Articles From the Team

Did you hear me?

Research suggests that the average person hears between 20,000 and 30,000 words during a 24 hour period and speaks around 125 – 175 words per minute, meaning that around 70-80% of your day is engaged in some form of communication.

With the legal profession and employers today ranking being a good communicator as the number one quality that they require in employees, and subscribers to the Harvard Business Review rating the ability to communicate as “the most important factor in making an executive promotable” higher than ambition, education and hard work, I figured that it’s a skill worth learning!

Listening is a huge part of communication and being a good listener goes hand in hand with being a good communicator. I read recently that good speakers don’t necessarily make good listeners and - I like to talk; therefore I’m guessing my communication skills need honing…

So how does one become a good communicator?

- Be concise and to the point. Studies have shown that whilst your brain has the ability to hear around 450 words per minute, most people only remember around 17-25% of what they have listened to. On this basis, choose your words wisely! Don’t use 12 words when 2 will do. - Sorry guys, but research also suggests that women are better listeners than men. Men only use half of their brains whilst women, in theory, use the whole. So if you’re male open your lug holes… - Watch your body language. Words only actually convey 7% of what we are trying to say; the other 93% is made up of facial expressions, body language and the tone of your voice. So think about how you are sat, about projecting your voice and actually looking like you are interested in what’s being said. - Ask questions. To not interrupt goes without saying (I hope!), but asking questions shows you are interested and engaging with the speaker. - Do not pre-empt what is going to be said. Having pre-formed opinions of the speaker and what they are saying is one of the biggest errors made when listening as you will automatically switch off and assume you know it all. Give the content of the conversation the respect that it deserves.

A lot of weight today is placed upon being a good communicator and a large part of life involves using these skills. Being a good communicator may be the difference between getting the job you are interviewing for, and not. So I suggest you brush up on your communication skills whilst you can.

For more information please contact BCL Legal or call 0845 241 0933.

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