More and more research is revealing that conversational skills can put you ahead of the game. Sure you need cognitive ability and emotional insight, but it's the ability to converse well that's tied to career success and even to innovative competence.
For example, one study investigated implicit communication strategies on complex team tasks. The researchers contrasted project team conversation: teams which readily shared goal information without being asked, versus teams that were reactive—teams whose members had to be questioned to gain goal information. In the study which involved 13 teams of four people performing the collaborative tasks, they found that the five teams with the fastest task completion times and lowest idle times exhibited higher rates of conversation and free-flowing sharing. In contrast, the five teams with the slowest completion times and longest idle times were primarily reactive. So people with proactive conversational and deliberative communication skills are far more successful performers.
In another example, Robert Baron and a colleague developed a 30-item social skills inventory to study such conversational skills as social perception, social adaptability and expressiveness. Research on 159 independent sales contractors and 71 top high-tech executives found some startling revelations. The higher the social competencies, the greater the financial success of both independent sales contractors and the top high-tech executives.
Who makes the money and who gains the opportunities? ...