Why Study Communication?

photo of public speakerThe study of communication has vast benefits in both personal and professional contexts. For example, the industry-leading job search site Indeed.com listed “Communication Skills” first in its 2023 article “Top 11 skills employers look for in a job candidate.” In addition, a study performed by the American Association of Colleges and Universities, released on January 20, 2015, surveyed 400 employers to determine what skills they valued most in recent college graduates, and their summary concluded:

The learning outcomes [employers] rate as most important includes written and oral communication skills, teamwork skills, ethical decision-making, critical thinking, and the ability to apply knowledge in real-world settings.

Regardless of industry or occupation, employers throughout the world still primarily value the ability to communicate effectively, which transcends the boundaries of public speaking. The ability to communicate includes interpersonal, small group, and mass communication, as well as the ability to communicate interculturally (communication between people of vastly differing backgrounds, nationalities, ethnicities, etc.), nonverbally (skilled in reading body language, understanding environmental effects on communication, etc.), and the ability to wield persuasion and/or argumentation (discussed at length later in this book).

Think about it: ten applicants apply for the same job, and all ten have similarly qualified backgrounds, training, and education, but one of them also provides evidence of proficiency in communication through a certificate program or award. Who among those candidates is more likely to be hired? According to surveys such as the one performed by the American Association of Colleges and Universities, the one with the background in communication has a better chance of landing the job. Consider this point from the perspective of a potential employer engaged in the process of hiring. Which employee would the company rather hire as an organizational leader: one who can effectively communicate with all other employees, or one who needs constant coaching, fails to listen, and cannot get along well with others?

People also study communication because they recognize that revolutions in communication technology have changed the world. To date, four major revolutions in the way humans communicate have transformed the ways individuals and societies behave, and each were predicated on the invention or transformation of a new form of communication technology. The four revolutions to communication consist of the invention of writing, the printing press, the Industrial Revolution, and the Information Age.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Messages that Matter: Public Speaking in the Information Age - Third Edition Copyright © 2023 by North Idaho College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book