Communication: Another essential skill for the future

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It’s safe to say that we are now in an era where technology is taking over the workplace. What used to take weeks of data processing by an analyst can now be done with just a few clicks using software. The classic broom and dustpan are being replaced by a robot vacuum that cleans as well as shines the floor. Next-generation stores such as Amazon Go, with tracking technology and no merchandisers or cashiers, looks like the next iteration in retail.

So this leaves a thought: could this be our future? More machines, fewer people in the workplace?

The switch to machines and automated software is a game changer for people who are about to choose their path in college or in life itself. Shouldn’t we all take technology or programming courses? The truth is that, no matter what job you have in the workplace, or role you play in society, you will continue to need communication skills.

We asked our resource person on communication, Vina Vidal Vicente, for her thoughts on why communication remains an essential skill.

Here are some tasks that machines, software or robots can’t do (or only partially, if at all):

They cannot negotiate

Today’s youth are risk-takers and are willing to go for their passion instead of sticking to the norm of staying in school, getting a degree and then landing a job. They are off making their own paths which requires communication and negotiation skills. If we rely on robots and machines to do all the work, who will close the deal and handle the challenges later on?

They cannot influence

Social media is the biggest influencer nowadays and a lot of people have embraced that. New influencers, YouTubers, and the like are popping up every day. So how do they influence through social media platforms? They communicate through their content. It’s important for content to speak directly to their target market. Mommy vloggers talk about their parenting, travel bloggers share their trips, food bloggers cook.

They cannot express kindness

If you’re having a bad day and all you need is a morale boost or some enthusiasm, would you get it from an order-taking screen in your favorite fast food place or from a smiling, welcoming crew behind the counter? Communication doesn’t have to be limited to speaking. A smile from a stranger, or a reassuring pat on the back from your professor, or a firm handshake from your manager will get you that human connection you didn’t know you needed.

Vicente will facilitate a course titled “Authentic Conversations: Getting Comfortable with Important and Meaningful Conversations” on March 31. INQ

The Inquirer Academy is at 4168 Don Chino Roces Ave. corner Ponte St., Makati City.

For more information, email [email protected], call (02) 8834-1557, (02) 8771-2715 or (0945) 2158935. The author is the executive director of the Inquirer Academy.