Interpersonal Communication for Public Administration Majors: 5 Benefits

Subscribers to Harvard Business Review rated the ability to communicate number one as the most important contributor in making someone promotable. They rated it above ambition, education, and hard work.

Public administrators serve a variety of people and will often find themselves working in groups throughout their careers. In addition to coursework, a Public Administration major must cultivate good communication skills so that the administrator can do the following five things.

Build Trust

In the past, leadership was about making difficult decisions and giving directives. Today’s effective leaders practice transparency and consensus building. They have high emotional intelligence, and they win the confidence and trust of others.

Possessing superior interpersonal communication skills will help today’s public administrators earn the trust of those who they work with and serve.

Identify Barriers

By employing stellar communication skills and creating an atmosphere of trust, public administrators are able to identify barriers to their work. Creating an environment that supports open discussion and sharing of opinions reduces the surprises behind projects. When adults are able to communicate openly and effectively, they are more honest in their concerns and more apt to share ideas and the team benefits from it.

This also applies to special interest groups. Having assertive communication skills when dealing with those bent on influencing decisions on rules and legislation will help curtail them.

Build Consensus

Someone with good interpersonal communication skills understands the impediments to efficient work because they listen for them. Administrators who recognize concerns and hesitations in the team or audience are better able to build consensus in support of the project because they know the obstacles.

Leaders with good communication skills are able to make everyone feel included and involved in the process, even if they aren’t directly. Good communicators encourage participation, which goes a long way to building consensus. Administrators with good communication skills will help people be solution-minded and not get derailed by differences.

Strengthen the Team

Team members emulate what they see in leadership. If they witness effective communication being used, they will strive for the same. Communication must be a source of information and inclusion.

Understand the Most Effective Medium

In today’s world of personalization and connecting with the audience on their preferred terms and methods, using interpersonal communication skills to understand the most effective approach and communication tools for the message is essential to a successful career in public administration.

Since disseminating information is at the crux of good communication, finding the right method will get the message across in an efficient and palatable way. Good communication is about more than what is said; the power is also in how it’s delivered. In 2008, the Internal Revenue Service mailed an informational letter to all U.S. taxpayers outlining the stimulus package, what taxpayers would receive, and when they would receive it. Today, some of that communication may have also taken place online to maximize the number of people exposed to the message.

Developing good communication skills is about more than just voicing an opinion in a professional way. People communicate even through silence. For public administrators who will spend their lives serving, effective communication is essential to success.