Why do we need to improve our staff’s communication skills?



Communication skills are very important as, whether or not, the receiver or receivers understand what we intended to send will have an effect not only on the perception of the message but also on the relationship between us.

When employers (both from business and non-governmental sector) are asked what today’s workers lack most they often say communication skills. E.U.'s "Flash barometer on employers’ perception of graduate employability" revealed that more than 60% of European employers consider communication skills of their employees as very important for their business.

The reason for which employees and youth workers are having difficulties in accurately conveying their message is caused mostly by the fact that, especially in some countries that have not managed to update their educational system to the current requirements of the modern society, the formal education concentrates on the graduates using a correct form of the language but fail to prepare the future employees in using it for real situations. The formal education often doesn't consider addressing communication with respect to the needs that appear while working in a team, public speaking, using social media or using other forms than speaking or writing (through videos, photo-voice, etc.). These require a special set of skills and attitudes that the formal system has a limited ability to develop and for which a non-formal approach could be far more effective. For NGOs to work better and for youngsters to use their talents at full potential there is a need for a non-formal approach in order to develop their teams in terms of communication.

In a professional environment, in public relations or in stakeholder management, the stakes are even higher. It probably happened to your organisation also, a very good initiative that had the potential of bringing significant positive impact to the community did not reach its full potential as it missed engagement from its target group. Analysing the causes it is often found that it had poor promotion, as its PR was not effective (posters did not draw attention as they had a poor design, press releases were not published as they were poorly drafted, the social media campaign was completely useless, etc.). Also, you may have not considered stakeholder engagement as important or found that the team didn’t have the skills to start such a process and ended up with lacking the interest of the target group (thus limiting the project's outcome), lacking confidence of the community (thus missing its support) or even got in conflict with different entities. For using your resources with maximum efficiency and also for empowering young people and giving them a more significant role in their community, your NGO needs to develop its professionalism in terms of communication and stakeholder engagement.

Last, but not least, Europe is changing, becoming more interconnected than ever. Still, the process of cooperation at European level is quite complex given the multitude of different systems present and the cultural differences that exist. Needless to say, communication is one of its key elements and for NGOs to be able to bring an European dimension to the work they, their members need to have the right competencies to communicate with partners that don't necessarily share the same values and social norms. In extent to this, the skills of working and communicating in a team, which are anyway of great importance for any NGO, become far more necessary in this new context. Only by educating our staff about the intercultural aspects of teamwork and professional communication we can hope to achieve a tighter European cooperation and a more unite E.U.


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