enhances people-centricity and promotes innovative ideas.

As over 80% of a manager's workday is spent communicating, basic management processes require effective communication, including planning, organising, leading, and controlling.

What happens when there is poor communication in the workplace?

Poor workplace communication can have a range of negative impacts on an organisation. Firstly, it creates an unpredictable, unstable work environment, leading to unproductive and ineffective work. Secondly, ineffective communication can lead to less effective collaboration between employees, resulting in failed projects and inefficiency. Additionally, poor communication can cause workplace conflict, misunderstandings, and potential disputes between colleagues. This, in turn, can lead to low morale, with employees struggling to meet expectations and deadlines, leading to feelings of guilt, embarrassment, or low self-esteem.

To improve communication, clearly outline project descriptions, set aside regular time to address workplace concerns, and regularly check in with employees. Investing in additional management training or new technologies can also aid in creating an open and efficient communication culture. Improving communication can increase productivity, morale, and overall benefits for an organisation's bottom line. Therefore, organisations should prioritise fostering an environment of effective communication to promote a positive workplace culture.

Understanding different communication styles

office colleagues with different communication styles

How will you identify and manage different communication styles in the workplace? What effect do these four distinct modes of speech have on productivity in the office?

Assertive Communication

balances firmness with openness to compromise. Use active listening, "I" statements, and strong verbs to express requirements. Speak up with conviction and empathy for others' needs. Collaborate with confident communicators by allowing space to think, asking for input, and expecting polite exchanges.

Aggressive communication

is hostile and threatening and focuses on winning at all costs. It’s not very safe and may cause others to push back. You should avoid this style whenever you can. It is more effective to value others' feelings, employ non-combative body language, and focus on solving problems. Working with an aggressive communicator is tough, and advising them to adjust their style may be fruitful. Streamline conversations to avoid unpleasant or irrelevant topics.

Passive communication

can breed resentment and hinder expression and miscommunication. It can counter aggressive communication, but managers should encourage assertiveness in teams. Be confident, learn to say no, and compromise, but not at the expense of everything. When working with passives, ask for opinions, avoid dismissals, and stay positive, solution-oriented, and non-confrontational.

Passive-aggressive communication

is toxic and leads to resentment. Find the root of anger, focus on positivity, and adjust your motivations. Never use this style in the workplace. Work with passive-aggressive individuals by understanding their motivations, avoiding similar responses, highlighting their contributions, offering win-win solutions, and demonstrating a preferred communication style.

Manipulative communication

controls outcomes with deceit and insincerity, which can lead to a lack of trust. Be direct, avoid emotional arguments, and find solutions. You can redirect manipulative communicators by staying vigilant, responding assertively, and restating to clarify their message. Politely refuse manipulation, and they will adjust.

Verbal communication skills

verbal communication skills diagram

Verbal communication skills indicate how you deliver and receive messages in written and spoken interactions. These skills are more focused on how you communicate rather than what you say, and they are important for effective communication and understanding by others. Try to check your verbal competencies:


pertains to how sounds are produced and combined to form words, while pronunciation deals with how words are pronounced.

Tone and voice

express what you are saying rather than the accuracy of the language rules. Your tone and voice can convey your emotions and attitudes, affecting how your message is received.

Active listening

pays full attention to what someone says to demonstrate unconditional acceptance and fair reflection. It requires deeper attention and empathy, ideally leading to greater understanding.


shows another person's point of view rather than just your own. This enables prosocial or helping behaviours from within rather than being forced.

Clarity and conciseness of messages

ensure your audience will understand your point and does not get lost in unnecessary details.


demonstrates how to get your thoughts across without dealing with unnecessary anxieties.


involves directly stating your feelings and needs respectfully by being clear, consistent, and courteous.


in social interactions can elicit positive perceptions, improve interpersonal interactions, reduce conflict, aid in coping, and even facilitate health outcomes.

Non-verbal communication skills

Non-verbal communication skills are crucial for effective interaction. Review these non-verbal cues to enhance your communication:

Body language

Consider how posture, stance, and subtle movements affect perceptions and convey information.

Eye contact

A dominant form of communication, it can indicate interest, affection, hostility, or attraction and helps maintain conversation flow.

Facial expressions

Universally expressive faces convey countless emotions without words.


Conveys various messages, such as attention, involvement, status, and fondness.


Commonly used to express yourself, but be cautious of cultural differences to avoid misinterpretation.


