The verdict is in: Every survey asking leaders which skills they consider essential to success and/or growth sees “communications skills” called out in the top five responses — and often, within the top three.
And yet, organizations all too often neglect, minimize or worse, discredit communications skills. Contributing to this unfortunate reality is the branding of communications as “soft skills”.
So, Elizabeth and I unpack the “soft skills” label and identify actions that communications professionals can take to essentially re-brand communications.
BTW, if you’re not sure if this is happening in your organization, here are three questions that can help you determine — and demonstrate to your supervisors — whether communications skills are getting the attention they need to meet their demand for great communicators:
- Is the request for great communications skills from job seekers relegated to the “nice to have” section in your company’s job descriptions?
- Are communications skills omitted from the performance evaluation of leaders and/or front-line managers?
- Is the budget for building communications skills limited to preparing PowerPoint presentations and/or speaking publicly?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, listen to this episode of The Swear Jar podcast where we tackle something that is both a contributing cause, and a symptom of, communications skills being considered an organizational after-thought.
Specifically, Elizabeth and I go head-to-head to tackle the labelling, and perception, of communications as a “soft skill”. While we may not agree wholly on this topic, during our lively discussion, we provide some practical suggestions that you can take to your organization if communications is getting short-changed.
On this episode of The Swear Jar, we touch upon the following topics:
- The Communications Fallacy
- The Practice of Excuse and Evade
- Getting Away from the “Hard” vs “Soft”
- Expanding/Redfining Communications
- Introduction 0:48
- How important are communications skills, really? 1:30
- Why communications is labelled a “soft skill” 3:07
- A quick look at “hard skills” 10:25
- The consequences when organizations think communications is a “soft skill” 13:00
- Is communication a “hard skill”, a “soft skill” or both? 14:20
- Some items of interest 16:38
- What comms professionals should do when leaders see communications skills as “soft” 17:40
- What’s caught our attention 20:07
ABC Resources Highlighted in this Episode
- Overcoming Resistance
- IABC World Conference June 28-30
- Worst Company Ever: How to Respond to Online Reviews by Employees
- Employee Change Communications That Work
- Hitting the Right Nerve The Swear Jar Podcast
Other Resources Highlighted in this Episode
- Teaching Communication in Business Schools by The Arthur W. Page Society
- Tracking Trust in U.S. Institutions by Morning Consult
- The Trust Barometer 2021 by Edelman
- Motivating Humans: Goals, Emotions and Personal Agency Beliefs by Martin E. Ford
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