In our previous posts in the Future Focused Skills series, we explained why it's important to teach future focused skills, and gave some tips on developing critical thinking and creativity. Today we look at how young people can find opportunities to develop communication skills.
What it is
Great communication occurs when individuals listen with intent and seek to understand. They can communicate in a manner that allows the listener to understand: using the appropriate language level, intonation and well-structured prose that sets out the message clearly and logically. Communication is both a social process, a conversation of exchanging messages in order to create shared meaning and achieve outcomes, and one-way (e.g. public speaking).
Otherwise known as
- Good listener
- Public speaking
Tasks to seek out
Writing reports or essays.
Writing emails or instant message chats.
Preparing and delivering presentations.
Interpersonal conversations (both formal and informal).
Ways to practice the skills within these tasks
When you next write an essay, or even a shorter communication like an email, spend some time planning. Consider the context, purpose, and audience. How can those factors help you choose the content and words that will most effectively convey your message? Think about how the message is organised. Do the ideas logically flow from one to another?
When giving a presentation, consider your ability to effectively use tone, pitch of voice, and other non-linguistic aspects of communication, like body language and facial expression. How does altering these change the impact on the audience?
Make a point to practice active listening during a conversation with a friend. Periodically ask questions to indicate attention and clarify your understanding.
After practicing this skill, ask for immediate feedback from teachers or peers so that you can build on your performance and improve next time.
In our next post in the series, we will tackle how to develop collaboration skills.