Communicates significantly through various forms like handshakes, hugs, or pats, conveying different messages.


Dress, hair, jewellery, and other aspects signal the importance or interest attributed to an occasion.

You may communicate more effectively and comprehend others around you better by paying attention to these non-verbal signs.

Written communication skills

What connects ancient inscriptions, cave paintings, clay moulds, and papyrus scrolls to modern letters, emails, brochures, leaflets, advertisements, and graphs? All forms of written communication are vital for conveying messages effectively to the intended audience.

These are the aspects of written communication

Spelling and grammar

Underpin effective writing, showcasing professionalism and attention to detail. Clear writing fosters comprehension while mastering punctuation, such as colons, semicolons, and em-dashes, will enable versatile sentence structures and elevated expression.


Favours concise expression without sacrificing clarity; it contrasts with verbosity. Meanwhile,clarityfocuses on specific messages or goals, avoiding overload. Clear communication features complete clarity of thoughts, ideas, and precise, appropriate, concrete words, enhancing message meaning.

Tone and style

Encompass word choice, volume, projection, and intonation. These factors significantly impact communication. A positive tone fosters trust in workplace conflicts, while negative connotations can cause misunderstandings. Mindfulness helps control the tone in real-time conversations. Written communication allows easier tone adjustment; consider revising and seeking colleague input. For heated exchanges, delay sending responses to reduce conflict escalation.

Audience awareness

Informs content inclusion, information arrangement, and necessary supporting details for reader comprehension. It also shapes document tone and structure, ensuring effective communication tailored to the intended recipients.

Persuasion and influence

Allow you to sway your audience towards your viewpoint and elicit a desired response. This skill balances strong arguments, emotional appeals, personal anecdotes, and persuasive language with rationality to make a compelling case. Choose impactful words and craft engaging sentences to leave a lasting impression. By skilfully utilising these techniques, you can convince readers that your perspective is the most appealing course of action.

Active listening, proper tone, and pleasant body language are all skills that come more easily to you if you have a high level ofemotional intelligence. You'll better understand and connect with your staff and teammates. Like effective communication skills, emotional intelligence may not be innate in all leaders.

Active reading and comprehension skills

Enable prompt responses, message replies, and learning from new content. They aid in discerning the tone and main ideas in writing. Good comprehension also assists in self-editing, ensuring the intended message is conveyed effectively from a reader's perspective.

Interpersonal communication skills

Interpersonal or soft skills are crucial in the workplace. An employee that exhibits effective interpersonal skills solidifies their value in the organisation and ensures job stability. It paves the way to lasting positive relationships with coworkers, prevents misunderstandings, maintains motivation, and boosts productivity.

The following are examples of necessary interpersonal skills:

Conflict resolution

It is a highly valued skill in an employee, and almost always required of anyone in a leadership position. Conflicts are a normal part of any workplace but the ability to deescalate tense situations and lead disputing parties to achieve a mutually beneficial agreement spells the difference between a conducive work environment and a toxic one. You can hone your conflict resolution skills through active listening, assertive communication, and calm body language.


It is the aptitude to hear all sides involved in a discussion, consider their respective needs, and help broker a compromise with terms that everyone can get behind. A skilled negotiator preempts disputes, creates harmony, and makes everyone involved feel heard and valued. As far as communication goes, this is achieved by working on your persuasion and influencing skills and increasing audience awareness.


Optimises the links you create with individuals, groups, and organisations. It goes beyond just attending events and swapping business cards. Maintaining an outstanding network keeps you informed of changes in your field, puts you in the same spaces as key players in your industry, and positions your competencies and those of your organisation where future opportunities can easily tap them. Being an assertive communicator, and exuding confidence while using friendly, relatable language, will help you achieve this.


It takes networking to a deeper level. It recognises the benefits of creating long-term, mutually rewarding connections among colleagues, both inside and outside of your organisation. This includes extending mutual respect, being smart and judicious in exchanging favors,  and being consistent with your words and actions. As a communicator, this is achieved mainly through honesty, empathy, and good judgment.


Fosters trust and facilitates learning, enabling you to share knowledge and expertise. It is a motivating tool for personal growth and is called constructive criticism. In contrast, destructive criticism is often negative, judgemental, and revealing about the critic. This type of criticism has no place in a productive workplace. You can foster an environment that encourages feedback through tact, mindful timing, active listening, clear, concise, and specific language, and exuding a calm but confident demeanor.

