Posted by Matt Grawitch
If you’re a student, a manager, or even a CEO, it helps to have a high level of intelligence. Being able to think critically, to see the bigger picture, to understand complex phenomena can be very important to success.
But, how would you answer if I asked you this question: Is it better to be extremely intelligent or to be an effective communicator?
Beyond the obvious answer (it’s better to be both), my perspective is that your ability to communicate your thoughts and ideas is way more important than your overall level of intelligence.
Before you ask me for some solid research evidence to support my argument, let me tell you that I have no systematic data available, nor am I aware of any studies conducted on this topic. However, I could provide a list of students who were highly intelligent but were unable to effectively convey their thoughts in speaking and writing. I could also provide a list of students who were of average intelligence but were able to effectively communicate their thoughts in speaking and writing. Which group performs better?
In an undergraduate curriculum, such as our Organizational Studies Program, students who can effectively communicate their thoughts in speaking and writing far outperform those who cannot, regardless of their level of intelligence. In speaking with some previous students, the need for effective oral and written communication extends to their work roles as well.
So, what does this mean? It means that even if you are highly intelligent, you should be looking for ways to sharpen your speaking and writing skills.
At Saint Louis University (SLU), several opportunities exist to enhance students’ use of written and oral communication. SLU offers a Writing Center to assist students in improving their writing skills. The School for Professional Studies offers both writing and public speaking courses as a part of its core curriculum. The Introduction to Organizational Studies (OS) major offers an opportunity for students to sharpen their writing and public speaking skills even further, and numerous courses within the OS major provide opportunities for continual development in writing and public speaking.
Whether you are a current SPS student or a professional long finished with your formal education, consider what you can do to become a more effective communicator. Improving your communication competencies can unlock opportunities you never knew existed and, perhaps most importantly, you will be able to improve the way you interact with those around you – your co-workers, friends, spouse…and even your children.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/turtlemom_nancy/1914397629/