Skills That Communication Majors Have
Not Just a Lot of Talk
- Public speaking is just one of many skills you'll learn as a communications major.Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
It goes without saying that the primary skill a communications major should end up with is the ability to communicate effectively. And that means more than just knowing how to talk to others. A good communicator is adept at public speaking, writing letters and press releases that grab readers' attention, negotiating, resolving conflicts, motivating others, summarizing and sharing ideas, persuading others, gathering information and presenting accurate reports. Certain computer skills, like producing newsletters and layout of web pages, are also important. Another skill that comes along with a communications degree is the ability to get people to listen to what you have to say. Without it, all the aforementioned skills would be moot.
- Understanding that a successful communicator should be a bit of a jack of all trades, many colleges and universities pepper their communications courses with other types of classes to help round out their graduates' skill sets. Depending on what school you attend, you may also graduate with additional skills in marketing, sociology, economics, finance and technology. Some educational institutions even offer specialized communications degrees geared toward more specific careers. For example, if you're planning a career as a public information offer, your skill set might include knowledge of the print and broadcast media; if you plan to work as a public relations specialist in the corporate world, you might graduate with a keen understanding of the business world.
Applying Your Skills
- Dealing with members of the press is part of a public information officer's job.Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
The skills you learn as a communications major can prepare you for a number of different careers. A public relations specialist's job is to develop and maintain a positive public image for a company or individual. This entails researching their target audience's wants and needs, writing press releases and promotional announcements, coordinating public events and organizing publicity campaigns. A public information officer, a position often found in governmental agencies, gathers information from his or her peers and conveys it to the public through press releases, newsletters and speeches. He or she handles all inquiries by the media. A publicist works to generate enthusiasm for people or products by aggressively flooding the market with positive publicity. This involves putting positive spins on negative publicity, organizing promotions and establishing and maintaining press contacts.
- One doesn't have to be a public relations specialist or a public information officer to put communication skills to work. By learning how to better understand customers and communicate with them in a confident manner, a salesperson will likely see a gain in her commission check. A politician who captures the attention of voters and delivers powerful, effective speeches will likely get more votes. A manager who's in touch with his employees and knows how to motivate them will likely see a rise in productivity. Good communication skills are essential in advertising. Even an attorney who can summarize and convey ideas to judges and jurors will likely experience more legal victories.