16 Good Communicator Characteristics (and How to Become One)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 4 December 2022
Published 13 December 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Excellent communication is important for facilitating efficient work. Good communicators can pursue leadership positions and provide value to the workplace. If you're interested in becoming an excellent communicator, learning more about their characteristics and reviewing the steps you can take to become one can be beneficial. In this article, we explain what it means to be a great communicator, describe the 16 characteristics of excellent communicators, detail the benefits of good communication and provide a step-by-step guide to becoming a great communicator.
What does it mean to be a good communicator?
A good communicator is an individual who can convey information in a way that others understand. They can help others by providing guidance and direction with their strong communication abilities. They're also effective at listening to others and using positive body language.
16 characteristics of excellent communicators
Understanding the characteristics of excellent communicators can help you assess your abilities and traits to determine where you can improve. These are some characteristics of excellent communicators:
1. Active listener
Active listening is the ability to show someone you're listening. This can include body language, verbal or audible feedback or note-taking. Active listening also allows the listener to better understand and remember what the speaker says, as it shows the listener is fully engaged in the conversation. It's an important skill for communicators because it allows them to gain information from each conversation they have and strengthen their relationships.
Being attentive means you pay attention to people when they speak or communicate. This is an important characteristic for communicators because it allows them to retain the information they learn during conversations. For instance, an attentive communicator may recall details about a new acquaintance months after the conversation.
Confidence is a characteristic that allows communicators to be engaged, enthusiastic and positive in their interactions. Being confident helps communicators show their best traits and project authority in their interactions. Many conversations and first interactions happen because confidence allows a good communicator to initiate a discussion with a new person.
After you communicate with a person multiple times, they may recognise your patterns and the way you speak. Being consistent makes it easier for people to have conversations with you and understand how you perceive information. Consistency is also important for excellent communicators because it allows them to apply the other communication characteristics regularly.
A straightforward approach to communication allows you to convey information without complicating it or potentially distracting the person to whom you're speaking. Being direct means addressing the issue or topic without deviating or spending time on other topics. Great communicators know how to be direct, which can also help them lead group discussions and take charge of meetings.
Empathy is a characteristic and skill that excellent communicators can use to understand the emotions and viewpoints of the people with whom they're conversing. Communicators can use this skill especially well when resolving conflicts and solving problems that include opposing opinions and viewpoints. For some professions, like health care and public service, empathy can be an important skill outside of communication as well.
Enthusiasm refers to genuine interest and energy for the discussion or interaction. When people see that you're enthusiastic about interacting with them, it helps them feel valued. Good communicators express enthusiasm for every conversation while holding the conversation and show strong interest.
Being organised means being able to order your thoughts before presenting them to others. It can also include remembering information and matching it with the right person. This allows you to develop purposeful structures for messages and conversations. It can also help you build more meaningful professional relationships.
Being friendly means using positive body language and showing genuine interest in the lives of other people in conversation. Friendly people don't hesitate to start conversations or compliment someone. Friendliness can be an important communication skill for making new friends and starting new professional relationships.
Honesty is a quality that helps excellent communicators convey their true thoughts and emotions respectfully. Being honest about your feelings and opinions during conversations is important for ensuring you can meet your needs and have others consider your thoughts. Good communicators can convey their honest opinion in considerate ways.
Being inquisitive means you ask questions naturally and want to know more about the person to whom you're talking. Questions are an important conversational tool for gathering information and encouraging discussions to continue. Being inquisitive also allows excellent communicators to show their genuine interest in the interaction.
Being knowledgeable means having a reliable collection of information and experience. Good communicators don't have complete knowledge in every subject, but they understand when to contribute their knowledge and listen to others. A good communicator also knows which information is reliable enough to share and communicate with others.
Being observant refers to the ability to notice minor yet significant details about someone or something. This can include noticing a brand, logo or other visual indicators of someone's hobbies or interests on their clothes or accessories. It can also include noticing when someone's uncomfortable or has something to say so you can give them space to interact in the conversation as they want.
Manners and kind greetings are an important part of being an excellent communicator because they allow you to show your personality and show you value the person to whom you're talking. Being polite means greeting people, smiling at them and following social conventions. It's important for communicators to be polite because it allows them to create a positive reputation.
Great communicators are reflective, which means they take time to think about their conversations. Being reflective also means they think about how they acted and what they may have done differently to make the conversation more productive or positive. Reflecting on your own feelings and thoughts during a conversation allows it to remain genuine and productive.
Respect is a feeling of admiration and due regard for a person. It allows them to consider others' opinions and feelings when speaking with them. As an excellent communicator, when you're respectful to others, they may be more likely to show the same gesture towards you.
Benefits of good communication
Understanding others and expressing yourself allows you to create relationships and build your professional network. Great communication can affect all areas of your life, from personal interactions to professional conversations and meetings. These are some benefits of excellent communication:
team member engagement
structure and direction
How to become an excellent communicator
The path you take to become a better communicator can depend on your current skills and situation. Consider whether you need exceptional communication skills more for your personal or professional life when choosing steps to improve them. These are some steps you can follow to become an excellent communicator:
1. Learn more about communication
The first step to becoming a great communicator is learning more about communication and having productive discussions. To learn more about communication, you can find and read communication books or find materials online. If you enjoy a more direct approach, consider enrolling in local leadership and speech classes to practise speaking and interacting with others.
2. Assess your communication weaknesses
After learning more about communication, you can assess your own skills to determine where you can improve. Consider practising conversations with friends, then asking for feedback about how you can improve your communication. Focusing on the areas in which you can improve can help you be more productive when becoming an effective communicator.
3. Understand who you're speaking with
Recognising your audience is an important part of communication because it allows you to adjust your tone and language for what can make each person more comfortable. For example, you may speak differently to a child than you would in a room full of professionals. You may choose different words speaking to your closest friend than you would when introducing yourself at a conference or convention. Recognising your audience can be an important tool for effective networking.
4. Pursue social situations to improve your skills
Pursuing challenging social situations can help you experience new situations and improve your communication skills. Depending on what you're comfortable with, this may include volunteering to give a speech at a gathering for your company or leading a meeting for the marketing team. You can also pursue situations like dinner parties and networking events.
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