What does Good Communication Mean?

Matthew MacLachlan

3 Dec 2010

What does it really mean to have good communication skills? Any CV now will declare that the writer has excellent communication skills and many large organisations include communication in their brand values or competency frameworks. We cannot be successful at work if we lack the ability to communicate effectively with the people we work with.


Have you ever had the experience of leaving a meeting feeling you have achieved what you wanted and got the outcomes you were hoping for, only to realise several days or weeks later that you had been misunderstood? The results or actions you thought you had agreed have not materialised and you realise that somewhere along the line communication broke down.


It is easy to surmise ‘they didn’t listen to me’ or ‘they didn’t actually want to do what I had asked them’ but sometimes we need to take a step back and think about our own communication style. Perhaps we have made certain assumptions without checking for understanding. Or maybe we have implicitly assumed that we are all thinking the same way. Our communication is only as good as the impact it achieves so we need to take at least some of the responsibility for the miscommunication. Nobody wants to patronise the people they are working with but we need to make sure our messages are transparent and explicit.

Improve your communication

Good communication skills are fundamental for the success of any organisation. Clarifying and repeating ineffective messages wastes time and money and causes staff frustration and disengagement. Learning & Development departments are fully aware that good communication saves time and money. To this end, many companies now invest in business communication skills training courses and coaching. Popular programmes that many employees benefit from include include Influencing & Negotiating and Interpersonal Effectiveness courses.