According to a recent LinkedIn Workforce Report, the U.S. labor market is tight, fueled by skills shortages nationwide. What are the top two most in-demand skills? Oral communication, followed by digital literacy. Business, management, and leadership round out the top five. It’s fascinating to me that the top two skills are what they are, as in my opinion, a person could not have more opposing skillsets.
Let me explain. Oral communication is the ability to look someone in the eyes, clearly articulate one’s point of view, and then carry on a meaningful exchange that is open and honest. In life, we become better at oral communication by doing it often and then modifying our style until we regularly have interactions with people that are productive.
I contend that most people who are incredibly digitally literate are that way because they spend an enormous amount of time alone studying and mastering it on their electronic devices. You become digitally literate by doing it and oral communication is usually not a part of this equation. Device usage has increasingly replaced oral communication.
I know some excellent oral communicators and they are not the people who I would go to for help with anything digital. I also know some people who are masters at digital literacy and they are not the people who I would go to in order to have a deep eye-to-eye conversation that could last seamlessly for hours.
You may be thinking that I’m making judgements and generalizations, but from my experience everything I’ve said holds true in most instances. Are there exceptions to the rule? Absolutely, which is why I said, “in most instances.”
WHAT CAN I DO? You be you. If your strength is oral communication, be the best oral communicator in the world. If your strength is digital literacy, be the best digital literarian (new word) in the world. These are two very different skillsets. To expect anyone to master both is asking a lot.
Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. She is a Top 101 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, authored the book, If Not You, Who?, and works with the best and brightest global leaders to improve productivity and retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth by re-engaging employees. Jill can be reached at +1.303.999.9224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.