WHEN I was teaching in the university, my students used to ask me why they have to repeat the same subjects like ‘English’ year after year from elementary to high school and then repeat the same in college? I explained to them that learning English significantly brings a great deal of benefits, especially for most Filipinos who consider it a second language. While it is taught progressively every year, it extensively im-proves learners’ academic skills, as well as their personal and professional capabilities.  One of its main objectives is to acquire the basic lan-guage skills which are necessary to communicate with the world. These ­language skills are speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. These skills are needed in one’s career. In fact, English has remained a powerful language of business, travel and international relations. It is used in books and taught in most countries because it is necessary for business and profession.

At the workplace, communication is essential because it allows employees to function well and remain productive. Workplace communication in-volves conveying information between and among colleagues of an organization. This may be thru face-to-face communication or thru calls, emails, text messages, voicemails, notes, among others.

Good communication is important at the workplace as it is full of human interaction. While it is an integral part of business, the following skills must be practised appropriately at all times.

Speaking. To function well in a specific profession, one must be able to communicate verbally. Good verbal communication involves many im-portant aspects, such as, correct grammar, proper sentence construction, accurate pronunciation, appropriate body language, suitable tone, speech rate, pitch and eye contact. At the workplace, we speak to express ideas and to understand the ideas of others as well.

Face-to-face communication is very common at the workplace that can take place between two people or with groups of people. However, speaking skills can also be observed during phone conversations. In actual conversations, whether face-to-face or thru another medium, it is important to note the different aspects mentioned above. Additionally, we must practice diplomacy and tact when speaking. It is good to remember the quote ‘It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.’

Here are some examples of dialogues spoken at the workplace, and how it must be said:

dialogues spoken

It is important to remember that when communicating your thoughts, the words that you use must be polite, pleasing, and friendly in tone. Being demanding, and blunt may create tension and conflict at the workplace.

Listening. Communicating is more than just talking. It’s about connecting with people. One of the most powerful benefits of better communication in the workplace is more engaged employees. This is achieved if everyone is understood as they have been heard. To be able to interact well with others, one must engage his listening skills. Listen well to what management tells you. Understand what colleagues have to say. In the same manner, there is a need to listen to clients so that you can serve them well as they have specific needs too. At the workplace, everyone’s voice matters.

Writing. This creative skill must also be mastered by professionals. Writing allows you to communicate your message with clarity and ease to a far larger audience than through face-to-face or telephone conversations.  When companies get inquiries and emails, employees must reply to them immedi-ately, otherwise, they could miss a chance to explain their products or services or miss an opportunity for sales.  Furthermore, workers are constantly writing notes, emails, memos, letters, and reports. All these require good writing skills so that people are able to communicate their ideas effectively.

Reading. This skill refers to the ability to understand written text. In the workplace where varied communication letters are passed around, employ-ees must be able to read and understand contexts. This learned skill entails understanding the contents and comprehending them. Only those who are able to comprehend can become good correspondents. When comprehension is achieved, employees are able to respond well.

Good communication is an important factor in client relationships, profitability, team effectiveness, and employee engagement. Surely, we can thank our school system for giving us endless education in English.  It actually helps us become more prepared for a world that demands not only our profes-sional skills but also our communication skills.

Source: Verzosa, RF, English for Hospitality and Tourism, 2014