Soft skills are always in demand in the workforce. Being able to speak eloquently and write well will pay dividends throughout your career and lifetime. And you can learn a lot from a variety of sources, even playing music.

Personally, I've found that being able to express myself through a piece I'm playing has helped me develop more nuance in my communications skills, making me an all-around better communicator.

Find the story

One exercise I do when learning a new piece on the piano is to play the melody of the piece first. This helps me understand how the piece should sound--where I should pause, where I should play softly or loudly, how the phrasing of each measure sounds--and what the essence of the piece truly is, without muddying the waters by playing all of the notes.

This ability translates into being able to communicate well, especially in a professional setting. Ask yourself, before you speak or write, what's the main melody or story of what you're trying to convey? Knowing the melody of what you're speaking or writing about will help you communicate concisely and eloquently. And it will help you easily tailor your communication style to your audience.

If you're communicating with upper management or executives, understand that they will want the essence of the story or the melody, i.e., the key points and major issues. There's a reason why "executive summaries" are a thing. Alternatively, if your audience needs more detail, add in more "notes" or additional pieces of information to flesh out your story.

Know where you're going before you get there

If you want to play a piece of music very well, you must memorize it. Between each set of notes or chords, you should know the next set and be prepared to play it. When playing the piano, for instance, this is as fundamental as getting your hand in the right shape to play the notes before your fingers even touch the keys.

While it does help to practice, rehearse and memorize presentations, this concept also applies more broadly to any type of communication. Before you start speaking or writing, take a moment to think about what you want to say. Gather your thoughts, and then speak when you are ready. You'll sound vastly more organized and polished than if you had just started speaking immediately.

This is a obviously great strategy to use during a job interview, but it also works equally well during meetings or everyday conversations.

Practice consistently if you want to be great

When learning an instrument, it's best to practice everyday, even if it's only for a few minutes. Practicing everyday not only turns into a habit, but helps you learn and synthesize new information more quickly. I know I make more progress on a musical piece if I spend a little time each day practicing it, rather than practicing it a couple times a week for longer periods.

I also know that focusing on the techniques above help me get more out of my practice sessions than just haphazardly playing.

With that mind, focus on putting the techniques into practice everyday. Before you email a colleague, take a moment to think about what you want to write. The next time you're presenting in a meeting, think about the best way to distill the important points into a quick summary, knowing that you can add more detail if your audience wants it.

If you practice this daily, you'll find that over time, these techniques will become second nature, and you'll be a better communicator for it.