Basic Language Skills – Listening, Speaking, Reading & Writing
James Humes, Presidential speech writer who authored the text written on the Apollo 11 lunar plaque, said, “The art of…
May 13, 2021 | 7 mins read
James Humes, Presidential speech writer who authored the text written on the Apollo 11 lunar plaque, said, “The art of communication is the language of leadership.”
Language skills are just as important in the 21st century as they were when Apollo 11 orbited the moon. Listening, speaking, reading and writing are critical language skills you need to navigate a changing professional landscape. The understanding may have changed but the fundamentals remain the same.
Read on to discover how these four language skills are relevant today and how you can develop your listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.
Every activity from reading this blog and writing an email to listening to a podcast and speaking in a meeting constitutes communication. Whether you’re with friends or at work, you have to communicate every day, all the time.
Language skills are communication skills that help you convey your ideas with clarity and precision. Not only do you learn to speak well but also listen attentively. Writing clearly with brevity is another skill that’s considered crucial in a professional setting. Reading helps you make sense of vast amounts of data and information.
Developing your linguistic skills will help you become a proficient communicator who knows how to get from point A to B effectively.
Basic language skills that you need today are listening, speaking, reading and writing. Regardless of whether you’re a student or professional, your years of experience or goals, linguistic skills will always come in handy.
Let’s explore each of these language skills in detail.
Listening is a lot more than simply hearing what someone is saying. There’s a big difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is when you don’t really register the words, instead, you nod and smile while your mind is drifting off to neverland. Listening is an activity where you’re fully engaged. Not only are you registering their words but also getting curious to learn more. Listening successfully will usually end with you asking follow-up questions about the speaker’s intent, drive and purpose. Here are some of the traits of active listening:
You want to actively understand what they’re trying to convey
You give them your complete attention
You ask more questions than giving answers
You listen first, speak or interject later
You make the speaker feel welcome so they can open up to you
When you read, you take your time to understand what the author’s trying to convey with their words. Whether it’s a novel, online article or even a business report, it’s important to take your time with it and make sense of the original intent. Reading well and deeply requires complete attention but also efficiency so you don’t end up going over the same sentence multiple times. You can make notes, add comments or summarize the contents of a text to get a deeper insight. Here are some of the characteristics of deep reading:
You’re able to understand what the author wants to convey the first time
You manage your time well without spending hours with a text
You can draw conclusions, write summaries and analyze the content without a problem
You make notes and memos so it’s easier to identify parts of a text
You’re not afraid to tackle 100-page reports because you know how to approach a large body of text
If there’s one communication skill everyone needs, but many fear, it’s speaking effectively. The fear is in terms of speaking in front of an audience—presentations, meetings and speeches. It may even be communicating with an interviewer if you’ve applied for a job. Speaking well helps you in many areas of life. Talking to friends, coworkers or clients requires some skill, attention and concentration. Here are some characteristics of speaking with impact:
You speak clearly and concisely to draw your audience’s attention
You’re able to convey your ideas, thoughts and opinions with impact
You articulate things well into words with a strong verbal delivery
You have the capacity to overcome a fear of public speaking with practice
You’re more likely to ace your interviews or client meetings by speaking impactfully
Linguistic skills are incomplete without proficient writing abilities. Writing well means you’re able to succinctly present your ideas. You don’t have to write long, complex sentences stuffed with heavy vocabulary to write well. What you do need is the ability to convey your thoughts in short, crisp sentences. Writing well will help you with business communication or if you’re in a creative field that involves copywriting, blogs or social media posts. Here are some aspects of proficient writing:
You know how to structure your writing to generate interest
You can tell a story with your words to make your communication all the more interesting
Your writing is succinct, clear and precise without wasting words
You’re able to put your thoughts into words
You can summarize long reports and texts for easier understanding
These four language skills form the pillars of effective, impactful and strong communication. Building, refining and perfecting these skills will help you make progress in your career. Let’s explore how developing language skills can help you succeed.
Communication pervades each and every aspect of our personal and professional lives. You may have a job interview lined up at your dream organization or you could be writing an email to your manager requesting leave. You need to have the right skills to perform well in each of these tasks.
Here are the advantages of developing your language skills:
In a professional setting, the advantages of communication are infinite. Giving presentations, attending meetings or setting up a feedback channel–each requires compelling communication. You need to leave a lasting impression on your peers and seniors. For this, you can use your words or the ability to listen well. A good communicator makes an effective leader. Your colleagues will likely trust you over someone who’s vague and unconfident.
Storytelling is an art form where you not only convey your ideas and thoughts but weave a story that others can relate to. Effective communication helps you build a strong case for yourself. For instance, you may be giving a speech in your college festival. If you can appeal to your audience, they’ll be more intent on listening to you.
Excellent communication skills distinguish you from the crowd. If you’re able to articulate well, you can easily keep your audience engaged. It’s the ability to move mountains with your words that are unique. Many excellent orators, like Barack Obama, appeal to their audience’s emotions, which is why they’re hard to forget.
No matter where you work and what you do, communication skills will help you put your ideas into words. Say you’re starting your own business. You need to appeal to investors so they’ll willingly put their money into your business. If you can present your action plan in detail without leaving things out, they’re more likely to trust you. Communication helps you build relationships by creating room for trust.
An important aspect of communication is nonverbal communication. This comprises body language, gestures and facial expressions. Building your language skills will help you understand these elements that help you build rapport. In an interview, for instance, you can read your interviewer’s stance by decoding their body language. Making eye contact, sitting up straight with your hands confidently placed on your lap are all signs of non-verbal communication. Communication is a lot more than just words.
In life, you’ll encounter countless situations that require effective communication skills. Building these skills will encourage you to pursue your goals with confidence. You can enroll in online courses, practice on your own or with a friend or gain these skills over time with experience. The most important thing is to be mindful and aware of the reasons you need these language skills.
Harappa offers four unique and comprehensive courses to help you build your communication skills. These are Speaking Effectively, Writing Proficiently, Reading Deeply and Listening Actively. Designed to teach you how to communicate with impact, each course constitutes important frameworks like the PAM (Purpose-Audience-Message), the EAR (Empathy-Authenticity-Respect) of Listening, the Four Ps (Preview-Predict-Prior Knowledge-Purpose) of Reading and the Pyramid Principle.
These core concepts are targeted at improving specific skill sets, taught by experts. Our stellar faculty will guide you with their own expertise and tips on how to ace communication. Structure your thoughts, weave stories and learn to read people to tackle workplace challenges. Compelling communication paves the way for career progression. You’ll overcome your fears of public speaking and introducing yourself in front of a crowd. You don’t have to think twice before drafting a succinct email and you’re bound to make meaningful relationships at work by developing your listening skills.
Start building your skills today and communicate your way to success!
Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics such as Principles of Communication, How To Improve Communication Skills, The Significance Of Different Writing Styles, Tips For Active Listening & The Importance of Reading to communicate with impact.