Good morning my friends. First of all, I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to be here. I have been asked to talk about an issue I am passionate about and I eventually decided to talk about the importance of communication. I have had the opportunity to visit some countries, have talked to those who are in the real world, and have even met people from other cultures and all of these experiences have made me realize that we often underestimate the importance of improving our communication skills. This is why my goal today is to persuade you to spend more efforts and time on improving your communication skills because it will help you both in personal and professional lives.
If I ask you why most of us go to college, the most common answer may be that it will help you get your dream job and improve lifetime job security and earnings. The reality is indeed not much different because research shows that college graduates earn significantly more than high school graduates (National Center for Education Statistics). But we also have to realize we live in different times. Most of you know that outsourcing has become a norm in the industrialized world and many college graduates around the world are unemployed for months and even years. You may wonder why this is so and the answer is that factors of production are more mobile today and companies have more options available to them. The companies want only the best and it is your job to prove you are better than those with similar qualifications. And one of the ways to set yourself apart from others is by developing communication skills whether through courses and seminars or through social interaction with diverse groups of people. Skills that can be replicated do not provide competitive advantage and communication skills are not replicable. This is why communication skills will improve career opportunities and job security. I urge you to think about leaders you admire, especially in the business world and you will realize one of the qualities they share is strong communication skills. Strong communication skills help business leaders improve credibility with subordinates, clearly communicate their vision, and motivate everyone to get behind a common set of goals.
So far I have talked about the importance of communication skills in improving access to leadership opportunities and creating job security but communication skills are so important and rare that now employers do not merely desire it from applicants but actually demand it. I would like to mention a survey by National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) which found that communication topped the list of desirable soft skills on employers’ list, ahead of strong work ethic, teamwork skills, and analytical skills (NACE, 2010). Thus, by developing communication skills, you will increase the probability of getting a dream job in a dream company. I have talked to professionals and they have told me that recruiters especially pay attention to communication skills during interviews and sometimes they hire you despite falling short of recruiting criteria if you demonstrate superior communication skills.
I would like to mention the fact that communication skills have also increased in importance due to globalization. If you visit local companies or those in other countries, you will notice that workplaces have been becoming more diverse in terms of ethnic and cultural representation. I won’t be surprised if majority of you live in or take work assignments in other countries. Fortunately, help is available and most communication courses and seminars often touch upon cross-cultural communication issues. In addition, you can also improve your cross-cultural communication skills by regularly interacting with people from diverse range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
I hope I have succeeded in persuading you that communication skills will go a long way towards helping you have a secure and successful career. I touched upon the factors that have improved the importance of communication such as lack of job security despite a college degree because some jobs are moving to other countries and in addition, the competition is tougher than ever. I also mentioned the fact that research and surveys have proven communication often tops the skills demanded by employers. I would like to end my speech by thanking you for your time and giving me the opportunity to express myself.
NACE. (2010, December 8). Job Outlook: Verbal Communication Skills Most Sought by Employers. Retrieved May 11, 2013, from http://www.naceweb.org/so12082010/college_skills/
National Center for Education Statistics. (n.d.). Income of young adults. Retrieved May 11, 2013, from http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=77