From apprentice to CEO: Importance of communication skills

Of all the “soft skills,” communication is the most vital for career growth and one of the most difficult to master. Many highly talented individuals sometimes fail to achieve the desired job, or if they already have the dream job, struggle to climb the corporate ladder as they cannot effectively convey their thoughts and ideas. Today, being skilful alone is no longer sufficient and does not guarantee professional success. You can’t climb the corporate ladder simply because you can write codes well or are good at engineering. Irrespective of the industry a professional belongs to, the top achievers, or those seen as the leaders in their role, are always the ones who are considered more than capable just in their primary roles. They are all good communicators. Good communication skills can set you apart from others; it can augment the effectiveness of your work; empower you to make crucial decisions, help build professional relationships and get ahead in your career. In today’s complex and dynamic business environment, with thousands of communication tools, remote multicultural teams spanning different time zones, effective communication has never been more important or more challenging.

Lifelong learning

A new study estimates that poor communication in the workplace leads to loss of $1.2 trillion annually among US businesses, which is about $12,506 per employee. The ability to communicate well is the most critical skill one can have. The good news is that it can be learned and even mastered. Coaching and mentoring are integral tools for communication skills development, as they can help identify areas that need improvement, develop an action plan, and offer guidance and support on the way to achieving the goals. Mentoring also offers a great opportunity for individuals to learn from others and improve key skills and broaden their professional knowledge.

Observing how effective communicators interact with team members, clients, and others can help develop new communication techniques and styles. This can be very helpful for not only apprentices but also leaders and CEOs who are new to their roles or dealing with new challenges that require a different style of communication. Continuous learning and training opportunities in the workplace have the potential to expand an individual’s perspective, enhance communication skills and knowledge retention, generate new ideas, boost morale, and raise overall performance.


Best of both worlds

88% of Indian workers agree the world is shifting to a model where people participate in learning and education over their lifetime. Building a robust skill set comprising both hard skills and soft skills can take an individual’s career to the next level. While hard skills are primarily job-specific and are learned through work experience, soft skills refer to an individual’s ability to interact and work with others. Individuals looking to improve their hard skills may take up educational courses specializing in a particular skill, get personalized tutoring, or enrol in a specialized course.  Soft skills on the other hand are more difficult to learn but are equally important. It is no secret that communication and critical thinking go hand in hand. As per recent industry reports, across all generations in India, human skills such as decision-making and problem-solving dominate the top skills felt needed for career advancement and skills currently being developed. In India, technical skills like AI/ML, data processing, and coding are also priorities across age groups, specifically when considering skills of the future.  If an individual is unable to think critically about obstacles, issues, and information available, communication won’t be as meaningful and impactful. Therefore, it is important to work on developing skills related to problem-solving and decision-making to communicate effectively. These skills are highly valued by employers and essential for individuals aspiring to climb up the corporate ladder.

Communicating better

The ability to communicate is considered to be a leader’s most critical skill. An effective communicator leverages a range of listening styles and pays close attention to what others have to say. To be a good communicator, it is important to be clear and concise, practice active listening and be aware of non-verbal cues like one’s body language, tone of voice, etc. Another great way to improve communication skills is public speaking. The ability to articulate thoughts clearly in front of a large group can magnify your strengths and weaknesses and lead to improved communication styles. Today, there are several platforms available online that offer professional courses to help you improve your communication skills and get certified.

Similarly, as most of the communication, today is written, it is important to focus on improving written communication skills as well. Written communication lacks non-verbal cues, so it is crucial to consider the reader’s perspective, understand the purpose and have a clear context when writing. Developing effective written communication skills is a continuous process since it is a skill that is developed over time, so practice is the key.

The bottom line

Effective communication is the building block for a successful career. It is how leaders set expectations, convey their ideas, and motivate others to succeed. However, effective communication goes beyond information sharing. It is about understanding the audience and delivering ideas and thoughts in a way that resonates with them. Today, one of the most important aspect of effective communication is humility. By being willing to accept feedback and open to new approaches one can continue to grow to be a leader. Remember, effective communication is not only about speaking and conveying your ideas. It’s about actively listening, learning, and adapting to your audience as well. Whether you are an apprentice, a CEO, or simply someone who wants to improve their communication skills, there’s always room to improve and grow.

About Pearson

At Pearson, our purpose is simple: to add life to a lifetime of learning. We believe that every learning opportunity is a chance for a personal breakthrough. That’s why our c.20,000 Pearson employees are committed to creating vibrant and enriching learning experiences designed for real-life impact. We are the world’s leading learning company, serving customers in nearly 200 countries with digital content, assessments, qualifications, and data. For us, learning isn’t just what we do. It’s who we are.

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For more information, please contact: Bhavya Suri, PR & Corporate Affairs, Pearson India & MENA-

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