Communication Skills Training in a World of Emojis, YOLO, and Ghosting
How is communication skills training different today? Modern communication appears to lack eye contact, grammar, and the use of your vocal cords! Look around. Everyone is looking down at their phone and not at each other. Even at the dinner table in a restaurant. Texting looks more like modern hieroglyphics with mysterious abbreviations and cartoon faces, hands, and produce emojis. No grammar and no spelling required. Kids don’t answer the phone, they text you back. And now adults are doing the same!
Modern Communication Skills Training Topics
When these down-looking, grammar-lacking people come to work it’s a whole new world. We have face-to-face meetings and conference calls where we speak to each other. We write reports and emails using full sentences. We disagree and problem solve. All generations may need refresher courses on verbal communication and grammar skills. Here are a few topics from HSI’s off-the-shelf library for these modern challenges.
I bet I surprised you by starting with listening and not speaking! In many cases, listening may be the most important communication skill to train. To listen actively, you have to pay attention. In-person this means putting your phone down and making eye contact. If you are on a phone call, you really need to focus. No multitasking either way. Hear what they are saying, let it enter your brain and think about it. Don’t immediately start formulating your response.
Our course on active listening goes into more detail about note-taking, avoiding distractions, and helpful phrases that let your co-workers know you are listening and hearing.
Productive employees need to be able to communicate well with their boss and co-workers. Interpersonal communications is the process by which people exchange information, feelings, and meaning through verbal and nonverbal messages. In addition, all of this communication is influenced by the context in which it is given and received. This includes roles, responsibilities, tone, and emotion. These attributes can be lost in a text or social media post so it’s important for employees to understand in the interactions with their co-workers.
Assertive Verbal Skills
Early in my career, I let people miss their deadlines with me and the result was a very late direct mail marketing campaign. The CEO of the company wanted to know why the field was not meeting their sales goals that month and the answer was “Chris Scherting’s campaign was late.” I thought I would be fired. I could have used HSI’s training courses on being assertive.
We offer a full series on assertive verbal skills. Our “This vs. That” series covers helpful topics like assertive vs. aggressive, compromise vs. cave, and persistent vs. pestering. With so many people hiding behind their devices, these courses will be very useful and help employees be more productive.
The concept of “ghosting” has migrated from the dating world to the professional world. Ghosting by job candidates is a new trend where they are a no-show for an interview and stop responding to email or voicemail requests. Prospects ghost salespeople after there is a verbal commitment.
The root of this annoying behavior is the inability to have difficult or concerned conversations. It requires courage and tact. No one looks forward to giving bad news like telling someone their work is not up to standard and they need to improve. Or we changed our minds and are going with your competitor. Or, “I am just not that in to you.” Communications skills training will give your employees the tools they need to handle uncomfortable conversations with finesse.
SMH = Shaking my head...over the lack of spelling, punctuation, and grammar in some business communication. There, their, they’re. Your, you’re, ewer (/ˈyo͞oər/ noun, a large jug with a wide mouth, formerly used for carrying water for someone to wash in). Granted there is much more freedom today. Many people end sentences with a preposition or begin a sentence with “and” for effect. Or is it affect? Lol just kidding.
Business writing is a popular topic in the HSI library. We cover topics like writing clearly, punctuation, proofreading, active vs. passive voice, appropriate language, misused words, and much more. Employees at any age or level might need a refresher course but be too embarrassed to ask. Making our library available for self-directed learning lets the employees find the courses they need on their own.
See Something, Say Something
As far as communications training goes, this topic may seem unconventional but we have to teach employees when and how to speak up. All you have to do is check the news and you see stories of active shooters, human trafficking, terrorist bombings, opioid addiction, and sexual harassment. Many of these are occurring in a workplace where an observant employee is in a position to speak up to prevent the bad behavior or crisis incident.
We offer a course titled “See Something, Say Something” designed to help employees do exactly that. Our series on understanding harassment includes bystander training and warning signs. We have courses for both employees and managers to recognize opioid addiction and human trafficking.
Additional Communication Skills Training Topics
In addition to those highlighted above, HSI offers a wide variety of traditional and modern communications training topics:
- Barriers to Effective Communication
- Conflict Management
- Communicating with the C-suite
- Healthy Communication
- Media Training
- Nonverbal Communication
- Persuasive Communication
- Public Relations
- Putdown Offenders
- Social Media
Offering your employees a full video library gives your training team the flexibility to respond to a wide variety of training needs that may be requested beyond just the communications topic. If you would like to see all of the courses mentioned, feel free to sign up for a free trial of our HSI LMS. You will have access to our full business skills and workplace compliance libraries.
- Empathy and social awareness are two factors that affect communications in the workplace. Read more in our blog: "Improve Employee Social Awareness Through Workplace Empathy"
- Communication is more than just the words you speak or write. We explore this is in our blog: "Practical Nonverbal Communication Tips."
- Communication is just one of many soft skills training topics HSI offers. Read more in “A Comprehensive Guide to Soft Skills Training.”
- Learn more about communication skills training topics from HSI.