Cultural sensitivity

In requires awareness of various cultural identifiers, adherence to inclusive language and practices, being conscious of potential stereotypes that may arise in communications and behaviour, and avoiding those stereotypes. It is important to be welcoming, inclusive, and knowledgeable in cultural norms.

This skill is specially vital in workplaces in Malaysia, as its culture is defined by different ethnicities, languages, and religions. The typical Malay way of giving a subtle refusal may seem vague to the Chinese, who make up a quarter of the population. When that happens, both parties may need to clarify before proceeding. There may be days and symbols sacred to the Tamil Indian, who make up 8 percent of the people in Malaysia, that you may not be familiar with. Doing your due diligence to account for these cultural nuances is essential for anyone wishing to communicate effectively and respectfully within Malaysia's diverse cultural landscape.

Spotlighting essential communication skills for your CV: a guide for Malaysian job seekers.

A jobseeker highlighting her communication skills during her job interview

Crafting a smart resume is key for demonstrating to prospective employers the unique value you offer their team and firm. An excellent resume highlighting your communication abilities boost your preparedness as a jobseeker because resume writing requires a blend of hard and soft skills to determine your effective strategies, manage press-related activities, and adapt to the evolving demands of your roles.

Hard skills are acquired via education, training, or experience. They are developed by being employed at specific jobs or honed informally through hobbies or interests.

In contrast, soft skills or interpersonal skills are broadly applicable to various jobs, encompassing communication and problem-solving. Soft skills include collaboration, verbal communication, written communication, critical thinking, organisation, and creativity.

You may evaluate yourself on these five essential soft skills and maximise your potential in today's competitive job market by adding them to your resume.

Effective communication

  • Simplify complex problems for diverse audiences.
  • Adjust communication style to suit individual preferences.
  • Practice providing guidance and empowering others.


  • Enhance teamwork abilities through conflict resolution and stakeholder alignment.
  • Learn from diverse personalities and perspectives.

Influencing without authority

  • Use experience to impact business operations in new roles.
  • Example: Sales experience informing marketing tactics, resulting in a 20% business increase.
  • Develop effective influencing skills for future career moves.


  • Understand problems and root causes.
  • Brainstorm and implement solutions.
  • Adjust for long-term success.


  • Develop listening, coaching, and guiding skills.
  • Align teams towards a common goal.
  • Mentor the next generation in leadership.

Position these skills on your resume by highlighting examples of successful applications and demonstrating their relevance to your chosen field.

Get expert guidance on your best career options by trying out the Jobstreet Career Advice .

List of workplace communication skills for your resume

Knowing how to communicate effectively at work increases your value as a jobseeker and makes your job application more attractive and compelling to prospective employers.

Below is a list of workplace communication skills you may consider including in your resume:

Active listening

  • You can't possibly know what to say to someone if you don't listen to them. Verbal communication cannot succeed without the skill of active listening.

Active questioning

  • The deliberate follow-up to attentive listening is active questioning, which may potently motivate creativity, personal growth, influence, and problem-solving.


  • Everyone wishes to express themselves articulately and deliver their thoughts logically and compellingly.

Clarity and concision

  • Clarity enhances trust and engagement by revealing purpose and expectations. Testing messages reduces misinterpretation and communication errors.

Coaching and mentoring

  • Possessing coaching and mentoring skills proves to be an invaluable asset for any employee or leader across diverse sectors.

Conflict management

  • It employs appropriate and efficient methods to address disputes. Doing so can circumvent inadequate communication between colleagues, reduce workplace tension, enhance productivity, and maintain high employee morale.

Conflict resolution

  • Effective communication is vital for conflict resolution and healthy relationships, helping address and prevent personal and professional issues.


  • Consensus represents integrating diverse ideas, viewpoints, and worries about reaching improved decisions that garner widespread support. At its essence, agreement fosters a secure environment for communication, cultivating affection and recognising our shared unity.

Cross-cultural communication

  • This is a vital ability in the age of globalisation. You must have frequent contact with individuals from various cultural backgrounds.

Customer relations

  • Cultivating customer relationships will achieve a business's long-term success. Fostering trust and communication strengthens the brand connection, enhancing customer retention and repeat purchases.

Customer service

  • It addresses needs, builds trust, and enhances brand loyalty through effective interactions, ensuring customer satisfaction and long-term commitment.


