Communication, Between Skills and Competence

Communication, Between Skills and Competence

Communication, Between Skills and Competence – Talking about communication is certainly not something foreign to us. Communication is considered a natural ability in life, one can communicate without having to think too complicated. Although it is felt to be a natural possession, communication is not an ability that appears suddenly or is innate.

Communication skills arise because of learning and practicing activities. As can be seen in a toddler, they can communicate with others through the process of listening and then trying to repeat it until they become capable. Until now communication has become a basic need for someone to be able to interact with others in various forms.

In general, communication is a process of conveying information from one person to another and with communication interactions can be established with each other. Communication is a means for a person to be able to connect with the surrounding environment.

Along with the development of one’s interaction with other people, communication is carried out not only to be connected to each other but communication is also a means of conveying a message, idea, or thought result so that it can be understood and accepted by others. Harmonious understanding and acceptance between the messenger and the recipient of the message is a sign of successful communication.

In organizations and work, communication is one of the important things that must be mastered by organizational leaders and members or employees in it. Communication is considered very necessary in the decision-making process, for example when gathering ideas, communication can also help coordinate the achievement of work targets.

Communication that is formed between members and organizational leaders can also increase cooperation and collaboration. Communication is even considered to be able to increase work productivity, as well as save time and costs, of course, if communication is carried out effectively. That’s why it’s not surprising that communication is one of the managerial competencies needed in various types of positions, including for a State Civil Apparatus (ASN) as stipulated in Permenpan-RB Number 38 of 2017 concerning Competency Standards for State Civil Apparatus Positions.

Of course, we often communicate to convey messages to other people, be it friends, superiors, or anyone else. Communication feels easy to do, but is it the same way of conveying messages aimed at different people? Can sensitive messages be delivered in the same way as casual messages? From these questions it seems that communication is not entirely natural.

Communication needs to be done in a certain way that is designed according to its purpose. Facing various situations and conditions, communication is not just a means of connecting one person to another, but communication can play a role beyond that.

When communicating the most important thing is to make sure the message can be conveyed appropriately, regardless of the situation and condition being faced. This is where competence is needed to communicate the message well.

When the word competency is followed by the word communication, the discussion is centered on an ability to communicate in an appropriate and effective way in a given situation. Cooley & Roach (1984) defines communication competence as knowledge of effective and appropriate communication patterns and the ability to use and adapt this knowledge in various contexts.

It is often difficult to distinguish between communication as a competency or communication as a skill. Around us there are so many trainings that teach communication skills (Communication Skills Training) for example active listening, interpersonal communication, verbal and nonverbal communication, oral and written communication, presentations, assertive communication, and so on.

Communication skills or more often we call communication skills are popular and in great demand because they are considered to have a positive influence on achieving success. Then what about communication as a competency? Is a person skilled enough to be successful in communicating or must be competent to communicate?

In 1980 American professors named Brian Spitzberg and William Cupach developed a model of communication competence and stated that there were three things that became elements of the competency itself.

The first element is motivation, motivation explains the reason or purpose of someone communicating. For competent people, communication is carried out to achieve certain goals, not just conveying or receiving messages. Communication is carried out by paying attention to the situation and the direction of communication is appropriate and aligned with the goals set.

The second element is knowledge or understanding of what to do when communicating. For example, knowledge of formal and informal communication styles, use of verbal and nonverbal language/gestures, as well as other knowledge such as culture, values, and norms that influence the communication that will be carried out.

The third element is skill, namely the ability to demonstrate appropriate communication behavior as required. Communication skills are characterized by the ability to convey information in a simple, non-ambiguous way and listen to and perceive information appropriately.

Referring to the description, skills are one of the elements that make up competence. When associated with communication, communication skills are a specific skill as a result of learning to convey and receive messages effectively, while communication competence places more emphasis on how a person’s behavior in communicating is in accordance with their role so as to achieve the expected goals.

Competence determines how a person uses the skills they have to achieve success. Someone who is competent in communicating will be able to determine the appropriate pattern of communication in various situations and conditions and be able to adjust his actions accordingly.

In general, competency can be understood as how a person applies and uses the knowledge and skills possessed in line with the performance criteria needed to achieve goals and according to their role (Bartram, 2004) [3]. The cognitive element of competence includes knowledge about how to do something and understand why it needs to be done (Hargie, 2011).

Competence is not a skill even though the two are almost similar and coincide. Skills are learned whereas competence is an inherent quality in individuals that combines skills with knowledge. Someone who is skilled at communicating is likely to be seen both verbally and nonverbally when conveying a message, but may not necessarily be said to be competent at communicating when juxtaposed with the demands of his role.

Some of the criteria that indicate someone is competent in communicating based on The National Communication Association (NCA) are being able to convey ideas clearly, being able to communicate ethically, recognizing the right time to communicate, knowing the purpose of communicating, being able to select appropriate and effective communication media, demonstrating credibility. , able to identify and manage misunderstandings, able to manage conflicts, open to other people’s views, and listen to others attentively.

Communication competence involves an understanding of the context, scope, and framework for conveying messages. In simple terms, a person is said to be competent in communicating when he conveys a message by being aware of his capacity or position, understands the contents of the message associated with a specific purpose, and uses communication techniques skillfully by taking into account the characteristics of the other person.

Communication is something that is usually done in everyday life, almost all activities in work involve communication. Even though it is often done, communication competence does not necessarily increase. Communication competence has a very close relationship with communication skills because it is one of its constituent elements.

Thus one way to have good communication competence is to improve communication skills. Excited to learn and practice to become more competent in communication!