Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Are communication skills like social skills

  1. Jan 3, 2012 #1
    What does "communication skills" mean in the professional world?

    I see the phrase "has excellent communication skills" relatively often in job adds. The term "communication skills" sounds funny to me. What does this mean in a business environment? Is the "phrase communication skills" used in a fashion similar to the term "social skills?"
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 3, 2012 #2

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Are "communication skills" like "social skills"

    First, let's please cut out the silly labeling of people, this was started recently and has no purpose. I have no idea why you would bring up aspergers or refer to yourself as a neurotypical in this context.

    "Communication skills" as used in job ads means that the person can speak equally well to layman and professionals, can write well, and uses proper grammar and diction.

    Social skills in business includes communication skills but also requires the ability to interact in a manner which avoids conflict, aggressive or inappropriate behavior.
     
  4. Jan 3, 2012 #3
    Re: Are "communication skills" like "social skills"

    "I'm a People Person"

    "Excellent Communications Skills"

    These pepper resumes and cover letters now a days.

    I'm not sure if in a job application context if the phrases really mean anything or not, but the implied implication I can see after interviewing applicants is that they at least are trying to imply that they can get along with others (Social Skills/People Person), and can express and understand thoughts (Communication Skills).

    All people have these skills in degree. Some people can read others micro-expressions and body language, choice and tone of words, etc, and make adjustments to their own presentation and/or understanding of the other party...these people are highly skilled in a social setting, and more aware of what's going on.

    Some people not only miss micro-expressions and cues, they miss large clues, including actual rage and frustration at them, and fail to adjust their own presentation/understand the other party.

    Everyone is between these extremes somewhere, and, at any given time, this position in the scale will shift. A distracted or overtired or drunk (etc) person might slide to the less skilled side than they would normally occupy.

    A person in a new culture, where the cues are different than they are used to, can slide to the less skilled side, and a person who is average or below in some situations might be a finely honed highly skilled person in an environment they are very familiar with.

    People with autism spectrum disorders, including Aspergers also fall into the scale, and, while they tend towards the lower skilled side, some will be fine or even excel under certain circumstances, its very individual based.

    Those with more severe Aspergers for example may take things people say the wrong way (IE: It might be taking it exactly as they said it, albeit, not how they meant it. The NTs will all recognize what was meant, the Asp may not even get why he's wrong after its explained)

    So, sure, a person who had to work on "social skills" is more likely to tout this as an achievement than a person who didn't need to do that; Much like most of us stop mentioning in our resumes that we are familiar with common office equipment or programs, once we reach a career point where that sort of thing is assumed or irrelevant.


    So consider it as important as claims of being organized, efficient, working well under pressure, etc. Most of it is boiler plate drivel.

    :D
     
  5. Jan 3, 2012 #4

    Ryan_m_b

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Are "communication skills" like "social skills"

    Exactly, I don't see why there's any confusion here.

    Good communication skills - ability to communicate information in an articulate and concise manner i.e. not using "err...like...um...you know?", using proper grammar etc.

    Good social skills - ability to develop and maintain relationships, handle people as a team leader and as part of a team etc.
     
  6. Jan 3, 2012 #5

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Are "communication skills" like "social skills"

    In my job good communication skills meant tailoring your presentation to your audience. To the client (executives), 5 pages, details in layman's terms all leading back to positive impact of their bottom line. To my boss, 2 pages explaining the highlights of an issue in layman's terms and company jargon. To upper management, 1-2 paragraphs bullet pointing specific issues and what is needed to resolve them, no details.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  7. Jan 3, 2012 #6

    Ryan_m_b

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Are "communication skills" like "social skills"

    Whilst my academic experience has been different to your industry one I agree. If I'm giving a presentation of my work to my supervisor I don't need to give him a technical background of my research (because it's mostly his research), if I'm giving a presentation to my peers I may need to include some technical background/clinical need/project aims etc because they may never have studied what I am doing specifically and if I'm giving a presentation to the layman I need to ditch pretty much all the technical stuff and ramp up the significance of the research to the common person.
     
  8. Jan 3, 2012 #7

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Are "communication skills" like "social skills"

    I once had a boss who was notorious for trying to micro-manage his employees. Unfortunately, his communication "skills" were practically non-existent, so he'd get frustrated when employees misunderstood the thrust, scope, or details of the tasks he assigned, and he'd fly off the handle because his employees "screwed up". I got around this by paraphrasing his instructions and asking for confirmation. Pure self-defense. His father had handed him a nice thriving business, so he didn't have to build it all himself. Good for him, because he'd still be teaching history (poorly) and wrecking young minds if he hadn't been handed that going concern.

    BTW, when I was doing technical writing for General Physics, our rule of thumb was that any materials aimed at an industrial work-force had to be written at no higher than a 7th-grade comprehension level.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Are communication skills like social skills
  1. The Skill Of Paraphrase (Replies: 25)

  2. Writing skills (Replies: 7)

Loading...