  • It seeks to lessen the intensity of volatile situations, as challenging behaviour often arises from unmet needs. Loud speech or demands may worsen the situation.


  • Though necessary in everyday life, it is vital for roles around international relations.

Expressive skills

  • Putting one's feelings, ideas, and thoughts into words is important.
  • Possessing the ability to articulate one's thoughts, feelings, and ideas is crucial. The capacity to synthesise speech and communicate with other conscious entities is a huge boon.


  • A skilled facilitator fosters open communication, encourages inclusivity, monitors nonverbal cues, and ensures meetings conclude with clear paraphrased summaries.

Giving and receiving feedback

Possessing this skill demonstrates a willingness to enhance oneself whilst contributing to the success of others.

Interviewing skills

  • Strong communication skills in job interviews allow jobseekers to express their fit for the role and alignment with the organisation.


  • Possessing this skill assists in daily conflict  management and is indispensable for employment within corporate legal teams.

Negotiation and compromise

  • Having strong negotiation skills is an asset in any social situation. Finding a compromise that everyone can live with is made possible.


  • You may help yourself and your organisation advance by developing your communication skills via networking.

Persuasion and negotiation

  • By comprehending persuasion's power and utilising principles such as reciprocation, scarcity, authority, consistency, liking, social proof, and unity, you can negotiate more effectively and attain superior outcomes.

Presentation skills

  • Good presentation skills help you connect with your audience, making them an essential requirement for almost every employer. Understanding what they are is only the beginning; mastering presenting techniques is key to success in any setting.

Public speaking

It teaches clear and concise communication, which is crucial to hold the audience's attention. It's an essential skill applicable in various aspects of life.

Relationship building

  • Good communication is the foundation of relationships. Without it, relationships become shaky, whilst effective communication builds and strengthens them.

Relationship management

  • It involves strategies, practices, and technologies businesses use to manage and analyse client data and communications, aiming to enhance relationships with vendors, customers, and outside agencies throughout the customer's lifecycle.


  • It is a powerful communication tool that engages, motivates, and inspires people. It provides a new perspective, aids comprehension, and has a tremendous impact.


  • Every employer desires a team player in the organisation. The capacity to work selflessly in a team is a trait that employers seek.


  • Improved teamwork results from open lines of communication. Whether real or imagined, a lack of openness slows down team performance, erodes trust, and prevents effective cooperation.

Verbal and written rapport-building

  • Verbal communication skills create positive interactions and strong work relationships by establishing rapport. They convey confidence and ensure that the audience understands the message or expectations.

Attention to detail

  • Descriptive writing creates an emotional attachment with readers, making them feel and appreciate the story beyond words.

Clarity and concision

  • Clear writing ensures accurate understanding, while conciseness conveys meaning in the fewest words. Avoiding unnecessary words, being direct, and getting to the point quickly help achieve conciseness.

Expressive skills

  • In writing, this allows you to show your emotions, drawing the storyline closer to the readers.

Persuasion and negotiation

  • Text showing strong persuasion and negotiation will allow readers to be convinced and believe in what you have written.

Presentation skills

  • How you write and detail your ideas and narratives makes you a strong writer.


  • Your tone, structure, and creativity will show your elegance and professionalism in writing.


  • Organising one's thoughts is crucial to being recognised as an excellent storyteller and equally important in written communication.


  • A well-crafted story can influence thoughts, beliefs, inspire change, and foster empathy.


  • This fosters an environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing and having their opinions heard through written communication in the workplace.

Critical thinking

  • It is a must-have for anyone in creative professions, but having it on a resume for business-related jobs also provides an advantage.

Cross-cultural communication

  • Consistent engagement with people from diverse cultures minimises judgment and criticism.

Cultural competence

  • Productivity, trustworthiness, and service quality may all be enhanced by eliminating cultural misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and bias.


  • Positivity and the absence of inner conflict result from maintaining an open mind. It helps you avoid self-criticism and blame, allowing for self-forgiveness, self-trust, and self-awareness.

Stress management

  • Showing you a high tolerance for stress will tell you, you can manage well in difficult situations in the workplace.

Time management

  • Time management shows how you control your workday while maintaining a work-life balance, allowing you to build your business.


