This time in India, I interacted with several management students on many occasions. I also had a few meetings with the faculty and I was surprised on how much they stress on Communication skills now a days.
Unfortunately, everyone I met held the opinion and communication skills is the ability to express oneself clearly. Mostly they meant clear accent, articulation, fluency and eloquence. Off course it’s important to be able to communicate clearly, but I think the willingness to communicate and recognizing the need to communicate is more important.
Let me elaborate.
Case 1 :
Sheila thinks she has excellent communication skills. She can speak clearly, eloquently and is good at explaining complex things also very easily. When her boss asked her to fix a meeting with a potential client, she immediately got an appointment. However she failed to inform the boss about the time and venue.
What good is her communication ? She is eloquent, has the ability to explain but does she have communication skills ?
Case 2 :
Asok in accounts is asked to transfer the funds to an overseas supplier so that the raw material for production can be released. Asok confirs that the transfer can be done the same day. Later he gets to know that the earliest the bank can transfer is the next day. With no other option , he transfers but fails to inform the production manager of the delay.
Can he be said to possess communication skills ?
Case 3 :
I interviewed an MBA graduate for a job and he kept insisting that he had excellent communication skills – it was there on his CV, and it he stated it a few times during the interview. When I asked him, what he meant by good communication skills he replied – ” Sir, I can communicate very well in English”
I appointed him and agreed upon a date on which he would join. He did not turn up on the first day of the job on the pretext of an emergency- And didn’t inform that he was not coming also.
Would you say, he has communication skills because he can communicate but doesn’t ?
I think the management students must understand that the communication skills are a lot more than simply the ability to communicate clearly. You have to have the willingness to communicate, without this all the eloquence in the world is worthless.