People attend college to attain the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare for a career. We spend a great deal of time and effort gaining experience needed to be successful in our chosen field. This includes two to four years, and sometimes more, of intensive classes all focused on one field of study. However, with this selective focus, students are missing out on the potential to develop skills in other important areas. Just as an athlete needs to cross-train, students need to study a broad range of topics in order to become a well-rounded, multi-accomplished employee.
Have you ever heard people complain about being confused by what someone said or wrote? I hear comments similar to this almost every day. We need to communicate clearly with other people, whether it’s with our families, co-workers, friends or even strangers we pass.
Even though we communicate every day, we still aren’t great at explaining our thoughts or ideas, whether aloud or in writing. This leads to confusion and frustration that could easily be prevented. We struggle to be heard. That’s why I believe universities should require every student to take a communication class.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 70.2% of employers said they look for written communication skills and 68.9% look for oral communication skills. This is because information needs to be passed quickly and accurately in the workplace. As the saying goes, time is money, and no one wants to lose both by repeating the same thing over and over again. Job frustration can be reduced by clearly communicating needs and expectations between employer, employees and co-workers.
Communication classes help students understand the basics of speech and writing. This will not only assist them in future jobs or relationships but also in the classes for their chosen major. Having a basic understanding of how to articulate words or write clearly and simply will reduce stress levels for everyone. Communication skills help us learn more effectively and achieve greater success in completing assignments.
According to VirtualSpeech, “Communication skills have played an important part of your existing knowledge and beliefs. You learn to speak in public by first having conversations, then by answering questions and then by expressing your opinions. You learn to write by first learning to read, then by writing and learning to think critically. Good communication skills help you absorb information and express your ideas in a clear, concise and meaningful way to other people.”
Other important skills employers look for, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, include the ability to work in a team, interpersonal skills, organizational ability, a friendly and outgoing personality and creativity. These skills are just a few of the things taught in communication classes. If these are the top things employers look for, why are we not more focused on them? Why do we let students graduate without a basic understanding of these skills?
A university that requires all students to take a communication class would show that it values and prioritizes the personal growth and development of its students. It wouldn’t be an institution just passing out degrees but truly preparing students with the attributes and skills that employers are seeking.
There is no way to avoid communication. We are constantly communicating, whether online or in person. Learning good communication skills enables us to have greater satisfaction at school, work, and most importantly, in our personal lives. Clear, concise and effective communication is a skill that will never be outdated.