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Most Important Skill According to National Sample of Adults

communication skill

Communication Skills Rank #1

Pew Research Center recently asked a national sample of adults to select among a list of 10 skills: “Regardless of whether or not you think these skills are good to have, which ones do you think are most important for children to get ahead in the world today?

The answer was clear. Across the board, more respondents said communication skills were most important, followed by reading, math, teamwork, writing and logic. Science fell somewhere in the middle, with more than half of Americans saying it was important.

Throughout the average person’s day, an individual communicates with a variety of people. Often times people tend to make generalizations (i.e. That guy ALWAYS does that), and be non-specific (i.e. Hey, can you help me with some stuff tomorrow?).

This leaves room in the conversation for assumptions to be made by the person receiving information. When you communicate vaguely, people tend to fill in the missing details themselves. This ‘room for interpretation’ opens all kinds of opportunity for problems to enter the fray.

As you can imagine, making these assumptions often leads to disappointment. Without the ability to narrow down the specifics and reach clarity, people often don’t know what to expect and therefore end up with problems down the road.

If you are someone who has been in this situation, try busting those generalizations and non-specifics by challenging generalizations.

When it’s important, and you hear a person say that someone always does something, ask them if they really do ALWAYS do it, for example.

If someone avoids giving specific information in a conversation, challenge it (with rapport in mind – don’t be a jerk). Ask them about the specifics to avoid miscommunication and potential disappointment in the future.

Making these simple changes in communication can lead to a whole new world of clarity in your personal and professional life, especially if you find yourself in contention with the people around you often.

Perhaps the problem is simple, small miscommunications can lead to a large back-lash.

The skills Americans say kids need to succeed in life | Pew Research Center. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Most Important Skill According to National Sample of Adults

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.

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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2016). Most Important Skill According to National Sample of Adults. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 Sep 2016
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