Communication skills are routinely mentioned as the top skill set employers want in employees across most industries, according Ken Barnes, Program Coordinator of the University of California at Davis Internship and Career Center. This is especially true if you want to compete for promotions to supervisory or management positions where you have to lead employees. College courses are available to cover the full gamut of communications, including interpersonal and small group, speech and written communication.

Speech Communication

Speech communication, fundamentals of oral communication and communication skills are among common course titles for classes where you learn how to speak publicly in front of a group. Typically, these courses emphasize a balance between planning and delivering individual speeches. You learn to develop an outline, organize your thoughts, think critically and analyze a situation or your thoughts on a topic. Instruction is provided in communication techniques, including proper stance, use of nonverbal gestures and voice quality. Students usually deliver multiple presentations during the course, for which they receive feedback from the instructor and often, from peers.

Interpersonal and Small Group Communication

Interpersonal and small group communication classes help you develop verbal and nonverbal skills that apply specifically to interpersonal relationships and small groups. Typically, instruction begins with emphasis on skills and techniques to improve interpersonal communication for stronger relationships, then you move on to discussions of how to relate well to team members in a group. Understanding group dynamics and roles, conflict resolution and how to influence others are among topics included in small group instruction.

Human Relations

Human relations is a course commonly required in many college degree programs. While the class explores a wide array of topics related to effective personal and professional interaction with others, communication is a major point of emphasis. The class centers on several common forces that affect relationships, including communication, diversity, conflict resolution and teamwork. Healthy emotional expression and listening are among the specific communication-related topics in the class.


Written communication is typically a component of at least one required general education class in college programs. Composition courses includes various types of writing assignments, including narrative, essay, short story and poetry. Students learn the mechanics of writing, including organizing thoughts, developing outlines, using proper sentences and grammar structure and editing. To expand on basic writing skills, you can often also take a creative writing course.

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