Presented by Hall County Work-Based Learning
Soft Skill Spotlight: Communication
- verbal (sounds, language, and tone of voice)
- aural (listening and hearing)
- non-verbal (facial expressions, body language, and posture)
- written (journals, emails, blogs, and text messages)
- visual (signs, symbols, and pictures)
Strong communication is consistently ranked as the #1 soft skill by employers!
Communication in Action
- Have students get out a blank sheet of paper and a writing utensil.
- Show ONE student at the front of the room an individual picture, perhaps pull it up on your computer screen - do not allow other students to see it. (Pictures are in the PDF at the bottom of the page - there are 4 pages of pictures.)
- The individual with the picture has to get his/her classmates to draw an exact duplicate of the shape on her sheet, using only verbal directions without identifying the item. (Don't say "it's a boat".) The "drawers" are not allowed to speak to the "direction giver." Only the student with the picture may speak.
- Give students 3-5 minutes to draw the first picture from the verbal directions. After they are done, compare the provided picture (now you can show it on projector) with what was drawn by the class.
- Have the group perform the activity more than once, with different pictures and the students taking turn who is giving directions.
Do a variation of the activity to improve communication with students:
- The drawers are allowed to ask only yes/no questions one at a time.
- The drawers can ask any question they like.
- What types of communication did you use in this activity?
- What was it like to give directions?
- How was it different when the drawer could ask questions from when she could not?
- What was it like to receive directions?
- What was it like not being allowed to ask questions?
- Once you could ask questions, did that make the job easier? Why?
- Why are the pictures different, when everyone heard the same message?
- Do you think people communicate differently?
- Do you think people receive or perceive the instructions the same? What should/would you do to clarify?
Types of Non-Verbal Communication
The types of interpersonal communication that are not expressed verbally (with speech) are called non-verbal communications.
There are many different types of non-verbal communication. They include:
Body Movements (Kinesics), for example, hand gestures or nodding or shaking the head;
Posture, or how you stand or sit, whether your arms are crossed, and so on;
Eye Contact, where the amount of eye contact often determines the level of trust and trustworthiness;
Para-language, or aspects of the voice apart from speech, such as pitch, tone, and speed of speaking;
Closeness or Personal Space (Proxemics), which determines the level of intimacy;
Facial Expressions, including smiling, frowning and even blinking; and
Physiological Changes, for example, sweating or blinking more when nervous.
This video does a good job of breaking down different examples of non-verbal communication in social situations, but remember this is also a critical skill to master for the workplace to ensure clear communication!
Time to Act it Out with Charades!
- Divide class into two teams. Keep score on the board.
- One person from Team A comes up and looks at their word. They have one minute to act out their word without talking. Their team calls out answers until they guess the word being acted out. Point awarded.
- If time runs out before the word is correctly guessed, then the opposing team gets ONE guess to see if they know what it is. Point awarded.
- Team B now gets a person to act out a new word and their one minute to guess.
- Use this great charades generator to select different words based on level and topic: http://www.wordgenerator.net/charades-generator.php (It's in the middle of the page... and remember to turn off your projector to do this!)