EdSmart claims the fourth most useless major in university in 2023 is “communications.” Sure, it is a broad field of study, and yes, most jobs would probably prefer a specific major that specializes in the skills they are seeking, but that does not make the communications major any less important.
Most people would probably claim that since they know how to talk to others, they know how to communicate. For example, when a person talks with another, they may answer a question or tell them about their day. However, it is much more complex than that, and there is a science to communication.
The first step to being a good communicator is listening to the other person, not just hearing what they have to say and then quickly adding in your input while that person is speaking or thinking about what they are going to say next. To listen, you must understand what the other person is saying and reflect; Turn their message into meaning. Then, after they are finished, you can best determine what to say next to that person and contribute to the conversation.
The word “talking” can imply having a conversation with another person to either pass the time or get something done. However, to communicate, you go one step further by making a personal connection with another person and giving your undivided attention to what they are saying, showing that person that you care enough to give your time to them. A good communicator is also mindful about their tone and body language as well. To be respectful while speaking with another individual, you must position your feet pointing towards them and have good posture while making eye contact. This makes the other person feel comfortable enough to share how their day was, what advice they may need, what struggles they are going through or just vent. Tone is also important. If someone is sharing about going through a difficult time, a soft tone will be received as empathetic and understanding.
Relying on talking instead of communicating can lead to conflict and acting on emotions. But someone who studied communication knows that if a conflict does arise, emotions must be put aside and discussed with the other person. Sharing your feelings will help fix the situation. Reflecting on why the fight began in the first place not only leads to that relationship being preserved, but enhanced as well.
Communication is also crucial when it comes to how information is presented to a wide audience. During the global pandemic, for instance, scientists had to warn people about COVID-19 and what precautions to take. However, giving strict commands caused some individuals to dislike and ignore scientists and doctors.
As I was listening to Anthony Fauci give his insight on the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and then later on in the year, he did not seem confident in what he was saying. He also seemed to change his thoughts quickly regarding mask requirements. In contrast, whenever I listened to the news anchors of NBC Connecticut, to me, they seemed a much better source of information, not because of their expertise on the subject, but because they knew how to communicate the information they received accurately to a frightened and confused public. Instead of giving commands, the news anchors informed the public about the spread of the virus, the origins, how it is transmitted and tips on how to stay safe, giving people advice and knowledge rather than just bluntly telling them what to do.
Communication is definitely a skill everyone needs, and those that study it ensure that information is given accurately and in a way people can easily understand. It is essential in the professional world as well as in the personal world, where those that learn and make the effort to improve their communication skills find out they create more meaningful and deeper relationships with their loved ones and anyone they meet.
The communications major at the University of Connecticut also sets students up for skills they will need if they are interested in marketing, business communication or public relations. Communication is the foundation of every single job; that is how we share, discover and gather information. Communication is essential for everyday life for everyone, but students who study it have a wider selection of jobs, not limiting them to what they can choose to do.