Let’s be honest. Software developers are not known for their communication skills. I’ve been writing code for 20 years now. Writing code is a fairly time-consuming task, and naturally, we developers do not get time to communicate and spend time on meeting people. Unlike the sales or marketing professions, communication is not a key trait to be a software developer. However, if you want to be successful and grow faster in your career, you must pay attention to your communication skills.
Just because we do not get a chance to go out and meet people and communicate like other business folks do, does not mean we should not and cannot have good communication skills. No matter what profession you have, if you want to be successful, good communication is a key attribute to possess.
Communication is the most important part of our lives. You can be a genius, but if you don’t know how to communicate, it doesn't matter. Communication is a way to present our thoughts and act in order for others to understand us.
Wikipedia defines communication as,
Communication (from Latin meaning "to share") is the act of conveying intended meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs and semiotic rules.
Communication can be non-verbal, verbal (signs), or written. Non-verbal communication can be a form of signs and acts. Verbal communication is speaking and listening. And written communication involves writing and reading.
Non-verbal communication also involves understanding the hidden messages.
How to improve communication
There are many great articles written on the topic. Here is a list of a couple of them.
Lifehack.org writes 5 Ways to Improve Your Communication Skills.
- Never talk over people.
- Don’t finish other people’s sentences.
- Listen actively.
- Maintain eye contact.
Lifehacker suggests the following top 10 ways to improve your communication skills.
- Watch your Body Language
- Get Rid of Unnecessary Conversation Fillers
- Have a Script for Small Talk and Other Occasions
- Tell a Story
- Ask Questions and Repeat the Other Person
- Put Away the Distractions
- Tailor Your Message to Your Audience
- Be Brief Yet Specific
- Up Your Empathy
- Listen, Really Listen
Here are some of the tips you may want to try.
I do not like reading. But I read topics that I am interested in. I read about technology, philosophy, religion, and history. You just have to find what you like to read. Being a developer, we read a lot. I read a lot of programming books.
I wrote my first programming book, A Programmer’s Guide to ADO.NET, with C# in 2001. I must admit, writing books and articles have helped me improve my communication. Writing is probably the best thing that happened to my professional career. I have written thousands of articles and blogs on C# Corner.
I was very shy. I never liked attention and the center stage. Some of the obvious reasons were confidence and knowledge. I started speaking by mentoring dev teams and upgrading them to new technologies. Try to speak to your team, at local events, and at conferences.
In 2002, I started my own consulting company and that gave me opportunities to meet different clients, work on different teams with different people, communicate with different kinds of audiences and learn from there.
- Knowledge and Confidence
Knowledge is the basic foundation of effective communication. When I started writing for C# Corner, I learned a lot. I learned a lot, and I started taking about those topics. That gave me confidence.
- Know your audience
You need to know who you’re talking to and try to connect with them. If someone doesn't have an interest in sports and you start talking to them about sports, they will not pay attention.
- Be authentic
Authenticity brings confidence. Don’t try to copy someone else. Do not try to be who you’re not. Be who you are.
Practice, practice, and practice.
Do (#1 to #7)