You see the phrase “strong communication skills” everywhere: on resumes (I have strong communication skills), on job postings (strong communication skills required), on bios (she has strong communication skills).

But what does it mean to “communicate strongly”? And what “skills” do people who communicate strongly possess? We’ve identified five:


People who communicate well know what’s important and what’s not. They can sniff out superfluous or offensive information that obfuscates the main point and remove it. And they can do it instinctively.

Wanna practise your brevity: Get a Twitter account. Even if you don’t tweet to anyone but yourself, it cuts you off at 140 characters.


People who communicate well take the time to get their facts right. They don’t speak about what they don’t know — and if they don’t know, they say so.

Wanna practise your diligence: Verify everything twice, with two different reputable sources. Google makes it easy.

Emotional Intelligence

People who communicate well know their audience — not only what they’re looking for but what they’re thinking. They craft their communication for the head and the heart, making sure that people hear and feel what they’re saying.

Wanna build emotional intelligence: Picture the person you’re speaking to — not just their job but their whole lives. Where do they live? Do they have kids? What do they like to do for fun? Knowing where they’re coming from makes it easier to lead them where you want them to go.


People who communicate well know that others need time to process the information they’re sharing. They don’t wait until the last minute to share. And they make sure due dates and action items are clearly marked.

Wanna practise your timeliness: Bold every date you send or receive. They’ll stand out and you’ll know what’s when.


People who communicate well deliver everything with a smile — sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively. They make bad news palatable and good news awesome.

Wanna practise your friendliness: Read everything you write aloud. If it doesn’t sound friendly in your ear, it won’t sound friendly in anyone else’s ear. And use conjunctions wherever you can (i.e., it’s vs. it is). It’s more natural and friendlier.