According to the Oxford language dictionary, Communication skills mean “the ability to convey or share ideas and feelings effectively”, or it means simply “expressing yourself clearly”. The major problem with communication these days is that people are unable to express themselves clearly, or properly reflect the ideas that are in their minds.
John Powell said, “Communication works for those who work at it”, so if a person needs to work effectively, he/she must work on his/her communication skills. 4 key concepts are associated with communication skills. These include: Listening, Understanding, Expressing the thoughts, and then Speaking.
In this article, the four communication skills are firstly explained and then analyzed in the context of freelancing. Because of the ongoing pandemic situation, many people have to work from home and have to find online jobs or freelancing, so in that setup understanding the four communication skills is important.
Listening is very important to have effective communication. Ernest Hemingway wrote, “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” Because of not listening, people are not able to understand completely, and then are not able to identify or solve the problem. Listening is best accomplished by silencing inner noises. If the inner noises are filtered out, only then a person can listen to the outside words in a more comprehensible way, and thus improve the communication skills. Listening leads to the learning of new things, while speaking does not. In freelancing too, listening carefully to the client is important, without any biases or pre-judgment, to fully understand the clients’ needs and his/her demands relating to the work.
Secondly, Understanding the message can only be done if a person has listened carefully, because unless a person understands the message carefully, he/she will never be able to express the thoughts, speak, or effectively communicate about it. For example, in Freelancing, a freelancer can work better and can help solve the problem only when he/she has understood the message of the client carefully. If the freelancer has not understood what the client wants, then the client will not be satisfied with the freelancer’s work and will move to the next service provider.
Thirdly, Expressing the thoughts is important in communication skills because after listening and understanding, expressing what a person understood or proposing the ways of solving the problem is vital. Expressing the thought includes two important things, one is previous experience and the second one is identifying the problem. In freelancing, based upon the previous experience a freelancer can identify the problem with the same client, or with the same type of the problem. Using the mitigating words like, “I think you are right we have got a problem here, I agree with you, I understand” etc., a freelancer can give a hint that he/she is not giving the solution but expressing the thoughts.
Lastly, Speaking in communication skills means providing a solution. Once the problem is being listened, understood, and identified based on the previous experience than giving the solution is the “speaking about the solution”. Two things should be included in finding the solution: Time Frame and Cost. In freelancing, the solution given should include the time frame in what time the freelancer would complete the project of the client, as well as the cost of the whole project. There should not be any hidden cost because that would degrade the whole image and reputation of the freelancer and the project.
Focusing on Communication skills or trying to improve communication skills is crucial, not only in the context of everyday lives but also in online lives too like freelancing. It has been estimated that 90% of problems of Pakistanis with online workers is that they do not identify the problem, and lead to the work which was never demanded by the consumers. So, for leading a successful freelancing it is very important to work on these four ways of Improving Communication Skills, if one of them is ignored then work cannot be done efficiently.