Communication skills are essential in various professional settings, impacting numerous aspects of our professional lives. Effective communication can enhance relationships with managers and colleagues, fostering a collaborative atmosphere. Furthermore, it allows for better customer connections, ensuring their needs are met and promoting satisfaction. You can convey ideas clearly and concisely, enabling productive discussions and decision-making.

In assertive communication, the ideal style balances conviction, compromise, and consensus. It entails active listening, utilising "I" statements, and is suggested for most work environments. To enhance assertiveness, exude confidence, accommodate others, and employ strong verbs. When engaging with assertive communicators, allow them room to express, solicit their opinions, and anticipate respectful discourse. Continuous communication practice will let you be flexible, and you will become a good communicator in the workplace.

A polished communication style supports your professional image, reflecting competence and credibility. Communication skills facilitate an environment where all perspectives are considered, encouraging active listening and open-mindedness. Ultimately, strong communication abilities can contribute to career advancement, demonstrating leadership and collaboration potential.


  1. What are communication skills?
    Communication skills refer to a person’s aptitude for interacting and exchanging information with others. This includes the ability to convey, comprehend, process, and respond to ideas through written and verbal communication methods.
  2. Why are communication skills important in the workplace?
    Effective communication in the workplace helps individuals and organisations succeed in their goals, maintain rapport, effectively address and resolve conflict, and keep avenues open for growth and improvement, both on the personal and professional levels.
  3. How can I improve my communication skills?
    Communication is more than just talking and listening; the tone of voice and facial expressions also convey meaning. To improve your communication skills, you should practice active listening, work on your confidence in expressing thoughts and ideas, be open to feedback and collaboration, avoid assumptions, and be empathetic towards others’ perspectives.
  4. What are some common barriers to effective communication?
    Distractions and disruptions in conversation, limited awareness or understanding of the topic at hand, strong emotions, and cultural differences are some common barriers to effective communication.  These are best overcome through sincerity, transparency, patience, open-mindedness, and emotional maturity.
  5. What are some examples of nonverbal communication ?
    Body language, gestures, facial expressions, posture, eye contact, and tone of voice are examples of nonverbal communication. They can easily strengthen or weaken the message that you are delivering verbally, so be mindful of them when you communicate with someone.
  6. How can I communicate effectively with people from different backgrounds?
    You should constantly educate yourself on cultural mores. Motivate yourself to value diversity, learn to identify your own biases and actively work on unlearning them, and practice inclusive language. It also helps to research the background of the specific people and groups you would be interacting with, to help you pick the right words, avoid offending anyone, and share the right experiences to be more relatable.
  7. What are some tips for giving effective presentations?
    To stand out as a skilled presenter, excel in these five areas:
    • Utilise fewer slides and words, keeping presentations concise and clutter-free.
    • Incorporate visual elements to enhance retention.
    • Master vocal delivery, using changes in volume and pitch to be persuasive and influential.
    • Find opportunities to generate "wow" moments.
    • Have adequate preparation by rehearsing either by yourself or with someone who can give helpful feedback.
  8. How can I improve my active listening skills?
    To be an active listener, you must do more than hear the words spoken; you must also understand what they mean. You must learn to tune out background noise and suspend your biases. Improve interaction and comprehension with strategies like making and maintaining eye contact, paraphrasing, asking open-ended questions, requesting clarifications when needed, and delivering verbal affirmations.
  9. What are some techniques for managing conflicts through communication
    Ineffective communication is often at the heart of conflict. Here are some strategies to manage disagreements through communication:
    • Set emotions aside. This may require all parties to step back and take pause before continuing the dialogue.
    • Adopt a non-aggressive and calm tone of voice and body language.
    • Practice active listening.
    • Be respectful and acknowledge feelings and perspectives.
    • Use clear, concise, and specific language to avoid further misunderstanding. Summarize, paraphrase, and get confirmation whenever possible.
    • Remember that the goal is to find a solution, and don’t lose sight of that goal when observing the direction and flow of the discussion.
  10. How can I tailor my communication style to different audiences?
    Do advanced research on each specific audience to know what they value and what they positively respond to. Tailor your tone, language, and format of delivery based on your goals. Deliberate on whether to be on the casual or the formal side. Be knowledgeable in the material so you can decide whether you need to get technical or have data on hand to strengthen your message, and which channel is best employed to achieve the results you want. During the interaction, it helps to be authentic and sincere, ask questions, stay focused, and be ready to adapt based on responses and nonverbal cues

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