Most employers or higher education organisations will require young people to have ‘good communication skills’ but it is often difficult to pinpoint what that actually means, especially when some communication skills are non-verbal.
Obvious communication skills include; being able to convey information to others clearly and concisely, knowing how much or how little to talk, engaging with other people, understanding instructions, listening effectively, acquiring new skills and asking questions. These are all communication skills that we can see and quantify, but many others are hidden.
Non-verbal communication skills include; making eye contact, understanding the intentions of others, using the right tone of voice, understanding body language and empathising with people, having emotional intelligence and having the confidence to communicate effectively.
Emotional intelligence involves a young person’s ability to be self-aware, to build relationships with others, to manage themselves and their emotions. It could mean the difference between being able to avoid a stressful situation and overcome challenges in the workplace.
Showing confidence can be something as simple as maintaining eye contact during a conversation or using a friendly but firm tone of voice on the telephone. Empathy involves the ability to understand another person's point of view and respect the views and opinions of others, be they colleagues or customers.
Many of these core and non-verbal communication skills don't come naturally to young people especially those with social anxiety or social communication difficulties, and #Focus5 helps teach them repeatedly over time.