Effective professional communication is about conveying important information from one source to another. If that information is communicated clearly and effectively, businesses are more likely to run efficiently.
An advanced degree such as a Master of Communication Management (MCM) can help business leaders foster an environment driven by effective communication and a workforce that works toward common goals. While this skill can take effort to develop, the benefits are apparent across every industry.
Why Communication Skills Are Vital to Career Success
Nearly every job posting contains the words “strong communication skills” or “effective communication skills.” Good communication improves clarity in the exchange of concepts, knowledge, and ideas while reducing ambiguity or misunderstanding. This can affect businesses in a number of ways. For example, knowing how to communicate in the right manner to the right audience in a company can help create a more cohesive workforce. Communicating honestly and transparently can also foster a sense of trust and positivity, which increases work satisfaction and improves morale. Additionally, creating a culture of strong communication can help improve the exchange of ideas, potentially leading to increased creativity and innovation.
Effective communication is important to career success because leaders who build a culture of positive communication can help a business reach its goals with greater efficiency, produce satisfied workers and improve brand identity — all of which can translate to their own success.
Communicating With C-Level Professionals
In any position, a professional may find themselves in a position that requires communication with members of the C-suite. Although each C-level executive may have a preferred method of communication, knowing how to connect with someone in this role is vital to success. For some, the thought of presenting to or even chatting with the CEO, chief financial officer (CFO), chief operating officer (COO), chief information officer (CIO), chief technology officer (CTO) or chief marketing officer (CMO) is overwhelming. However, being able to effectively and comfortably communicate with these high-level executives can help individuals build trust in the C-suite, something that could lead to career advancement and success.
Learning effective communication skills can extend to communicating with C-level executives. Students in the online masters in Communication Management can gain the knowledge and tools to identify better communication strategies to apply to their audiences. For example, speaking to the CEO of a company should involve a different approach than speaking to an employee in that same company. A C-level professional likely has a lot less time to devote to a lengthy email, conversation or presentation, so conciseness is key.
Speaking the language of an executive is another facet of good communication that is important to business success. C-level professionals tend to focus on the bottom line, the potential for growth in the company, the metrics used to measure business progress and the goals, rather than the smaller picture. Speaking in terms of metrics and goals is a skill that can help a professional get the green light on a project they are working on when seeking approval from the executive team.
Good communication skills can also help professionals mitigate conflict in their careers. Every workplace will have some type of tension or conflict at some point, and these issues are nearly always traced to poor communication. If someone feels misunderstood, conflict tends to bubble up beneath the surface. In any type of management or leadership role, having the ability to communicate effectively, get to the root of the issue and resolve conflicts is extremely important.
Creating an environment that reduces conflict can have a positive impact that goes beyond internal issues. By nurturing an effective communication culture, leaders can help others cultivate communication skills that can be applied to diffuse potential external conflicts. For instance, a customer service team trained to deliver positive communication even in difficult situations can help de-escalate short-term conflicts. In the long term, this can help to build a stronger sense of customer loyalty.
Identifying and Building Specific Communication Expertise
Learning to communicate effectively is more than just knowing how to convey a message. Professionals must understand how to listen and respond to their audience, as well as communicate with respect in all situations. Cultivating these skills can help others be more receptive. In business, this can lead to being more accepting of new ideas that can in turn lead to innovative thinking and creative problem-solving.
In the online MCM program through the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, students have access to a world-class educational experience that can help them make their voices heard. This program applies data-driven strategies and real-world applications to help students gain experience in specific areas of communication. Students can learn how to balance the science and art of communication that can help them gain an edge in a competitive job market.
This higher education program helps students gain versatile skills like creative thinking and analytical processing, as well as the ability to convey a message in a manner that is effective and easy to understand. Those in the program may be looking to advance their careers, or they may be just starting out in the professional world and find it difficult to get ahead without effective communication skills.
Implementing a Communication Plan
Communication is more than just discussing day-to-day business processes. Communication should be incorporated into the company culture. When employees at a company feel like they can share their feelings and receive effective communication, they are more likely to enjoy their work and feel like valued team members.
Implementing an open-door policy is a good start, but leaders must take a more active role. They can start by delivering messages in a clear, concise manner while listening to feedback from the team. Doing so can create a sense of community and collaboration. The coursework and focus of the online MCM program can help an individual understand the importance of a communication strategy that impacts every department and employee.
Communication and the Bottom Line
Ultimately, stakeholders and business leaders must see the value of effective communication in order to implement strategies and policies that will improve it. Those who study communication in a higher education program can learn how it impacts the bottom line. For example, internal communication can impact the productivity of employees. When employees do not know where to turn for support or the resources they need to do their jobs, productivity suffers, resulting in a loss for the company. On the other hand, effective internal communication gives employees access to the tools needed, boosting productivity.
The company can also react more quickly and effectively to changes and shifts in the marketplace or industry when the leaders are aware of those changes and how they impact the business. As a result, a company can achieve or retain a position as a market leader when its executive team members stay aware of any major shifts in its industry.
The Importance of Communication for Remote Teams
Remote, work from home and telecommuting employees are becoming more common in many businesses across the globe. This was accelerated due to the coronavirus pandemic, as COVID-19 forced businesses to adapt to lockdown orders. Research indicates that remote work will continue to be popular in a post-pandemic world. Because of this, communication becomes even more vital for those who may be disconnected from the company’s physical office or other employees. Offering employees the opportunity to work remotely can lessen the financial burden of maintaining a brick-and-mortar location, as well as provide a beneficial and appealing work atmosphere for a potential employee. However, it is easy for remote and virtual employees to be forgotten team members.
Studying communications can help professionals understand how to better keep their virtual employees in the loop, feeling like part of the team. Digital and video communication methods have grown in popularity as remote workers have become more commonplace, and these methods are covered in the coursework of the online MCM program from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
The curriculum mirrors the interconnectivity of online and in-person communication strategies, connecting research to real-world settings for more hands-on learning opportunities. It is also a group-based learning atmosphere, helping students learn to communicate effectively with one another as they dive into areas of strategy and theory that they may not have explored in the past.
Develop the Skills That Lead to Success
The online MCM program from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is designed to help students gain the skills they need to communicate more effectively and succeed in their chosen career paths. The benefits of the program include the opportunity to learn from faculty members with extensive experience in the communications industry and academia and the ability to connect with alumni across the globe. The program also ranks among the top in the nation in the QS World University Rankings.
The courses and real-life applications will explore current trends in communication, with a special emphasis on the importance of social media and digital communications. The program is meant to teach students how to think so that they can thrive in an analytics-driven and data-focused workplace. Businesses today need more than just strong communication plans. The leaders of successful companies need clear data that is driven by results and that shows how clients and employees perceive their businesses.
Theory is the foundation of the online MCM program, but it is not the destination. Through the study of a blend of theory and real-world situations, students can achieve a learning experience that goes beyond the textbook. They can study the objectives of communication, learning how to ask the right questions and what to do with the answers they receive. The importance of communication extends across every department, and students will take courses designed to help them learn how to speak and listen to managers, customers, stakeholders, the media and executives.
With an online MSC from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, a professional may have more opportunities to design and implement effective strategies that will benefit every department of a business.